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CES 2021: Inclusion and Diversity are must-haves

This year, we had the chance to attend the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is well-known show where tech companies introduce their latest tech products and services for consumers. Each year, 4 400 companies are showing off their products and alongside are held keynotes and sessions to advertise products and discuss trends for the year to come.

Why Lyreco, a B2B company, is attending a B2C show ? Because consumer tech drives business change! What's happening in the consumer world directly impacts the B2B world. CES represented an opportunity for us to identify new products & technologies​, to network with startups and companies. Also, some of the companies exhibiting are our customers – it’s good to know what they’re up to!​

I attended 20+ sessions and keynotes and identified one topic that came back a lot in the discussions: the importance of inclusion and diversity. I guess this topic was particularly deepened as a result of Georges Floyd’s death last year, which has brought the issues of racial inequality back to the forefront in the United States. More to the point, Covid pandemic and multiple lockdowns have reinforced existing inequalities and created new ones.

The introductive keynote of CES 2021 mentioned the need for more diverse investment funds, for example Plum Alley which invests in Female innovation, or programs that foster minorities owned businesses. There is a crucial need for more diversity in the workplace as a study* reported that diverse teams are more efficient: homogenous group put too much confidence in their peer’s decisions. They tend to trust one another’s judgments, even bad ones, while in diverse group, people scrutinize mistakes more intensely and copy them less often. In this context, remote working represents a real opportunity for companies to diverse teams. They can reach geographical diversity and include introverts, nomads and disabled into their teams.

Also, lockdown questioned a lot about inclusion of consumers. Covid pandemic shifted our habits into a more home-centric experience. We now work, study, entertain ourselves, purchase goods, connect with people from home. Screens have become our window onto the world and our stage to deliver messages: connectivity is today a must. Unfortunately, not all have internet access and have the skills to navigate on internet. Tech companies must act and meet the needs of seniors, poors, disabled, women, rurals, etc.

So what for Lyreco?

  • How can we make sure all of Lyreco’s employees feel included? How can we improve diversity within the company?

  • How could Lyreco become a ‘diverse workplace’ expert and turn this expertise into an offer to help its clients include marginalised populations (women, people of colour, older workers, disabled)?


*Source: Meltdown: “Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It” by Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik


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