In feminine gamification viewpoint I often write about gender differences and the subject of bias has come up a few times. Two weeks ago Advertising Week in New York launched a campaign to challenge us to be more accepting of diversity. Diversity in all its shapes and forms. The campaign is called brave your bias.
The idea behind the campaign is to create more acceptance of differences and to embrace them as a way of enriching our lives. Given the current political rhetoric on both sides of the atlantic her in Britain where foreign descent is now rapidly becoming a major non-runner thanks to both Brexit and recent comments from the likes of Rudd and May and in the USA the Trump campaign, this effort couldn’t have come at a better time.
We all have a bias, whether we like our not. Most of us will seek out people similar to us subconsciously, whether that is based on politics, religion, design thinking or other things such as gender, age and ethnicity. The difference between bias and discrimination however is that the first is subconscious and the latter a conscious excluding or singling out of specific groups of people.
In my quest to promote inclusion in our gamification designs, I would like to quote the tips from the brave your bias campaign, because they include some great tips that will work as much in gamification design as they do generally in life:
” BRAVE YOUR BIAS TIPS
The key to avoiding unconscious bias is to be aware of it and understand how subtly it can creep into our decision-making processes. Putting systems and structures in place to help standardize decision making is also critical to countering bias.
Here are some other steps we advise to tackle the issue:
Be brave enough to question your assumptions
Get into the habit of taking a moment to pause and ask yourself ‘why am I thinking this way?’ Be wary of your first impressions or gut reactions as those often are driven by unconscious biases.
Be brave enough to look for it
Be alert to the types of situations where you are particularly vulnerable to unconscious biases, such as when you are stressed, tired or multi-tasking, and make an effort to be more deliberate in your approach.
Be brave enough to own it
The intent to be unbiased isn’t enough to eliminate bias. Take advantage of opportunities to self-reflect and consider the subtle ways your biases may be influencing your actions, behaviours or decisions.
Be brave enough to focus on the individual
Make an effort to view others based on their personal characteristics rather than stereotypical ones. Avoid broad generalisations such as ‘all millennials want…’ or ‘working mothers never…’ or even “why can’t the planning team ever…’
Be brave enough to be uncomfortable
We all have a tendency to ‘like people like us’ (this is an ‘affinity bias’); it’s comfortable to surround yourself with people who are similar to you. Unconscious bias operates when there is a lack of information, so push yourself, and your team, to seek out opportunities to immerse yourselves in environments where you may be out of your comfort zone.
Be brave enough to understand differences
Our comfort with people ‘like us’ can also have a negative impact on those who are ‘different’ from us. Look for ways to increase contact among different people or groups, and actively look for complementary skill sets and perspectives. Learning more about others will help prevent your biases from filling in the gaps.
Be brave enough to embrace the positive
It’s often easy to find things to praise in people who are similar to us, but push yourself to regularly find the positive in people with different backgrounds, workstyles, personalities, etc. Actively addressing the positive will not only help that person, but is also likely to help you prevent unconscious and unintended slights.
Be brave enough to analyse your decisions
Push yourself to look for the evidence and the objective data to support your decisions (particularly decisions that directly impact another’s performance, growth and career path).
Be brave enough to change your perspective
Consider the situation from the perspective of different people or groups, and be open to exploring multiple viewpoints. Think about how you would feel if the situation were reversed, or how would you feel if someone said that about you or treated you in that manner?
Be brave enough to help someone
Volunteer to be a mentor, either through a formal programme or informally. More specifically, look to work with someone who is different than you in some way – you will both benefit from the difference in perspectives and experience.”
How will you put these tips into your gamification designs?