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In the past, diversity was something we were told we had to deal with and suck up the cost. Today, it has become a way of building more all-embracing solutions and actually has significant commercial return on the investment because it is all connected and not done in isolation. DEI doesn’t drive it, but DEI awareness shapes the outcome.
Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO of TELUS in Canada, jumped at the opportunity to discuss how his organization and the telco are building towards a more inclusive future.
The fact that the TELUS CTO is talking about these issues shows both his passion for the subject but also that it brings together the technology organization and the HR elements of the company. But there is an education and skills issue that permeates all the way from educating children, re-educating the workforce and helping educate the elderly population as to how they can get the best out of being connected. Some aspects of inclusion are cultural, some are societal, some are business organizational and some are technological.
What TELUS has done is to ensure that it isn’t about any individual diversity but embracing gender, ethnicity, age, disability and skillsets. This is embedded into TELUS with grassroots as well as executive support.
Ibrahim said: “We have traditionally designed our offerings in a messy technology way. Not thinking of the incredibly diverse set of customers using our services. We have to build this inclusion into everything from job specs to customer interfaces. Otherwise, the 90% rule will kick in and it will be designed for the greatest return rather than the greater goal of DEI.
This is not a one-person job. Not about championing it but getting senior management trained across the topic and re-educating the workforce. As new talent comes into the organization it should get easier, with a more diverse workforce but it needs kick-starting with everyone contributing now. As a global telco industry, we should make things more openly available, through APIs, to allow all of these excluded groups to benefit.”