Digital Pride proved to be a huge success, should there have been any doubt after a highly engaging week of activities!
There’s now been time to reflect further on this unique event and the opportunities it created for even more collaboration.
The scale of Digital Pride was massive. With a full range of online engagement through Twitter (trending twice, peaking at number 2), Periscope (with over 35,000 viewers), Facebook (with a keyword reach of over 4 million), event streaming and live participation, Digital Pride reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world, with over 25 million impressions over the six days.
Of course that was the essence of Digital Pride – to reach out to people around the globe who may not be able to participate in pride events local to them, and connect them with those of us fortunate enough to be able to do so; as well as to share experiences and learning around the globe.
We are now in the middle of the ‘physical’ Pride season, with many events taking place worldwide.
Fujitsu in the UK has participated in Pride in London and we will also have a presence in Manchester Pride in August. Our colleagues in Finland took part for the first time in Helsinki Pride.
The terrible recent shooting in Orlando, Florida was a sad and distressing reminder of the extent of prejudice that exists in the world, and the lengths to which some people will go to express and impose their views on the innocent lives of others.
Never has it been more important to stand together and support each other no matter what our differences are.
Fujitsu: Identity and belonging
At Fujitsu we were involved with Gay Star News early in the planning and contributed to the Digital Pride week itself by hosting a thought provoking live panel discussion between India, Japan, London and Finland on the subject of ‘Identity and Belonging’.
On the panel we had Ruth Hunt (Chief Executive of Stonewall), tech reporter and BBC Click presenter Kate Russell, Home Office Spectrum Representative Richard Cronie, and EY Japan’s Nancy Ngou, along with senior Fujitsu staff.
The panels were convened by Sky News anchor Stephen Dixon. Click here for the full list of panelists.
If you’ve not yet seen the video I really encourage you to do so, it’s available here.
The panel considered aspects such as tolerance and understanding as well as the impact of different national cultures vs. organizational ones, the implications of local legislatures and emerging national developments of awareness, and support for individuals as individuals not simply as homogenous groups of people.
Of course we are all affected in one way or another by all aspects of identity and the associated sense of belonging – we are after all complex beings with a huge range of associated differences. This is apparent in ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues at work, and our business suppliers.
It’s also relevant when interacting with the person serving you in the coffee shop, the surgeon operating on you in hospital, or the public sector or private sector contact center operative who is handling your call i.e. every single human-to-human interaction of our lives. Some of these you get to decide on or choose, many you don’t.
Any organization, be that a commercial business, or a government department or public sector service provider, or a charity or a self-organized group of people working for a cause, will have a purpose or set of objectives that it is seeking to deliver.
In all of those, the organization or group of people, to be successful, has to acknowledge and look after its people at all stages in their career or involvement no matter how their personal circumstances and indeed identity may change and develop through time.
Supporting our fellow humans through these circumstances and changes is good for everyone.
Companies should do everything they can to enable an inclusive and supportive culture
All senior leaders in companies or other organizations that I talk to acknowledge that their corporates have their own culture, and that that culture has a mix of positive, as well as less positive, aspects.
All of them are seeking to encourage or drive change of various kinds which have an impact on organizational identity, and therefore culture.
Such cultures don’t exist in isolation of course, they are in the context of the supply chain ecosystem that they are part of, as well as the local and/or national culture(s) that their operations may inhabit.
Some of those local or national cultures may not ascribe to the same set of values (either in terms of lived behaviors, or specific legislative limitations) that they want for their own organization. And therein lies a difficult challenge!
I’m a fan of companies being accountable and responsible for their corporate culture. Clearly they have to operate within the law, however they should do everything they can to enable an inclusive and supportive culture for their people, no matter where in the world they may be working.
Where possible, of course, this could extend beyond the confines of the company itself. For example, appropriate local engagements that seek to improve the lives of the wider communities that their company operates in.
The conversations that business leaders have with fellow business-people and with local or national governments also present the opportunity to encourage positive change.
So, what steps will you take as individuals at work (irrespective of our role or ‘seniority’), at home, as well as when out and about to acknowledge people as individuals with their own identities (however they may wish to, or indeed wish not to, define that) and to support and encourage their sense of belonging?
At its heart of course this is about enquiring and understanding, and then acknowledging and harnessing our differences, as well as the things we have in common.
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