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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at IDEO

IDEO is driven by the ambition to create positive impact in the world through design and creativity, and to help others do the same. Fostering a diverse community of talent and ensuring an equitable and inclusive workplace are essential to that ambition.

For the first time, we are publicly sharing IDEO's demographic data. These numbers, along with the steps we will take to improve them, are a crucial ingredient in our commitment to advancing equity and diversity. By owning this reality, and shining a light on our organization's shortcomings, we plan to create a culture of greater accountability.

This information is collected from our employees at the time of hiring, and the specific data collected varies from country to country.

September 2020

2020 Diversity Data

Race/Ethnicity (U.S.)

filter by levelEveryoneIndividual ContributorsTeam LeadsDirectorsSenior Leadership
Bar chart of racial and ethnic identification of employees at United States IDEO offices where white-identifying employees make up about 68% of employees, Asian-identifying employees make up about 18% of employees, Black or African American-identifying employees make up 3% of employees and Hispanic or LatinX-identifying employees make up about 5% of employees.This bar chart shows a breakdown of the racial and ethnic identification of all employees at IDEO into seven categories. Employees who identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native make up 0.2% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. Employees who identify as Asian make up 17.6% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. Employees who identify as Black or African American make up 3.5% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. Employees who identify as Hispanic or LatinX make up 4.9% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. Employees who identify as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander make up 0.2% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. Employees who identify as Two or More Races make up 5.6% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. In total, 31.9% of employees identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. Employees who identify as white make up 68.1% of all IDEO employees in the U.S..
Level and Data Details

IDEO’s demographic data is self-reported by employees upon their employment at IDEO, as per U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines and as privacy laws recommend in other regions. The data limitations for gender identity (two options) and race/ethnicity (seven options) are a result of the EEO’s defined classifications.

  • The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by the U.S. government. More details and a sample copy of the EEO-1 form are available here.
  • IDEO does not collect race/ethnicity data in countries outside the United States.
  • IDEO employment levels are categorized as follows:
    • Individual Contributors — Focus primarily on individual contributions to teams and/or departments.
    • Team Leads — Begin taking direct responsibility for others, often by leading projects or guiding other practitioners.
    • Directors — Hold leadership responsibilities across studio, location, and organizational levels. They help guide craft, manage client relationships, shape culture, and participate directly in career/salary decisions.
    • Senior Leadership — Carries a broad range of responsibilities for nurturing individual development of designers. They make decisions that affect the strategic direction of the business.
  • Percentages may not sum perfectly to 100 because of rounding.
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Gender

U.S. DataGlobal Data
filter by levelEveryoneIndividual ContributorsTeam LeadsDirectorsSenior Leadership
Donut chart of gender of all employees at United States IDEO offices where women make up 56% of all employees.
Level and Data Details

IDEO’s current data adheres to U.S. government requirements categorizing gender as male or female. This way of reporting does not recognize that gender is not binary, and IDEO intends to explore a more inclusive way of tracking this data over time.

IDEO’s demographic data is self-reported by employees upon their employment at IDEO, as per U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines and as privacy laws recommend in other regions. The data limitations for gender identity (two options) and race/ethnicity (seven options) are a result of the EEO’s defined classifications.

  • The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by the U.S. government. More details and a sample copy of the EEO-1 form are available here.

We are mindful that in addition to the legal protections, cultural attitudes vary between countries with regard to collection of sensitive personal data. Our locations outside the U.S. are not required to self-identify their ethnicity and gender at time of hire. Historically, privacy laws and employee feedback have informed our limited collection of demographic data. In Europe and Asia, reporting requirements mean that some internal collection and analysis of assumed gender is required and is retained in our HR system. This system is the source of the information provided.

  • IDEO employment levels are categorized as follows:
    • Individual Contributors — Focus primarily on individual contributions to teams and/or departments.
    • Team Leads — Begin taking direct responsibility for others, often by leading projects or guiding other practitioners.
    • Directors — Hold leadership responsibilities across studio, location, and organizational levels. They help guide craft, manage client relationships, shape culture, and participate directly in career/salary decisions.
    • Senior Leadership — Carries a broad range of responsibilities for nurturing individual development of designers. They make decisions that affect the strategic direction of the business.
  • Percentages may not sum perfectly to 100 because of rounding.
Close

Race & Gender Intersection (U.S.)

Hover or tap on bars below to view gender data.
Stacked bar chart of racial or ethnic identification and gender of all employees at IDEO offices in the United States where white employees are roughly equally split between men and women and employees that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are more likely to be women.This bar chart shows a breakdown of the racial, ethnic, and gender identification of all employees at IDEO offices in the United States. There are seven racial and ethnic categories: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Hispanic or LatinX; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; Two or More Races; and white. In adherence with U.S. Government reporting requirements, there are two gender categories: men and women. Women who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native make up 0.2% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. No men identify as American Indian or Alaska Native. Women who identify as Asian make up 11.5% of all IDEO employees in the U.S., and men who identify as Asian make up 6.1%. Women who identify as Black or African American make up 2.3% of all IDEO employees in the U.S., and men who identify as Black or African American make up 1.2%. Women who identify as Hispanic or LatinX make up 3.1% of all IDEO employees in the U.S., and men who identify as Hispanic or LatinX make up 1.7%. Women who identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander make up 0.2% of all IDEO employees in the U.S.. No men identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Women who identify as Two or More Races make up 3.7% of all IDEO employees in the U.S., and men who identify as Two or More Races make up 1.9%. Women who identify as white make up 35% of all IDEO employees in the U.S, and men who identify as white make up 33.1%.womenmen
Data Details

IDEO’s demographic data is self-reported by employees upon their employment at IDEO, as per U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines and as privacy laws recommend in other regions. The data limitations for gender identity (two options) and race/ethnicity (seven options) are a result of the EEO’s defined classifications.

  • The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by the U.S. government. More details and a sample copy of the EEO-1 form are available here.
  • IDEO does not collect race/ethnicity data in countries outside the United States.
  • To protect the privacy of individual employees, we chose not to share intersectional data divided by levels.
  • Percentages may not sum perfectly to 100 because of rounding.
Close

Data Observations

IDEO has long expressed a belief that diverse teams strengthen innovation, and we held up multidisciplinary teams as our primary example. Yet it is clear through this data that we have been underinvesting in building a community of people with diverse racial backgrounds and gender identities.

Design as an industry—and IDEO as an organization—has long been disproportionately composed of white men. People of color currently represent 31.9 percent of IDEO’s U.S. offices. Only 3.5 percent of the IDEO U.S. community is Black, and 4.9 percent is Hispanic/Latinx. While there is a lack of racial diversity across all levels, our senior leadership level is of particular concern, with only 7.8 percent people of color. IDEO needs to invest in hiring, retaining, and recognizing Black, Indigenous and Latinx employees at all levels, and especially at the director and senior leadership levels. This will not only strengthen our collective ability to do great work, but will help more IDEO employees see that there's opportunity for growth and a future for them in this organization.

While we have made progress over the years in creating more gender balance, with women now representing 55.6 percent of our global community, there is a significant drop-off of women at the senior leadership level to only 28.4 percent globally. IDEO needs to invest in supporting more women in leadership roles overall, and in particular, retain women leaders through their transition from director-level roles into senior leadership.

Additionally, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) reporting does not include non-binary gender representation. An internal IDEO survey showed that our community includes individuals who identify beyond binary gender distinctions, including Agender, Androgynous, Bigender, Femme, Genderqueer, Gender fluid, Gender non-conforming, Questioning, Transgender, and Two Spirit. IDEO needs to ensure we are creating a safe and welcoming place for people to pursue their career aspirations, regardless of where one might identify on the gender spectrum.


Actions

As of September 2020, we have many internal projects underway in line with our commitments to five focus areas: talent, training, community, design and culture. Nevertheless, we have a long road to travel and much still to learn before establishing the priorities that will move us toward real change. Here are the actions we have taken to date to begin designing sustained accountability into our organization, and our plans for continued progress toward this goal.

  1. Elevate underrepresented voices

We created a new leadership group to steward the evolution of our culture. The remit of this group is to guide the transformation of our organizational culture, norms, and power relations away from the historical white dominance of the design industry, and toward a more diverse and equitable future. The group includes IDEO’s CEO and Chief of Staff, and is configured with a majority of women and BIPOC voices spanning a range of seniority, disciplines, and tenure.

We assembled a dedicated group to surface and share more equitable approaches to design. This group is examining past and current IDEO work to highlight examples of design practice centered in equity and community. One of their primary objectives is to open new dialogues within the organization that re-examine and improve our design methods.

We will formalize the creation of Employee Resource Groups, including the framework for how these groups are established and funded, and how they engage with decision makers in our organization.

  1. Assess our demographics and culture

We published IDEO’s demographic data. For the first time, IDEO has compiled global demographic data, including U.S.-based EEO data. This data has been shared both internally and externally, creating a baseline for tracking and holding ourselves accountable.

We collected a more comprehensive view of our organization. EEO data does not allow us to accurately reflect IDEO’s makeup and culture, in the U.S. or globally. This summer, we launched a more inclusive internal survey to learn about the many ways our community defines their individual identities, and the ways that people experience working at IDEO.

We will publish observations about our culture and the employee lifecycle at IDEO, internally and externally, collected through the more comprehensive survey and internal conversations. Observations from these inputs will then inform how we redesign internal processes and systems.

  1. Develop targeted goals

We identified DE&I priorities for everyone in our U.S. offices. The demographic data clearly shows: 1) We need to increase the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and women leaders, particularly at our most senior leadership level. 2) We need to hire, retain, recognize, and elevate BIPOC designers.

We will develop a set of targeted goals around recruiting, retention, and representation for our U.S. communities. We’ll work on this collaboratively across IDEO, and leverage best practices and external expertise where necessary.

We will develop DE&I priorities in IDEO offices beyond the U.S. that respond to the dynamics of local cultures.

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