Play 7: Activate, enable, and train stakeholders
After your Hub has prepared to engage with your stakeholder community, it’s time to activate, enable, and train the internal and external stakeholders who will make your initiative come to life. Again, there will be challenges to integrating Equitable AI into the fabric of your organization. By having put in place a knowledge repository, tools for designers and developers, training and professional development program, you will be prepared for the journey.
In this Play, you will activate your implementation teams by enlisting the support of Advisors and Champions. These stakeholders will help implement Equitable AI on projects related to the high-priority use cases that you identified in Play 6. Activation can involve building awareness, training on policies and procedures, building technical knowledge, helping with project planning, or identifying resources. Seek support and guidance from external researchers, consultants, and external organizations until you have sufficient in-house resources in place.
As you activate, enable, and train your internal stakeholder community, keep an eye on creating and maintaining a curious, ethical, and diverse workforce. Leverage your existing ERGs, create new ERGs as needed, intentionally hire and groom diverse talent, and augment your stakeholders with diverse consultants.
Tips to Get Started
- Start slowly then advance carefully. Engage your implementers prioritized in Play 6 to get your activations started and to pilot your program. Be sure to include a diverse, cross-sector group of stakeholders with diverse abilities and lived experiences, drawing on your ERGs where possible.
- Launch your formal professional development for Implementers. Treat your initial group of Implementers as a “trailblazing cohort.” This first cohort can help spread the word in their internal teams and networks, which will organically expand participation in the Champions Program. As individuals complete training and reach levels of achievement, their progress will be tracked and visible to the staff managing the Hub of your Equitable AI initiative.
- Develop new roles and update existing job responsibilities. Put in place new roles focused on coordinating Equitable AI implementations. For example, your organization may want to employ an AI ethicist trained in areas related to fairness for people of diverse races, ethnicities, disabilities, ages, gender identities or expressions, etc. Make sure that job responsibilities for key staff are updated to include Equitable AI-specific responsibilities.
- Grow your diverse talent. Work with your talent acquisition staff to recruit, hire, and integrate diverse people to work on Equitable AI in your organization. Get familiar with—and engage—programs aligned to universities, accelerators, Responsible AI job boards, and apprenticeship programs to intentionally recruit diverse talent.
- Ensure knowledge is captured and shared. Make sure that as stakeholders are trained and engaged in the effort that they add resources to the knowledge base. If there are new tools that they feel might be useful to the initiative, they should share them with the Hub.
- Spotlight successes to spur collaboration across the organization. Marshall your Hub and your organization’s leaders—especially C-level executives—to spotlight successes. This will help encourage more stakeholders to join in the cause.
- Seek out external networks, events and conferences. Encourage staff to network with external researchers, attend events, and register for conferences that focus or have tracks in AI Ethics, or Responsible Tech (e.g., ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAccT), AAAI /ACM Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society (AIES), HR Tech Conference, etc.).
Grow your Diverse Talent
Consider participating in various initiatives to grow a diverse talent base:
- Teach Access – a collaboration among education, industry, and disability advocacy organizations to address the critical need to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to design, develop, and build new technologies with the needs of people with disabilities in mind.
- The Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship is building apprenticeship pathways for people with disabilities, including tech.
- SureStart builds early opportunity pipelines for a highly diverse workforce, specifically in AI.
- All Tech is Human’s Responsible Tech Job Board and University Pathways Program can help organizations find qualified talent to fill any gaps in staffing in areas like computer science and engineering, law, digital design, accessibility, policy, HR and more.
Tips for Ongoing Operations
- Track diversity of your teams. Monitor the Champions Program, Training Program, and integration teams to document team diversity. Use these metrics to identify areas for improvement.
- Intentionally open up opportunities for diverse leadership. As you monitor and track the diversity of your teams, identify individuals who have progressed through the Champions Program for advancement into Advisor and leadership roles.
- Does your organization have a mechanism for spotlighting employee accomplishments that could be leveraged in this initiative?
- Does your organization already train staff in Responsible Tech, AI Ethics or other related areas?
- If you have conducted AI Ethics audits, do they address all potential biases, including biases related to disability?
- Does your organization already have a diversity recruiting program that could be leveraged?
- Accenture, Accenture study of eight factors that unlock inclusion for people with disabilities
- Ted Drake, Intuit’s Accessibility Champions Program, Medium
- World Economic Forum, “Here’s why AI needs a more diverse workforce,” 2020.
- Merve Hickok, “What does an AI Ethicist do? A Guide for the Why, the What and the How”, Medium, 2020.