On 8th November 2017, IP Inclusive held a seminar-cum-workshop on unconscious bias, kindly hosted by Mathys & Squire.  Inspired by fabulous views from their Shard office, our group discussions yielded some great ideas about when and how unconscious bias can impact on an organisation and what steps can be taken to overcome it.


Group discussions at the unconscious bias workshop. Photo © Andrea Brewster

Thanks to some incredible follow-up work by one of the tutors, the IPO’s Deputy Director of HR and Organisational Development Dominic Houlihan, we’ve turned those ideas into a “toolkit” for organisations to use in tackling unconscious bias. This is free for all members of the IP Inclusive community to download and use – and we hope it will prove useful in starting conversations, raising awareness and ultimately, in turning the IP profession into a more diverse and inclusive place.

It’s worth remembering that unconscious bias affects all of us; it’s not necessarily something to be ashamed of.  What matters is that we recognise the assumptions that shape our responses to other people, and take steps to ensure they don’t compromise our behaviour.

I’d like to thank all of our tutors/facilitators – Ben Buchanan and Dominic Houlihan from the IPO, Liz Dawson from Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz and Hannah Edwards from Marks & Clerk – for the hard work they put into the event.  Ben gave us a fantastic opening talk on the hows and whys of unconscious bias, whilst Dominic and Hannah sportingly submitted to his “guess the panellists’ characteristics” game, Dominic only becoming mildly less sporting when labelled as Mondeo Man.  Dominic and Hannah also pulled together the results of the group discussions into a cogent set of outcomes.

All in all, it was an extremely productive hour and a half, followed by some friendly networking and quirky refreshments, over which the conversations on unconscious bias continued.  I’m really proud to be able to share those conversations with others in the IP professions.  Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Andrea Brewster
IP Inclusive leader

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