Why Diversity Matters

Wikivillage is a ‘tech for good’ startup  whose mission is to building affordable housing in London founded around culturally and socially diverse communities. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive company culture so we are living the values of the communities we strive to build. We believe in walking our talk.

The first step on this journey is to walk the talk in our own community and build a diverse and inclusive company culture as the foundation of everything else we do we boost our chances of achieving our goal of building harmonious inclusive london housing.

We are proud to have reached our first major milestone only three months after launching our diversity and inclusivity talent drive. We’re very proud to share the highlights noted below:

  • With the recent appointments of the highly talented Dr Andrea Burris, Ekua Cant, Anne Fergusson, Kirsten Haggart and Divya Umakanth

  • 50% of the Wikivillage team are now women a turn around from the original 100% male founding team

  • This is only the first step to creating a structurally diverse and inclusive team. Research shows diversity is most successful when you first start by focusing on gender and then move onto BME and other diversity

  • We are particularly proud of this achievement given the diversity debt of the two sectors we work at the junction of, tech and construction, which are two of the least diverse industries in the UK

We think it is lamentable that women represent only 17% of the UK tech sector. In construction the picture is even more depressing: just  1% of workers on site are women.

The diversity performance of these two sectors are particularly appalling considering that 50% of UK professional graduates are women.

This sector debt meant we started with a founding team that suffered substantial diversity debt which we have now started repaying.

We are proud to have made our first step towards a diverse and inclusive team.

Why are we doing this?

Apart from it just being the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do.

The evidence and data shows there are very good reasons to build companies on diverse and inclusive foundations.

Research from the US conclusively shows that the more diverse a company is the better it performs financially. Data from the UK shows the same.

Data from Amazon UK and ARM presented at the Cambridge inclusive innovation conference showed that diverse teams not only make better decisions - diverse teams are 41% more profitable and more creative than monocultural teams.

Let's stop for a moment stop and ask yourself, does your company have a diverse and inclusive teams and company culture? If the answer is no then the CEO of your company is leaving 41%  of potential annual profits on the table.

If you are a shareholder or a board member I recommend sacking the male CEO of your company and replacing them with an internal female candidate - the numbers again show that internally appointed diverse/underestimated CEOs  perform consistently better than their male counterparts, see for example Indra Nooyi and Satya Nadella who both doubled the market cap of their companies during their tenure

Compare that to Jack Welch (82) the poster boy of white male CEOS. He said “my tenure SHOULD be judged by the performance of the company after I leave”.

After Welch left, the market cap of GE fell from 400 billion to 200 billion. When questioned publicly Welch answered “I don’t talk about that”.

It’s a classic example of  a powerful man refusing to confront the reality of his underperformance, just like the ”expert” wall street stock pickers whose performance were out performed by blindfolded monkeys.

At Wikivillage…

Our next goal in 2019/20 is to make white men a minority on the Wikivillage team  well before we start scaling, so we have a foundation of a diverse and inclusive company culture that will scale as we grow.

So If you are a skilled and talented professional working in construction, housing, finance or tech and you are excited about disrupting the moribund London property market by making high quality affordable housing available  to every hard working London family, get in touch. Yes you might end up replacing the white male CEO who fully appreciates the irony of a privileged white Cis male writing about the importance of diversity, but in the end believes those who are in the lucky position to walk the talk on diversity should be the ones taking the boldest action