Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The purpose of this document is to outline the Internet of Production Alliance’s (IOP Alliance) commitment to DEI. This includes taking stock of the state of DEI at the time of the document’s writing, and proposing concrete strategies to further DEI within the Alliance.
Latest version: 2021.11.29
Majority World = Countries other than the Global North
Minority World = Countries of the Global North
The Internet of Production Alliance is composed of several groups with different levels of demographic diversity. Therefor strategies for maintaining or increasing diversity will vary.
It is strategic to ensure diversity within these groups because the experience of the individuals that participate in them is both:
Promoted (meaning that in their experience is spotlighted and this creates new habits where teams and expert opinions are not headed by the usual demographics) and
Represented (their points of view, reality and angles for addressing issues will be included from the get go and not at the margin).
We aim to build digital infrastructure for anyone, anywhere to be able to participate in production. This will best be achieved when the experiences and points of view included are diverse enough to cover this global ambition.
Breakdown per group:
Staff: The Internet of Production Alliance has team members made up of both long- and short-term staff members (consultants or employees). We will strive to constitute teams with a majority of women, non-binary people, and individuals from the Majority World. This is particularly relevant considering the project’s global outreach strategy. In addition, we have a unique opportunity to support changes in cultural perceptions on the opportunities for women in technology and for women, non-binary and Minority World individuals in leadership.
This will be done by promoting job offers on global and regional platforms used by individuals in the Majority world, by offering schedule flexibility to accommodate for child care, by shortlisting individuals of all genders, by clearly stating our commitment to diversity in all job posting, and by providing those involved in recruitments with tools that take bias and unconscious discrimination into account.
IOP Alliance membership and existing standards communities: The Alliance membership consists of groups brought together with the common purpose of enabling anyone, anywhere to participate in production. De facto, as it relied until mid 2021 on volunteering, it has so far been constituted via direct invitation and word-of-mouth, depending on the network of the founding members. This mechanically creates a bubble that limits diversity.
Strategies for increasing diversity: the IOPA workplan for 2021-2022 includes significant outreach, and the successful delivery of this workplan and its corresponding milestones depends on broad uptake of IOPA standards. We will therefore explicitly look for partners and organizations all over the world. This does include a focus on the Minority World players such as big tech and manufacturing companies as a way to grow adoption but – given the stated focus of the Alliance – we will be actively looking for partners and stakeholders far beyond this group, including in disaster-affected communities and rarely represented countries. Open Know-How was developed by a group that, as was recognized early on, has a diversity problem in that it is largely male. The project will take steps to address this in the next phases of Open Know-How by actively seeking greater female participation and Majority World representation. Open Know-Where was developed by a diverse team, which the project will maintain.
IOP Alliance Council: Founded during the foundational meeting in Warsaw 2018, the council of the IOPA is already a relatively diverse group with 40% women and non-binary people. It is however made up at 100% of individuals from the Minority World. The process for renewal of the council will be designed in the common year. Diversity in terms of organizational representation is one of the principles. When further specifications for membership to the council are set up, they will include criteria for diversity of the individuals, beyond their organizational affiliation.
Working groups and task forces: groups from within the Alliance that advance specific work streams have an important role to play in shaping and setting-priorities for the Alliance. The current demographics of the manufacturing and maker environments are able cis-gendered male dominated. The IOP Alliance will be able to have a targeted increase of equity and inclusion by pro-actively increasing diversity in the makeup of these groups – and will seek to assign of chair/driver roles to individuals from under-represented groups.
Equitability and inclusivity within the IOP Alliance
The IOP Alliance has the opportunity to consciously build an equitable and inclusive work environment as the Alliance formally registers a legal entity by 2022. To do so – drawing on the experience of its member organizations – we will use latest best practice in diversity and inclusion to inform our policies, including around recruitment of board members and staff, and when creating organizational procedures (such as codes of conduct and discipline processes). Learning in this area will also be taken from other open communities such as the Linux Foundation and Mozilla Foundation.
In all workshops and public interventions related to the IOP, panel diversity will be strongly promoted, particularly by seeking to spotlight speakers who will discuss operational examples from actual users in rarely represented countries.
Though the working language of the IOP Alliance is English, members of the current team and the council are multilingual and will actively seek non-English language opportunities in terms of: advocacy/communication (conferences, interviews, articles, blogs), and adapting resources (such as: guides, use cases, specifications).
Equity and inclusivity:
Vision for the Internet of Production’s potential for impact on inequities
The impacts of an Internet of Production (enabling the collaboration and sharing of Open Hardware designs and decentralized, distributed local production) are as broad as its possible applications. Our vision is that an IOP will contribute to reducing global inequities in access to Open Hardware. People in the Majority World face relatively high barriers in their access to Open Hardware in practice: legal access to the right software, such as common CAD tools, can cost the equivalent of a year’s salary or more in that context and the banking services to pay subscriptions to platforms can be prohibitive. The IOP Alliance is creating the infrastructures to make it possible to widen this access; it will enable a scientist in Cameroon, a makerspace in Vanuatu or an entrepreneur in Iraq to engage in and collaborate around Open Hardware.
By increasing the markets available to local manufacturers, the Internet of Production brings the potential of directly positively impacting more women and more people living with disabilities with economic opportunities by getting involved in local manufacturing. This is based on observations of the markets generated by access to manufacturing equipment such as sewing machines in places that members of the IOP Alliance directly operate in (See: kijenzi.org, fieldready.org).
The Internet of Production can indirectly contribute to reducing global inequities by impacting not just the makers who make Open Hardware but by helping the people who use it or who benefit from, say, scientific research results that could not have happened without it. For example, assistive devices are one of the key applications of Open Hardware since prosthesis can be made and maintained at much lower cost. the Internet of Production will provide tools and a market for more customizable, context appropriate and low-cost Open Hardware designs to reach more people living with disability than before. In the context of humanitarian response, the Internet of Production will enable the widespread local manufacturing of critical supplies to specifications and standards desired by aid agencies – drastically reducing costs and delivery times. Scientific research will benefit from conducting low-cost experiments in a broader range of contexts worldwide than ever before – a step which could help to reduce racial and ethical biases in data.
At draft stage (remove before publication):
Inspiration for DEI statements: