By Ellen McGirt
October 24, 2016

On Friday, a botnet army, launched from internet-enabled everyday things like printers and cameras, attacked and temporarily hobbled a critical part of the internet. Fortune’s John Jeff Roberts has a must-read take on what happened, what to do now, and who’s to blame. (Turns out, it’s partly you and me. Yikes.)

That brought me back to a conversation I had recently with Shamla Naidoo, IBM’s Chief Information Security Officer, who is responsible for the safety of all of IBM’s digital assets. She mentioned the internet of things (IoT), specifically, a world where anything from shoes and shirts to medical devices and weapons will be linked to the internet. The threats are enormous. “We have to learn to be creative to think in new ways, to look at alternative theories, to look at the things that are non-obvious,” she said.

And diversity is going to be key to thinking in new ways. “We want a fully integrated workforce that is inclusive of people with a diversity of thought and backgrounds,” she added. She has learned to amplify the benefits of diversity by assembling teams in such a way that the members can more effectively learn from each other. “I can teach you about business, about the new technology,” she said. “I need people who can think.” (She’s hiring, by the way.)

I spent part of my weekend thinking about design as an important tool in business and in life, and how the arrangement of the physical or digital world is really an experience of inclusion or exclusion—design can bring people together or keep people out. Every day your Twitter account goes unhacked in a good day, and any day you are attacked by an unpoliced troll is not. Both of those experiences are the result of a series of design decisions. (Or, non-decisions, in the case of abuse.)

Ultimately, inclusive design considers the unintended consequences of its assumptions and decisions: Mindfulness if you’ll pardon the cliché, is baked into the design.

I’ve sprinkled some fascinating design-related finds in the links below. Enjoy.


Wishing you a mindfully inclusive week!


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