AIGA San Francisco
130 Sutter Street
The Under-the-Radar Diversity Issue
Discrimination against older workers is a major problem, particularly because it is considered to be acceptable even by many who are against other forms of prejudice & discrimination in the workplace. It is pervasive and reflected in the words of influential leaders (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg: “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical. Young people are just smarter.”) and job ads (e.g., the stated requirement of being a “digital native” abounds).
Yet, we all get older — people of all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, … As Ashton Applewhite recently proclaimed from the TED stage, ageism is prejudice against our own future selves. Aging is not a problem or a disease; it is living.
Older people provide critical value to the workforce, and more and more, those approaching, reaching, and passing what is traditionally considered to be retirement age want and need to stay in workforce.
Richard, hot off speaking about this topic at the Design + Diversity Conference in St. Louis, will describe how the realities of aging differ from the stereotypes, review how culture promotes the practice of ageism, and discuss how individuals, our profession, organizations, and society are hurt by it.
Among other things, participants will share their experiences or other stories of ageism at work using an approach to group listening called the “collective story harvest” — a method not known by most designers but which needs to be added to their design research toolkit. Themes harvested from the stories will contribute to identifying what designers, the design profession, and others need to address and will guide the group’s consideration of what to do to address prevalent scenarios of ageism in the workplace. Additionally, Richard will review efforts underway that hold promise in the fight against ageism. Participants should leave with the beginnings of a personalized action plan.
Intended audience: designers of all ages and levels of experience; anyone doing anything to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Richard Anderson is a human-centered design (thinking) practice, management, & organizational strategy consultant with international management, cross-organizational development, & more than 25 years of experience. He has been the director of design disciplines in three consultancies, held leadership/management roles in other organizations, and freelanced for multiple companies. He is presently Principal of OE Strategy, providing human-centered research, strategy, and design thinking for organizations seeking to make a positive difference in the world.
Richard was Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine with Jon Kolko, helped start & grow numerous HCI communities around the world as ACM SIGCHI’s Local Chapters Chair, has organized numerous design events (including two major conferences), and has written lots and has spoken and moderated panels lots on numerous design-related topics. He has taught design, design research, design strategy, design management, design thinking, and social entrepreneurship throughout his career in many places, including the University of California (Berkeley & Santa Cruz), the Academy of Art University, General Assembly, and at multiple conferences and companies. He is now on the faculty of the Austin Center for Design.