The Great British Diversity Experiment

Over the past 6 weeks I have been taking part in The Great British Diversity Experiment, my team of 10 very diverse and wonderful people worked together over evenings and weekends to pull together an idea that was judged by a panel of industry leaders. Last week, at an awards night hosted by Digitas LBi, we found out we won!

The Great British Diversity Experiment was a cross-industry initiative set up by champions of the advertising, tech and communication industries; Nadya Powell (Sunshine), Daniele Fiandaca (Creative Social), Alex Goat (Livity), Jonathan Akwe (Lost Boys) and Laura Jordon-Bambauch (Mr President). It was launched in an attempt to tackle the current lack of diverse talent in advertising and hopefully make a step towards a racially, ethically and culturally diverse workforce.

Why it’s important

According to the The Drum’s recent Diversity Census, a peer survey to establish the levels of diversity across marketing industries – 86% of respondents categorized themselves as white. Almost a third of all respondents have experienced discrimination in the workplace and 15% do not believe their current workplace is a supportive place for them as an individual.

What we can do

Similar people come up with similar ideas; the industry as it stands is not representative of our society and we need to start making serious changes if we’re going to meet the challenges facing us in the future. The aim of The Great British Diversity Experiment was to prove that diversity really works. That more diverse creative means more diverse ideas and that different perspectives on a problem can, and do, create better solutions.

40 mentors from the industry and 180 participants from a diverse range of ages, races, sexes, skill levels and socio-economic backgrounds were split into 20 multi-disciplinary teams. They gathered at Google HQ on January 11th to receive a brief from Tesco and their agency BBH. The challenge was based around another serious issue, tackling food waste.

The brief

Every year up to 18 million tonnes of food is wasted, 50% of this comes from consumers – everyday people, everyday. Our team decided to tackle the problem by using something that is sitting in 98% of British homes – the freezer. Creating a series of actions and initiatives which Tesco could lead to help everyday people change their food waste habits, and save food from the bin, everyday.

Our winning idea

Our team ‘Diversiteam’, won over the judges with our “practical approach” describing us as “interesting and innovative” with “the most differentiated idea”. Being part of such a large and diverse team really proved that great ideas come from diverse approaches. Although there were natural leaders within the group, each of us was different and so respected each other’s opinions equally. This reflecting Nadya Powell’s comment, “tokenism doesn’t work. We need to achieve true diversity to enable everyone to be different and therefore no-one to be made to feel different”.

As winners of the experiment we will travel to the SXSW Interactive festival in Texas to help present the results of the experiment.