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The Lack of Diversity & Inclusion in Design & Innovation Management (Vol31 No3)

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The Lack of Diversity & Inclusion in Design & Innovation Management

Following the death of George Floyd , the injustices that black and brown people have been experiencing in the U.S. for centuries have been spotlighted and have triggered a strong and swift global reaction. It has generated lots of conversations, curiosity, and support from those wanting to learn more about these experiences. Amazon and other publishing outlets have provided recommended reading/watch lists on the topics of race, slavery, and diversity & inclusion to help enlighten the public on these issues and the resulting Black Lives Matter movement—a movement that has erupted and received widespread support in the U.S. and around the world.

Designers and design leaders are not immune from these issues. Compared with other disciplines, there are very few designers of color, students studying design, and even fewer in the design management ranks—you can count them on one hand.

Thanks to all the authors and interviewees in this issue who have lent their voices to expound on these topics—responding strongly in their desire to explain, challenge, and offer solutions on how designers can make an impact. Most of these articles cover sensitive topics and ones that people of color generally do not talk about freely for fear of being misunderstood or, worse, being accused of whining and complaining. We thank them for their courage and willingness to speak up.

In these extreme times, we all must speak up, educate each other, build understanding, and take the necessary actions to help improve lives for the better. As one of our authors, Eric Anderson says: “Talking about diversity and inclusion is one thing—implementing it to support the underrepresented is the key to a transformative culture.”

DMI launched our Diversity initiatives four years ago. Among multiple activities, we have published a dmi:Diversity in Design Manifesto (a living document on the dmi: website) in which we highlight the various facets of Diversity & Inclusion, work to be done, and celebrate the few successes of the past and evolving positive actions for the future. Join us in the journey and let us know how you or your organizations are contributing to a better future.


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Issue Information

President's Letter
Carole Bilson, President, DMI


Kelly Goto, Founder and principal of gotomedia and gotoresearch

Two influential black designers share their insights about recent events as well as the importance of awareness, equity, and respect.

Design Education Reform: Modeling Equity and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning
By Jennifer Rittner, Educator, Writer, and Communications Strategist who teaches in the Graduate Programs at the School of Visual Arts

An educator discusses how design education can create change for the better. Developing new mental models is one of the building blocks to making it happen.


OK, You Say You Are Listening—Now What?
By Eric Anderson, Associate Professor in the School of Design and a Senior Associate Dean for the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University
Talking about diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one thing—implementing it to support underrepresented employees is the key to a transformative culture.


Designing Equitable Futures
By Jessica Jacobs, Associate Professor in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago
Individual designers and corporations have the opportunity to respond to systemic racism through their work. What are you doing? What more could you be doing?

Diversity in Design and Healthcare: A Personal and Professional Commitment
By Somi Kim, Senior Director, Healthcare Solutions at Johnson & Johnson Design
Participating in programs designed to inspire youth in STEM and design fields, Johnson & Johnson is committed to improving gender and racial diversity in its ranks.


Are COVID-19 Layoffs a Red-Flag on Innovation?
By Leticia Cervantes
, Lead Strategic Designer at BCG Digital Ventures
During tough times such as these, some companies lay off their creative staff—others view the situation as an opportunity for innovation.


The “New-Normal” Life of a Sandwich Mom in a Sushi World
By Kelly Goto
, Founder and principal of gotomedia and gotoresearch
One designer’s account of the trials and joys of her “new normal” life in a three-generational household during lockdown in the pandemic.

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Kevin BethuneKevin Bethune is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life

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