Data please

How do we increase diversity and inclusion in all companies?  The answer is data.

The conversation has changed over the past decade and even most so over the past year around diversity and inclusion.  That is the good news.  The fact that CEO’s, founders and investors are talking about making deliberate choices inside companies focusing on diversity and inclusion decisions.  Change takes time but the conversations are hopeful.

I spoke to Marie Klawe, the President of Harvey Mudd, this week.  She is not only leading the charge in cultural transformation, she has proven you can change the ratios.  At Harvey Mudd, she increased the female computer science majors by 10% by changing the number of women on the computer science faculty over threefold.  No doubt having female role models in the computer science program spurred interested from younger women.

We talked about how she wants to change companies from ground-up focusing on the start-up space.  I believe the key is pure data.  What are the questions we should be asking on an annual basis through LP’s and VC’s for their companies to pull together information about the impact of diversity and inclusion?  I want to see KPI’s aggregated annually from thousands of companies answers that I believe will provide data that proves that when there is inclusivity and gender balance in a company we will see healthier cultures and balance sheets.

Here are some questions I would like answered.  Are more women getting funded this year than last year?  Are women getting worse valuation than their male counterparts?  How many men and women are working in your company?  How many women are on your investment team?  What is the correlation between women on the investment team vs no women on the investment team in regards to how many women get funded from that fund?  How many women are on the C-team?  How many minorities work in your company? Has your culture changed with balance?  Has your bottom line changed with balance?

The most important thing about these questions are the answers and seeing the data year after year.  Because if it is obvious that companies with diversity and inclusion are absolutely more profitable, then even the ones that tend to not really care about this but are only concerned with the bottom line, will make changes because if the data is affecting your bottom line, you tend to do something about it.