A new reality for diversity and inclusion

Written by Matthew Jenkin Tuesday 05 July 2022
A new frontier of immersive technologies is allowing people to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. This is how they can help you challenge bias and discrimination in the workplace
A group of people wearing VR headsets

Computer scientist Benjamin Oghene was at the beginning of his career, working for professional services firm PwC in the City of London. During his lunch break, he was stopped by two police officers who arrested him because he matched the description of a suspect for armed robbery. He was held overnight for 23 hours and released without charge. But, as he explains in CMI’s The Everyone Economy report, the harrowing experience got him thinking about unconscious bias.

“I was surprised that this could happen to me in central London, but the lawyer that was allocated to me says it happens quite a lot,” he says.

“At the time, PwC’s Workforce Strategy Team had come to me, explaining that a lot of their clients spend money on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training and development, but don’t necessarily see a return on their investment. I was therefore keen to help. 

“When I began researching the subject, I came across studies which pointed to virtual reality [VR] as being a platform that companies can use to deliver effective change in EDI. So we developed a virtual reality experience called In My Shoes, where participants wear VR headsets and ‘become’ a digital version of someone from a particular demographic group. It allows you to see how the world treats you differently.”

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