Change begins by revolutionizing “What is” to “What if?” If we continue the status quo approach to diversity and inclusion in the ad industry the same way we always have rather than to status enabled, then the future is predictable. Transformation requires active intervention that can take an industry like advertising from a place of complacency and desolation to a pathway toward tangible long-term outcomes and results. This means no more dealing with systems and precepts that are generations old. It means removing privilege in the pipeline. It means understanding unconscious bias. It means execution!
By definition, Theory of Change (ToC) means latching onto a plausible and transparent distribution of intensities purposed to liberate human beings from constraints such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity that enslave them from enacting and achieving solutions. It requisites that one’s mind set and ethos be complicit to advancing the play for all and not just for some.
For clarity and conciseness, ToC, when morphed into diversity and inclusion, imparts that success for women or people of color should not focus purely on a certain number of women or people of color at the top nor a percentage at the table, either. ToC declares that diversity and inclusion be deliberate, or it won’t happen. It reveals that everyone be safe from abuse, discrimination or victimization by leadership or the people they encounter at work. It denotes that the demographic platform be expanded to welcome people of all genders, ethnicities, orientations and physical abilities and not only address diversity beyond race, sexual orientation or gender. So, let’s activate ToC and galvanize the ad industry’s talent ecosystem.
Today’s emerging and demographic society has birthed, nurtured and strategically placed multicultural talent in the interior of the ad industry, guaranteeing future potential. Be that as it may, creativity, culture and relationships remain inextricably linked to the crux of the advertising industry’s civility, often hindering progress, development and fruition of underserved and underrepresented talent.
Research by The Family Room uncovered insights and worldviews that multiculturalism and the marketing thereof has begun to outlive its usefulness. Results of their ten-year project evolved understandings that unquestionably showed a radical change from the customary ethnic, race or gender landscape. The study surmised that now, diversity and inclusion passion points not only focus on the cultural gap, but economic anxiety, fear of workplace safety and preserving a family’s civil rights.
ToC correspondingly notes that emotions can help overcome inertia and ignite action. Emotions kindle actions. Actions propagate benefits. Those benefits help sustain focus and commitment to keep moving forward.
Similarly, ToC prescribes that the ad industry hire, retain and promote diverse candidates. In turn, leadership growth will happen, and the diversity and inclusion problem will solve itself over time.
Executing a refreshed dimension of diversity and inclusion commands inclusivity, not exclusivity; equity, not inequality—in essence, a seat at the table. We must let diversity, not disparity, shape our future.