A coalition of 29 leading diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) experts from academia and the tech industry recently released a new report, Action to Catalyze Tech (ACT), which calls on tech companies to commit to bold, collective action by open-sourcing DEI best practices, encouraging collaboration on systemic solutions and increasing accountability to drive change.
Convened by the Aspen Institute, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), PwC and Snap Inc., a cross-industry working group partnered for over a year to aggregate relevant, research-based actions that businesses can take to help radically improve DEI outcomes. The ACT Report compiles this research in one place. It provides a blueprint and tools for companies at all stages — from startups to mature organizations — to implement to drive internal and sector-wide change. The full report is available here: https://actreport.com/.
Over 30 CEOs and executives from leading technology organizations have committed to being founding signatories of the ACT Report. They have pledged to hold themselves and their companies accountable to accelerate progress toward achieving DEI success. Together, these founding signatories represent more than 500,000 tech employees.
How companies should respond to the DEI report
As part of the pledge, company signatories commit to developing company-specific strategies for pursuing or enhancing activity around the report’s four recommendations, which include:
- Model and incentivize inclusive leadership, including by recognizing DEI as a business imperative.
- Operationalize DEI throughout the business by applying a framework to address how to spend money (supplier diversity), design and build products (product inclusion) and think about talent.
- Share DEI demographic data with a new industry partner, the Tech Equity Accountability Mechanism, incubated by the Aspen Institute, with the goal of creating industry-wide standards for reporting such data.
- Transform future pathways into tech for underrepresented talent, including by helping to solve the acute lack of computer science teachers from underrepresented backgrounds.
“The tech industry remains dominated by white men,” said Vivian Schiller, Executive Director of Aspen Digital, a program of the Aspen Institute. “Justice for underrepresented communities requires sustained commitment, transparency and accountability from leadership, and that’s what we strive toward with Catalyze Tech. We are glad that so many tech companies are committing to implement recommendations made in this report, and eager to support the sector on the path to true equity.”
A roadmap for the future
“Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion is more than a numbers game. True change occurs when company leaders remove the systemic biases and barriers to fostering inclusive organizational cultures,” said Lucy Sanders, CEO and Founder, NCWIT. “It is imperative that we continue to call upon tech companies to take action, and contribute to making the tech industry a more accurate reflection of a broad society.”
“So often the tech industry moves fast and shoots for the stars — yet when it comes to diversity and inclusion, the industry’s progress has been agonizingly slow. It is long past time for urgency and accountability, and the ACT Report sets out a tangible roadmap for companies of all sizes,” said Oona King, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Snap Inc. and the Chair of the Catalyze Tech Working Group. “Collective action is key, and needs everyone in business — from CEOs to interns — to be inspired to act.”
“Diversity, equity and inclusion must be treated with the same prioritization, investment and rigor as other C-Suite priorities — it demands collaboration, accountability and transparency to help accelerate systemic and sustainable change,” said Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose & Inclusion Officer at PwC US. “The commitments laid out in the ACT report strive to do just that, from the talent we hire, to the suppliers we work with, to the products we create — inspiring a culture of belonging should be felt through every corner of an organization if we are to drive change at scale.”
Putting the DEI report findings into practice
The full list of companies that have signed on to commit to recommendations from the DEI report at launch are: Airbnb; Apple; Ariel Investments; Cisco; DoorDash; Dropbox; Etsy; Google; Headspace Health; Justworks; LinkedIn; Maven; Netflix; Nextdoor; PwC; Ro; Salesforce; Snap; Spotify; Twitter; Uber; Vimeo; Warby Parker; and Wipro; along with PledgeLA and the companies that form the Alliance for Global Inclusion: Applied Materials, Dell, Intel, Micron Technology, Nasdaq and NTT Data.
On November 3, Catalyze Tech will convene the first annual DEI Innovation Summit, which will bring together CEOs and leaders from signatory companies, DEI experts and advocates to discuss cross-industry alignment and how to put the report’s recommendations into action. The Summit, held virtually, will begin at 9:00 a.m. PT, and it will be available to watch for free here.
About Catalyze Tech
Catalyze Tech is a new initiative to align the tech industry around collective action for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), based on the belief that outcomes cannot be transformed by any one leader or company alone. They are an industry-wide challenge that must be tackled by working together.
The coalition’s founding recommendations, released in its Action to Catalyze Tech (ACT) Report, were developed over the course of a year by a cross-industry working group of academics, DEI experts, think tanks and tech companies, with the goal of bringing companies together to define industry standards for DEI and determine and commit to the collective action needed to solve systemic inequity in tech.
The working group that developed the report included experts and academics from AnitaB.org; Aspen Digital, a program of the Aspen Institute; Bennington College; Brookings Institution; Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, University of Texas at El Paso; Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Coqual; CSforAll; Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity in Tech (EDGE in Tech)™ Initiative at the University of California; Google; Harvard Business School; IncluSTEM; Kapor Center; LA-Tech.org; Management Leadership for Tomorrow; National Center for Women & Information Technology; Powered By Decisions, LLC; PwC; QSIDE Institute; Reboot Representation; Scholastic Education Solutions; Snap Inc.; University of Massachusetts Amherst; and the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
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