'Working together with people from different backgrounds is challenging yet rewarding'
How can we open up the conversation about privacy and inclusion at the workplace? Pascalle Ickenroth, Industrial Design student at Eindhoven University of Technology, worked together with UYA members Martine Veldhuizen and Jojanneke van der Toorn on their project Privacy and Inclusion. Pascalle created a set of guidelines for a conversation-starter tool to use when discussing this sensitive topic.
'While on the lookout for an interesting topic to investigate for my studies in Industrial Design, my coach Daniel Tetteroo (member of the TU Eindhoven Young Academy of Engineering) brought an interesting and interdisciplinary research project from two members of the Utrecht Young Academy to my attention. The project in question was Jojanneke van der Toorn and Martine Veldhuizen’s Privacy and Inclusion, which aims at creating an evidence-based toolbox to spark conversations about the tension between feeling included at the workplace, and the willingness to share and ask for sensitive and private information. This is a topic far from my usual study interests and therefore out of my comfort zone, so I immediately said yes to the challenge.
Within companies, unfortunately, employees belonging to minority groups do not always feel included.
Within companies, unfortunately, employees belonging to minority groups do not always feel included. To increase inclusivity and to strengthen diversity policies, diversity officers within organisations might choose to register sensitive data such as gender identity and sexual orientation – the focus of the project. However, this practice is not always unreservedly accepted, and diversity officers struggle with finding the right way.'
What I took away from participating in an interdisciplinary research project outside of my own comfort zone, is that working together with people from different backgrounds is challenging yet rewarding.
Design of the conversation-starter tool
'When designing my conversation-starter tool, I knew that it was important to incorporate the ideas, visions and experiences of diversity officers. In the end, they will be the ones using the tool. I therefore set up co-creation sessions, which consisted of discussing views and opinions about the registration of sensitive data, and of brainstorming about the pros and the cons of some first conceptions of potential tools. These fruitful sessions resulted in a set of design guidelines, which will be useful in the development of an actual tool at a further stage of the research project.
What I took away from participating in an interdisciplinary research project outside of my own comfort zone, is that working together with people from different backgrounds is challenging yet rewarding. Especially at the beginning of my project, it took me some time to grasp the complexity of the privacy vs. inclusion discussion, and I had to get used to the terminology used in the academic debates. Yet, with the help of Jojanneke, Martine and Daniel, all with their own expertise and ideas, the project ended up successful, even in times of Covid-19 which initially made the co-creation sessions more difficult. Besides knowing more about the topic in question, I also developed my personal and professional knowledge and skills. I can confidently say that I have learned a lot.'