How Diversity can Accelerate the Creative Process!  by John Balash

Today’s Tech world is constantly missing the mark on matters of inclusion. From “Gamer Gate” to who “Gamers / Game Developers / Computer Scientists are,” we are bombarded with reports and statistics that show gaps in equity regarding accessibility to technology and in the development of these technologies. In a recent publication from our department (the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University), we discuss our approach and why it is important.  

Actions speak louder than words, but the words are also important. Our actions should reflect what is marked clear in writing as a mission and vision. We believe that diversity, inclusion, and innovation are related, and focus on those pillars to spur on creativity and innovation.

Diversity accelerates the creative process into a new gear. It allows for more perspectives, more questions, and more solutions. We should always be reminded that we are rarely (if ever) designing for ourselves, but rather for others. This process will naturally evolve. While we shape the culture around us, we must always reflect and be open to naming and addressing challenges as they bubble up. What’s great is that this is made easier when working together.  

One way we aim to shape our culture is through improvisational acting. Everyone in our program has gone through exercises and classes (teachers and educators do this also, but often not with formal training). I would strongly encourage exploring improv for anyone interested in technology development (regardless of age or profession). The best part is that it requires just a simple set of rules and imagination. Outside of that, we are perfectly equipped just as we are!

  1. Be fun to play with
  2. Serve the Story
  3. Make Your Partner Look Good

Follow these guides and take the heartbeat of your development team / classroom / after school environment. I bet you’ll be surprised how new opportunities click.  

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll realize that there hasn’t been much “tech” in this post. There is no real “tech” without humans. Happy humans make better serving technologies / experiences. Stick to and thrive in the communities that support working together and growing together whether it be in school, after school, at work or at play.  

TLDR; Play together, follow the rules listed above, and answer with “yes, and… .”  Inclusivity means more than we think and it’s extremely important for real innovation. 

TSWLTR (too short would like to read); Creative Chaos By ETC PRESS

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.