Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Designing for diversity in design organizations

Eli Silva (Pivotal Labs), Molly Beyer (University of North Texas)
11:20am–12:00pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Leaders of design organizations and anyone interested in diversity by design

What you'll learn

  • Understand how to design for diversity in design organizations
  • Learn practical tips for designing organizational diversity


Great design is the result of hard work and cultures that foster empathy, creativity, listening, and honest conversations. These happen to be the groundwork for diversity, so why is diversity still such a challenge in technology and in design organizations in particular?

The lack of diversity in design organizations remains a fact that we can design for. We can drive innovation and increase creativity, but we have to be honest about what’s holding us back. Eli Silva and Molly Beyer outline ways to design cultures that support design thinking, organizational growth, and diversity in the workplace.

Eli and Molly draw on a survey of designers across the industry about what they feel are strengths and weakness in their workplaces to explain how to make practical steps toward designing for diversity—including bringing in outside voices without appropriation or tokenization. You’ll learn how to effectively consider minorities and underrepresented groups in your approach to hiring, everyday work, and leadership development. The result of diverse design organizations is products that increasingly reflect actual people, across the age, gender, and income spectrum. That’s something worth working for.

Photo of Eli Silva

Eli Silva

Pivotal Labs

Eli Silva is senior product designer at Pivotal Labs. Eli is a Dallas-based product designer and speaker on design, Agile, and digital transformation. He loves to experiment with process and approaches to creating design culture in organizations large and small. A big believer in building the right thing at the right speed, he focuses on learning to ask questions that give design thinking leverage.

Photo of Molly Beyer

Molly Beyer

University of North Texas

Molly Beyer is an applied cultural anthropologist with experience in private, governmental, and nongovernmental projects. Molly is interested in understanding how qualitative methods can inform, guide, and “ground truth” quantitative metrics, computation, and AI to more effectively solve functional problems. Her research approach is centered around understanding people’s existing needs and habits to inform and guide design strategy to best develop policy changes, services, or products. Major areas of focus include complex emergencies, disaster response, clinical patient interaction, community health, and 3D segmentation.