• “Balanced pipeline” is right approach to diversity
  • IBC2019 panel on diversity included speakers from Google and DAZN
  • Industry must avoid a “tick-box” approach to inclusion

Diversity Forum D3 SR IBC2019

Lounge Talks at IBC2019: Diversity matters

Driving innovation in creativity, business advertising and technology are linked directly with diverse workplaces and leadership teams, required for a sustainable future. 

Panellists in an IBC2019 Lounge Talk on Digital and Diversity: The secret sauce in delivering innovation? agreed the industry must shift focus and address disparity in order to innovate and remain successful.

“Diversity and inclusion is not a tick box problem,” said Justin Gupta head of broadcast and entertainment at Google. “It is a hard problem to solve and we need to work hard to create a culture to thrive that doesn’t exclude anybody.”

Google has pledged to create balanced representation at events and, as well as leading innovation, it champions inclusion particularly on retaining women in the industry and supporting progression.

The right approach is a balanced pipeline, according to Gupta. “There is a huge demand for diverse content and digital is well placed and will allow people to go and create their own content.”

The Women’s World Cup saw great success on YouTube and the linear distribution “gave oxygen to that content,” he said.

Looking ahead, he said there needs to be a shift industry wide which moves from the focus on diversity to inclusion as whole.

“Once you have a diverse workforce you need to make sure you’re addressing their needs, otherwise they will have a poor experience and retaining staff at the end of the day is critical and we need to have perspectives.”

Urging the industry to innovate and create compelling customer experiences that reflect society, Jessica d’Ardenne director of product, web, acquisition and retention at DAZN said: “Our challenge is huge because we are a technology and sports company and we have to address this in three ways - audiences, customer and business.”

Understanding how women and other minorities work as customers themselves is the touch point for DAZN, which has experience entering new markets including Japan and Germany.

“For us in terms of how we include women in the business, we have found it is easy to exclude women, so basic structures have to be introduced and we need to get it right,” d’Ardenne said.

Echoing Gupta’s opening sentiments, d’Ardenne said: “Engaging and reflecting the inclusive nature of society in the workplace instead of working to a formal system of tick boxes,” is how business operations fundamentally need to be structured to succeed.

“We have a lot of diverse people and the most difficult thing is once they’re in the door how do we elevate them,” d’Ardenne explained, adding that a significant step was launching an informal mentoring programme where staff can opt-in and have access to mentors from across the organisation with varying cultural backgrounds. “It has changed the way they excel as employees.”

Acknowledging individual uniqueness and business strategies to address disparity, speakers agreed diversity at work needs encompass inclusivity of everyone no matter your sex, gender, race, religion or economic background.

Pointing to the great technology being showcased in the exhibition, Caroline Frost writer, journalist and broadcaster said the technology is behind the platforms and “as a result more platforms and more content creates room for more stories and voices.”

She added on the other side of technical innovation is the social media communities and agencies that “need to reach diverse audiences… You have to be really authentic and that is the key, you can’t contrive these things.”