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Employing technology to facilitate DE&I initiatives

IDEO is a global design company headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. Through its CoLab, the company works across industries to encourage the adoption of new technologies, including Flux, a digital resource designed in collaboration with GE Ventures to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the startup and venture capital world. IDEO CoLab asked MIT Sloan's Enterprise Management Lab (EM-Lab) to develop a preliminary evaluation framework to assess potential users and customer segments for Flux's initial roll-out.

The EM-Lab student team researched DE&I adoption trends and interviewed subject matter experts to identify target markets and determine the needs of those markets. The students then assessed the potential demand, impact, and feasibility of Flux being adopted by four types of organizations: venture capitalists, growing companies, mature organizations, and secondary education. This evaluation framework revealed key challenges and opportunities in each market segment.

“Our final recommendations suggested that mature companies were actually one of the most interested and attractive customer segments for a DE&I platform like Flux,” says Danielle Ager, MBA ’22, who worked on the project with Bo Chan, MBA ’22, Varun Kumar Chimbli, MIT Sloan Fellows MBA ’21, and Amanda Dominguez, MBA ’22. Growing companies and those involved in secondary education were also identified as important target markets.

Ager says the project gave her deep insights into DE&I, a topic of increasing prominence both in societal conversations and in corporate culture. “What was most interesting and rewarding about our project was the opportunity to connect with leaders across industries, titles, and tenure to hear directly how their organization has responded to the calls for more investment in DE&I,” she says.

Shuya Gong, venture designer for IDEO, describes the students’ work as “fantastic.”

“The EM-Lab team validated and surfaced new insights that expanded the understanding of what made implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives meaningful to a venture capital network,” she says.