Injustice and the Need for Change
The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, and far too many other Black Americans have shaken us all deeply. The underlying causes for these deaths are rooted in systemic racism that must be confronted and dismantled. The response seen across the country to recognize and support the Black Lives Matter movement is truly moving. We believe that change is needed and that we have a responsibility to examine our own practices and commit to taking meaningful action.
Silence in the face of racism and discrimination, both individual and systemic, is indefensible. While our country’s history—rooted in these institutions—has been written, our future has not. In that spirit, we’re actively participating with many other organizations and businesses who aspire to bring about a more just and equitable future. We’re a small business and know that the impact of our action is limited to our employees and the immediate communities we serve. But we also believe that our team members (especially people of color) deserve accountability from Think Company in line with the published core values that serve as a guidepost for all we do.
Here’s an outline of several key steps we’re taking now to promote greater equality, justice, and inclusion. We intend to update this list as progress is made.
Financial Commitment to this Cause
We recognize that internal actions and investments only reach a limited number of people. To promote positive systemic change in our community going forward, we’re committing ongoing financial support for organizations that advance racial equity. In that spirit, we’ve donated to the Bread & Roses Community Fund, which “supports community-based groups in building movements for racial equity and economic opportunity for all.”
Volunteering Time and Service
Think Company will increase the amount of time we volunteer to mission-driven organizations in our community that help promote design and technology as careers for underrepresented populations like Hopeworks and Onyx Valley. We are also offering free problem solving workshops to help organizations that are focused on protecting and advancing racial justice, civil rights, and equality for marginalized groups. These workshops are designed to help organizations identify and overcome specific challenges to achieve their goals. Additionally, every Thinker has paid volunteer time off to donate at their discretion. Through this program individuals have chosen to support Philly Food Rescue, Broad Street Ministry, BuildaBridge, the Philadelphia Outward Bound School, Greener Partners, West Catholic Preparatory High School, United Way/Social Venture Partners, and efforts to increase voting equity, among others.
Focusing on Inclusive Design
At Think Company, we help our clients create products and services based on a human-centered approach. It’s clearer than ever that we all have cognitive biases and blindspots about what perspectives and needs to consider when building something that many people will use. In an effort to account for this, we’re educating ourselves on the principles of Inclusive Design and will begin taking steps to incorporate an anti-bias framework into our consultative approach (such as the framework described here). We hope that, over time, this effort will lead to better products and services for everyone who uses them—while providing another opportunity to shed light on structural problems that may prevent an individual or group from accessing and benefiting from a service in an equal way.
Ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program
Think Company partners with Calm Clarity to provide training and education to our employees in matters of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We recognize that providing employees with the skills to deconstruct unconscious bias, navigate crises, and manage anxiety is a first but critical step toward creating a better workplace. Calm Clarity will help our Leadership Team to redesign career gateways and pathways, ensuring that every employee, particularly those with marginalized identities, has access to serve and succeed at all levels of the company.
Another key aspect of this effort is to build a staff that reflects and supports the communities in which we operate. This entails regularly reviewing, developing, and revising our policies against conscious and unconscious bias. It also includes eliminating such biases from our hiring practices, while actively looking into ways to hire and provide training to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) who have too often been underrepresented in our applicant pool. We are committed to making the professional design and technology community more diverse and will share updates as we define and implement those plans.
We’ll also continue to track our performance against these goals through CultureAmp’s feedback platform to enable anonymous feedback and a proactive listening strategy to truly understand our various employee experiences and take quick action when needed.
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At this point, it’s important for us all to listen to, learn from, and amplify diverse voices, while ensuring our practices and our work are inclusive and accessible. This is true for what we do to serve our employees, the marketplace, and the communities in which we work and live. We know we have a lot of work to do, and we know that we will stumble along the way. But we will do so together, we will do our best, and we will remain committed allies—while recognizing that allyship is not a destination, but an ongoing journey.