No, You Don’t Need to Know—Just Expect It

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No, You Don’t Need to Know—Just Expect It

By Johnalee Johnston | Jun 29, 2020

The time of “needing to know” a person’s gender, ethnicity or race to ensure everyone has a positive event experience is over.

A few years ago, the quest to capture big data—to both personalize the event experience and glean insights into the level diversity a planner was working with—went down the mainstream rabbit hole and is still trending today. The more we know about a person, said the collective thought on the matter, the more positive and inclusive the event experience will be. And so, planners and suppliers began stockpiling loads of data and feeling very much like reborn Rumplestiltskins, spinning information into gold.

Today’s awareness, driven, in part, by a global shutdown that has recast a spotlight on the injustices and disparities that underpin our societies, has changed quite a bit. People are people. What we need isn’t yet more ways to draw attention to our differences, but opportunities that remind us how alike we really are.

I have chosen to write to SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions for this very reason. Racism, homophobia, sex and other forms of discrimination are systemic. The events industry included. What may seem like an ideal way to bring people together—the act of gathering info and other need-to-knows in order to differentiate or “diversify”—can easily slip to the side of alienation. Much like the gilded cage that keeps the canary safe, while also becoming its prison.

Isn’t time we move out of the data scheme of “need to know” and into an expect diversity mindset?

 

Author

Johnalee Johnston
Johnalee Johnston

Johnalee Johnston is a wildly creative and curious disruptor of the status quo and MPI’s digital editor.