Book review: ‘Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives’ by Minal Bopaiah

‘Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives’ by Minal Bopaiah. Photo: amazon

Minal Bopaiah is the founder of Brevity & Wit, a strategy and design firm that helps organizations achieve the change they wish to see in the world through a unique approach that combines human-centered design, behavior change science, and the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Bopaiah has written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review and and has been a featured guest on numerous podcasts and shows, including the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU. She has also been a keynote speaker for many conferences, inspiring thousands with her credible, authentic, and engaging talks. Her new book “Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives”  helps leaders create more inclusive organizations using human-centered design and behavior change principles. (amazon, 2021)

“Equity” begins with an Introduction that delves deep into the subject of equity. Under the section Why Equity, Not Equality, Minal Bopaiah defines Equality as “when everyone has the same thing” and equity as “when everyone has what they need to thrive and participate fully.” Figure 1. Equality versus equity illustrates this as everyone having the same size bicycle versus everyone having the right bicycle to fit their needs. By sharing her family’s immigration story, she explains systemic inequality and how the system was designed this way: “the United States has an education system tied to local property taxes.” Equity allows leaders to create organizations where employees can contribute their unique strengths and collaborate better with their peers. The book is divided into chapters: 1. The Relationship between Bias, Systems, and Equity, 2. A Design Approach to IDEA, 3. Engaged and Equitable Leadership, 4. Bridging the Gap, 5. Communicating the Change, and 6. Creating Equity through Media and Marketing. In Closing Thoughts, her hope is that she has provided readers with the tools to “start designing for more equity in the corner of the world where you have influence and power.”

It may be a business centered subject, but everyone can benefit from learning more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as Accessibility. “Equity” takes a complex topic and makes it clear and concise to everyday readers. Minal’s writing style is down to earth and the language is easy to understand. The Glossary at the end makes it easy to look up unfamiliar terms and Discussion Guide aimed at individuals, teams, and organizations will certainly keep the conversation going. One of the highlights is Chapter 6: Creating Equity through Media and Marketing which shows that even content creators can make a difference by making sure the content has proper representation and that everyone can access it. It may be a small book, but it speaks volumes about issues regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Far from being solely a business manual, it is also a reference guide for readers interested in creating a more equitable society. Filled with business and leadership advice, as well as interesting anecdotes and life lessons, “Equity” explains how everyone can do their part to achieve a more inclusive and diverse world and is recommended for readers interested in books about business leadership, workplace culture, and personal enrichment.

“When designing for equity, the objective is not to get everyone to think the same, have the same values, or believe the same things. The objective is to design a world where differences are valued.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.


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