Afrofuturist Workplaces with Doc Jana and Aurora Archer

As part of ongoing research into DEI, @bentzen attended a seminar called Afrofuturist Workplaces hosted by Doc Jana and Aurora Archer (one of the hosts is one of the authors of Subtle Acts of Exclusion). Doc Jana runs TMI Consulting, a business that addresses well-being and DEI of workplaces. Here are some of my notes from the seminar:

An afrofuturist workplace de-centres white surpremacist patriarchal society in favour of a compassionate corporate culture that centres the wellbeing of people.

When people are first, wellness and self-care is the most important thing. Employees should take space to take care of themselves first. Some of the ways you can do this: dedicate time for personal development (eg, if you’re a designer, perhaps one day per month, as part of your schedule, you visit an art gallery).

Centre wellbeing, grace, space and reconnect who we are at work and who we are at home — be who we are!

If you’re trying to make your company more equitable, specifically correct for the equity gap. If you’re doing surveys to assess staff satisfaction, disaggregate the data so you know if POC (and other marginalized groups) are okay in your workplace. Aggregated data might mask whether or not they’re ok, especially if the majority of your company is cis white men.

Innovation and inclusion are tied together

One note about Doc Jana’s business: it’s a B-Corp and that part of the work they do is tied to the ethos of being a B-Corp.

Always be transparent

If people are at the centre:

  • value people for who they are
  • get out of the way and let them innovate
  • give them room to fail

Be intentional about what we value (Fission is thinking about this!)

Value people, product, planet, and company — and privilege the people over the product because without the people, the product is nothing

Checking in with your team is important (eg, by giving people feedback on a regular basis)

Start this while company small (easier than in a big company)

Assessment to-do: how have we inadvertently put bias in the system. Chances are, you have.

If there’s reluctance to move forward on this, its a problem in leadership. if we’re fully invested, we figure it out. even if we might fail at first.

Remember that change doesn’t happen over night!

Aside: there was mention of JEDI manangement where JEDI is “justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity” but reading about this further, use of that term may be problematic if it’s connected too closely to Star Wars. On the surface, Jedi are heroes but they often employ tactics that might be manipulative (eg, mind tricks).