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Former Member

Role of Inclusion in Design Thinking by alexandra.carvalho

I’ve recently come back from TechEd Las Vegas and one of the great sessions I attended was “Role of Empathy in Design Thinking” delivered by Seung Chan Lim and organised by Marilyn Pratt.

Among all sessions I attended in TechEd that was a very special one. It brought humanity to the work we do. Yes, we deliver technical solutions but we do that for people. And it’s amazing to see things from an empathy point of view.

I think we can all translate that into many things we do in our working life: eg in a business requirements’ workshop, where we interface with people and have the willingness to hear what they have to say, and ultimately deliver a technical solution to improve people’s lives.

What’s a company? It’s a conglomerate of people. That’s right - people working together and sometimes spending more time with their work colleagues than their own families.

There is another role I would like to add to Design Thinking - the role of Inclusion.

We are always interacting with people at work and we need to include people. Whether it’s a newcomer to a department, to a group, to a community - I think we need to include them, show them that we want them to be part of the team, that we care for them. And that is more than simply words said. It’s always beautiful when said and written, but much more effective when it is actually done.

The role of Inclusion is essential to our own development. Helping and nurturing people can give us enormous pleasure and happiness. And there is no better way of learning than teaching, no better way of earning than giving. When we give ourselves, when we share, when we make people feel welcome, we are including them.

Inclusion is an essential role in Design Thinking: include people in your brainstorming sessions, workshops, presentations. People need to feel they are included, they are accepted, they are part of the team!

As an SAP Mentor, I look at giving back to the community. I look at helping people in all facets of the SAP community. Actually, I have always done that - I have great pleasure in helping people, including them and seeing them flourish.

In September 2012 I was in the SAUG Summit event in Melbourne when I was approached by rekhap. She had been in Australia for 5 months and was struggling to find her first job despite her excellent technical and interpersonal skills. I said to Rekha to stay with me throughout the event and that I was going to introduce her to everyone I knew. After the event I organised a one-on-one session with her and gave her all the knowledge and tips on how to thrive in a different country and working culture.

Rekha got a job as an Enterprise Support Advisor with SAP. After that she sent me an email that I have collated below (with her authorisation to do so) and I would like to share with you how the “Role of Inclusion” can impact on people’s lives for the better.

“My first day @ work

Dear Alexandra,

Today is my first day at work and I don't want to miss out on this moment when I can remember you and express my gratitude.

Life is going to change from now on wards. The dream which I brought here is now going to realize.

Thank you for transforming my moments of fear and doubts into trust and faith.

You have tremendous self confidence and energy. You are the woman who never quits and do what she says. You are strong and you are everything I wish to be.

I really deeply admire you and couldn't have been more grateful for your guidance, your confidence in me, for sharing your experiences and becoming my mentor.

I feel so proud with your success in your career and now becoming SAP Mentor. You are the woman of endless possibilities and who has removed all the ceilings from her dreams.

You give me the courage and strength to dream and transform them into reality.

Today is my first day and I remember everything you have advised me so far.

I will always follow you and keep you updated with latest happening at work.

Let’s catch up soon.

Thanks a lot,