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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.

Across our global organization, we are committed to making IDEO a place where everyone has equal access to opportunity and growth, where our differences are celebrated and cherished, and where those differences fuel our collective creativity.

An important measure of our progress will be the ongoing evolution in the diversity of our community. We will continue to share that information publicly, publishing summary data annually about demographic representation at IDEO.

December 2021

Demographic Data

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

Race/Ethnicity (U.S.)

filter by levelEveryoneIndividual ContributorsTeam LeadsDirectorsSenior Leadership
Hover over segments to see the corresponding value
    American Indian or Alaska Native (0.2%)    Asian (20.0%)    Black or African American (5.1%)    Hispanic or Latinx (6.6%)    Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (0.2%)    Two or More Races (4.8%)   White (63.0%)  Data values shown in legend are for 2021.
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.
Close

Gender

U.S. DataGlobal Data
filter by levelEveryoneIndividual ContributorsTeam LeadsDirectorsSenior Leadership
    Women    Men    Non-Binary   * Internal data included to recognize those in our community who identify outside binary gender classifications.
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.
  • 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

Race & Gender Intersection (U.S.)

filterAmerican Indian or Alaska NativeAsianBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinHawaiian or Other Pacific IslanderTwo or More RacesWhite
    Women    Men    Non-Binary   * Internal data included to recognize those in our community who identify outside binary gender classifications.
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

IDEO’s employment data, in accordance with government requirements, inaccurately presents gender as binary. We don’t agree with this presentation and want to publicly recognize the members of our community who identify outside a binary gender framework, including Agender, Androgynous, Bigender, Gender non-conforming, More than one, Questioning, and Two Spirit.

Data Observations

IDEO needs more Black, Indigenous, and Latinx employees at all levels, especially at the director and senior leadership levels. 37 percent of IDEO's US workforce identifies as people of color in 2021, in 2020 it was 32 percent. However, IDEO’s U.S. community is still only 5 percent Black, less than 1 percent Indigenous, and less than 7 percent Hispanic/Latinx. While the proportion of people of color in leadership positions grew from 8 percent in 2020 to 15 percent in 2021, we must continue to build on this foundation.

Women represent 57 percent of our global community (the same as in 2020), yet the proportion of women at the senior leadership level is measurably smaller than base representation. In the last year, the gap was somewhat reduced: the proportion of women in senior leadership roles rose from 28 percent globally to 37 percent, a 30% change. We must continue to bring more women into leadership roles and retain women leaders transitioning into enterprise leadership in order for gender representation at senior levels to be consistent with the base representation in the company, overall.

Additionally, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) reporting does not include non-binary gender representation. By our own standard, that makes our gender data incomplete. This limitation does not compromise our efforts to make IDEO a safe and welcoming place for people of all genders to pursue their career aspirations.

Actions

An important focus in 2021 has been to ensure that our work to build an inclusive and equitable culture can result in lasting change. We have listened inside IDEO, across the design industry, and in the world to better understand the root causes of the inequity we intend to design out of our systems.

A number of insights from that work have informed the evolution in our DE&I strategy in 2021. These include:

DE&I is (and must be) contextual. It’s critical to allow our communities in different geographies to define DE&I for their local context.

Onboarding matters. Onboarding of new team members is a critical moment in determining someone’s trajectory of belonging.

Ambiguity can be a barrier to inclusion. Ambiguity in our performance and compensation systems, in particular, are a source of particular frustration.

Over-reliance on social capital is also a barrier. A creative culture that relies on social capital is a system that advantages some groups over others.

Redesign needs to start with systems. Formal structures transfer burdens from individuals to systems, where most of those burdens belong.

These insights, coupled with a series of structural changes and trainings over the past year, have helped us develop and iterate our approach to this work.

For the year ahead, we are organizing our work to build a diverse team and inclusive culture at IDEO into four key initiatives:

  1. Ensure that all of us learn to adopt mindsets and behaviors that support inclusion.

  2. Build internal systems that promote broad representation and equitable access to opportunity and information.

  3. Support the authentic integration of inclusive, responsible, and ethical design practices into our core capabilities.

  4. Expand access to design for communities that are underrepresented or excluded from it.


In 2021, these initiatives, built from our stated commitments in 2020, encompass efforts from teams in every region across IDEO, including:

  • DE&I leadership groups in each geography in which we operate

  • Employee Resource Groups as formal structures for identity groups to foster community and connect with global leadership

  • Coaching support for people of color at IDEO for self-directed needs

  • An internal community-led collective to evolve our design practice and put inclusivity and equity and its core

  • Engagements to refresh our compensation philosophy and set conditions for pay equity

  • Mandatory interview training for all involved in hiring to promote consistency and decrease bias during interviews

  • Mandatory inclusive leadership training for everyone in a management position

  • Systems to support anonymous feedback and reporting

  • Workshops for all at IDEO to understand trust as a foundation for inclusion

  • Equal access to learning resources that include modules on DE&I fundamentals

  • Design workshops for youth in Chicago, London, San Francisco, and Tokyo, including communities that have had less access to the design industry

  • A fellowship to expand opportunity in design through a paid, full-time employment experience at IDEO, designed specifically for BIPOC individuals (in partnership with RepresentEd). The first cohort has been invited into IDEO in January 2022 for a 6-month period, and an iteration of the program will launch by the end of 2023. We will share more updates as we get closer to the recruitment season.

  • Started relationships with and provided in-kind design services for three external organizations working on racial justice


There is much work ahead, including the fulfillment of outstanding commitments from 2020. In 2022, we will advance our four key initiatives with particular focus on programs that support and enable inclusive leadership, widespread trust and psychological safety, effective allyship and accompliceship, a strong network of Employee Resource Groups, and the growth and retention of people from underrepresented communities.