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It’s Pride Month, and We’re Pretty Proud

June 18, 2019

 

We’re pretty gay. Or (far) more correctly put, we have a highly diverse team. We’re more than proud of that; diversity is an important part of our strategy.

Most businesses fail. And that’s regular businesses: window cleaning companies, restaurants, retail stores. MakeLab is a weird, quirky, complex, creative-interactive business. To make it work, each of the twelve people that work here — our engineers, producers, designers, developers — all have to be exceptional. They have to have grit and resilience. MakeLab survives and thrives because we’ve learned how to build a space that works for everyone, including people for whom too often workplaces, well, don’t always work for.

A diverse team with different lived experiences gives us a superpower. It’s more difficult to slip into groupthink when you’ve got people who see the world in different ways. Diversity has also helped us win huge clients, and assist them in achieving a more informed presence in the Queer community. One example is a financial firm who wanted us to build a giant digital graffiti wall for an LGBTQ event. Their brief was for us to put the rainbow gay pride flag on the canvas. We guided them instead to design a blank flag. Guests could then paint in flags that represented their own LGBTQ communities, whether it be the bisexual pride flag, transgender pride flag, or so forth. It’s that nuance, that nudge that the LGBTQ community is not a uniform group, that led them towards a more authentic approach. We’ve worked with several large clients to take a similar thoughtful approach.

Inclusivity at MakeLab is more than simply hiring with an eye for diversity; it’s about being explicit about our values, and putting in place policies that address issues of equity. It’s about authoring a well-researched gender and sexuality inclusivity policy, and taking the time to educate new team members.

We also look for ways to challenge the people and partners we do business with, to be more inclusive. We’ve been thrilled to see major changes in our partners — banks, government agencies, vendors and clients — simply by sitting down for coffee and talking about our experience working with their organization. One of the most common ways we’ve seen initial impact is by simply noting any time a partner sends us a form with gender boxes that don’t take our team’s identities into account. What’s exciting is that often our concerns work their way up to the highest levels of these organizations, and trigger wider discussion about inclusivity across those companies.

Integrating inclusive practices, and creating space for diversity is not good because it feels like a good thing to do. it’s also because it’s the smart thing to do. We’re incredibly lucky to have the team we have, and thriving because of it. Happy Pride.

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MakeLab is a laboratory for interactive events. We bring laser cutters, 3D printers, and other future-tools of fabrication to events around the world, introducing people new modes of hands-on creativity. Have an event in mind? Reach out to our team and let’s build an experience together.