Second Story

Publicis SapientDisrupting Bias

How do you make people aware of bias they don’t think they have?

Hidden biases lurk within every organization. While evidence of discrimination is statistically obvious, the daily experience of exclusion can be difficult to see, much less to address. Despite good intentions, traditional diversity training programs are failing.

Seeing an opportunity to marry story, space and technology in pursuit of more heartening outcomes, we designed an immersive intervention to help Publicis Sapient employees understand what bias feels like rather than simply learn about it.

At the heart of this three-part workshop is an interactive experience devoted to making the invisible visible. Audio stories from actual employees and a beacon-triggered, custom mobile app turn the office into an interactive storyscape, where participants encounter jarringly candid, firsthand accounts of bias, as experienced by their peers, in the spaces where the stories actually might have happened. The experience serves as an emotional catalyst for subsequent facilitated group discussion, where we help participants round the corner from awareness and empathy to tangible action.

The program was designed to scale and is in the process of rolling out globally, with the goal of reaching all 16,000 Publicis Sapient employees.

Having gone through the workshop myself, I can honestly say that it was a transformative experience: it’s a meaningful lesson in understanding others’ perspectives and a testament to the importance of empathy in our work.
Alan Wexler
Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Sapient
Digiday Worklife Award, Most Committed to Diversity and InclusionWinner
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