A little while ago, we made a presentation on the future of humanitarian NGOs for the Start Network. This was the first use for our Futurescaper Crowd tool for foresight, which has since matured into our most popular offering. So, almost a year and a half later, how do this expert crowd's insights tally up against reality?
Shortly before our new website went live, we received the below - rather upset - email:
We felt that there was a point in responding - because diversity is an issue that matters to us, because that perception was factually incorrect (albeit justified from our old website!), and because our team also includes a gender specialist. We also feel that our response (slightly edited for clarity and privacy) is worth sharing here, as an expression of our values and sign of our commitment.
Thank you for your interest, and for taking the time to explain your concerns - we are always keen to hear how we can improve.
Your are quite right to call out the lack of diversity in the Futurescaper team as presented in our current website. As a small company (...), our leadership team is unfortunately constrained to its current non-diverse form, until we can grow enough to expand beyond that.
However, you might like to know that the largest part of our extended team, our consulting partners, are a much more diverse and gender-balanced group. Although currently missing from our website, fully half of them are not male. We have been making an effort to expand that team since late last year, and will be refreshing our website to give a more accurate picture of their diversity in the coming weeks.
At Futurescaper, we take diversity seriously - despite the constraints of our size, we recognise that it's the only way we can effectively serve our diverse clients and live our values. So thank you again for reminding us how important this effort is. If you would like to continue this conversation, may I introduce you to Desiree (cc'd) - she is our lead consultant for international development, with experience of working with UN projects, and significant background in gender issues (as well as an AWID member).
Finally, you may want to speak with (...) UNDP Sudan on using Futurescaper in areas with limited literacy and online access - we recently had a successful engagement in Sudan, which faced many of the same issues, and I'm sure we could apply the lessons from that (...)
As it turns out, that was the right thing to do:
As a closing note: there has been much written about diversity in tech recently, which is encouraging. While gender is often the focus of such discussions (as it was for this email exchange), it's also important to remember it is not the only dimension that matters. Age, sexuality, race, and physical ability matter as well - especially when they intersect with other dimensions. We are proud to be working on improving this however we can, and building a truly global team on the way there.
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the new Futurescaper website. Together with an updated look and feel, improved usability, and more detail, we are also excited about this "News" section.
We'll be putting a lot of news and reflections here on a range of topics. This includes recent projects, new experiments, and related musings from the team. The goal is to update it every few weeks, but we've got a lot going on these days. So instead of a specific schedule, we promise to update you on whatever interesting things come across out plate, whenever that may be (including other interesting developments elsewhere on the web).
Please let us know what you think of the new site and what you'd like to see on here in the future!
All our best,
The Futurescaper Team