Inclusion Bias

by | Apr 26, 2022 | ICT4D, Strategy |

inclusion bias

When we throw a party, we have decisions to make about who to invite and who to leave out. The same is true for supper. Sometimes we are guided by the size of our table, who’s in town, our budget, or simply who is inspiring us at the moment. Criterion on who is included and excluded is part of many aspects of our lives.

The same is true in organisations, whether you are for-profit or not. We have a list of who are customer should be or who is we deem eligible for assistance. Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘are you willing to pay’ or ‘did you show up’. But often it is more complicated than that. Most of us, don’t like to talk about our list criteria. We don’t know we have one or are too embarrassed to admit it.

People and organisations respond differently when the ‘table’ is full. If you are like my brother, your response is to build a bigger table. However, too often, the response is to think about reasons to exclude people. To revise the list. Almost always, it takes more energy and resources to exclude than it does to ‘build a bigger table’.

We see this in welfare systems and in aid systems. What if our approach would be to have an inclusion bias? In our hiring practices, but also in who we assist? How many more people could we include if we took the energy and resources spent on deduplication and biometrics and gave it to those who we are wanting to help?

Inclusion bias. It’s a great term, let’s make it a reality.

Thanks to Juliet for reminding me of the term.

Photo by Tim Mossholder


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