PODCAST SUMMARY: Diversity and Inclusion in Technology 

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Listen to the very first episode of Iowa Innovation! Find it at iowainnovation.org or on all your favorite podcast platforms.

The very first episode of the Iowa Innovation Podcast premiered to all local Innovators, educators, entrepreneurs,  ecosystem builders, and those who are inspired to go against the grain of the mundane. On April 13, Keith Dahlby, a Software Architect from NewBoCo joined Rob Merritt and me in a conversation about advocating for diversity in tech, especially in Iowa. 

Now let’s be clear, in this episode, we are three white people talking about an industry where the population imbalance is slanted toward people who look like us-very white. In this episode, we attempt to share the lenses we have developed and how we continue to work to improve them. And we welcome your comments and inputs on other ways to educate and act. 

Throughout our discussion, we explored multiple topics, and some demanded additional information. So we decided to pull up a few resources that may help you to go a little deeper into the application of some of these topics in your own journey. 

First, we need to pay attention to how the dominant “in-group” is shaping the cultures in technology. Because once a dominant narrative is established it can be difficult to rewrite. As new people enter the technology sector, it becomes necessary to rewrite the narrative and allow the culture to evolve. 

A few resources we can recommend to learn some more about shifting narratives: 

Read: Social Change Initiative.com  https://www.socialchangeinitiative.com/narrative-change

Listen to: Shifting the Narrative Podcast. https://www.opportunityagenda.org/narrativepodcast

Second, it is vital to make space for and amplify voices that are often overlooked or ignored-ones different from your own. We shouldn’t just be listening, but acting on what we are learning. In other words, don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

The way we act can depend on the way we think about ideas. This resource provides some insight to the way we process and act on our thinking. 

Read: Psychology Today: Cognitive Dissonance. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/cognitive-dissonance

Third, it should be no surprise to learn that our kids are all raised in different environments, and with that disparities shine through For some, technology is a part of everyday life and is readily available for children, but for others technology or even WIFI is not steadily available. Consider how the actions you take can create opportunities for others. 

A good place to start is to identify the key issues around kids and digital equity. 

Follow: Commonsense.org https://www.commonsensemedia.org/kids-action/about-us/our-issues/digital-equity

Finally, consider the problems you are solving – and who they impact. When you create only with people and perspectives like you and yours, you solve only your problems.  Yet, we all know there is more out there. 

There are piles of research on why diversity in groups matters. Google can be a great tool to use. Here is also a good place to start that journey.

Listen: Hidden Brain podcast. Creativity And Diversity: How Exposure To Different People Affects Our Thinking. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/27/895858974/creativity-and-diversity-how-exposure-to-different-people-affects-our-thinking 

In the full podcast, Keith shares so many examples of these ideas and connections and how we, as Iowan’s can innovate around this idea of expanding our perspectives. 

Welcome to Iowa, Innovation.