Making a Difference at IBM

Nese is an Associate Consulting UX Designer based in Sydney, Australia, where her focus is creating products that are accessible and inclusive to all communities.

Nese has been working for IBM for less than a year and already has made a difference. In this blog, she shares how she contributed to their office’s transformation and the profound impact it had on fostering inclusivity, collaboration, and productivity.

 

My ten months at IBM iX have been an enlightening journey, allowing me to fully embrace my passion for inclusivity. As a UX Designer, I have had the privilege of witnessing the deep-rooted commitment and dedication IBM has for creating inclusive environments. Inspired by this ethos, I embarked on a transformative journey to redesign our office space.

I have a hearing impairment, I wear two Cochlear Implants, one on each ear, to help me navigate the world of sound. This unique experience has shaped my path, leading me to pursue studies in Design and Technology, with a specialization in Digital Innovation.

 

A high school revelation

In high school, I noticed a disparity between the development of Cochlear Implants versus other assistive devices. It became apparent that the technology and innovation I had come to rely on were not always extended to other areas of accessibility. This realization struck a chord within me and ignited a strong desire to bridge this gap. I believed that all individuals, regardless of their abilities, deserved equal access to inclusive products that could enhance their lives.

Inspired by the potential to create positive change, I made a conscious decision to pursue a career in design and technology, with a specific focus on digital innovation. Armed with my personal experiences and deep empathy for individuals with disabilities, I embarked on a mission to ensure inclusivity became a central tenet in all the work I do.

 

My journey of making a difference at IBM

As someone with a hearing impairment at IBM, I faced challenges in maintaining focus and effective communication within the existing office layout. The rows of desks and lack of quiet spaces created a constant buzz of conversation, hindering my concentration and ability to communicate effectively. Additionally, the desk arrangement didn’t encourage team collaboration as they were too far apart, impeding spontaneous interactions and the flow of ideas and information. This limitation stifled the potential for synergy and innovation within the team. Furthermore, the absence of artwork or displays showcasing ongoing projects failed to inspire creativity, diminishing the office’s potential to foster engagement and innovative thinking.

The inspiration for creating an inclusive space in the IBM iX Design Studio emerged during a discussion about my experiences and challenges as a result of my hearing impairment. The team recognized the significance of the issue, realizing that it went beyond individual disability concerns and reflected a broader lack of inclusivity within the office. Motivated by the shared vision of a workspace that catered to the diverse needs of all employees, I embarked on a collaborative effort to enhance the office layout and create an environment conducive to productivity, collaboration, and creativity.

Recognizing the significance of this matter, we embarked on a collaborative effort to enhance the office layout and create an environment that met the diverse needs of the entire workforce.

To address these concerns and promote inclusivity, I have implemented several initiatives in the new and improved Sydney Studio:

  • Quiet, Blocked Out Working Space: I have created a designated area with noise cancellation features to provide a calm and focused environment for deep work.
  • Social Collaboration and Display Space: This area was designed to showcase examples of our best work, fostering inspiration and collaboration among team members.
  • Open Meeting Space for Events and Calls: I have established a dedicated space for hosting meetings, events, and conference calls, facilitating effective communication and collaboration.
  • Reshaped Workspace: By redesigning the layout and creating more pathways, I have encouraged free-flowing conversation and connection, promoting collaboration and idea sharing.

The implementation of these zones resulted in improved productivity, enhanced mental well-being, and increased enjoyment of the office environment.

By prioritizing accessibility and fostering a culture of inclusivity, IBM sets an example for others to follow. The transformation of our office space exemplifies the positive impact that inclusive design can have on employee well-being, collaboration, and productivity. Through our collective commitment to accessibility, we can create a world where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can thrive and contribute their unique talents.

 


Consider IBM as the next step in your career journey

At IBM, we champion people with diverse abilities and the previously untapped potential they bring to the workplace. We’re dedicated to hiring, supporting, educating, and embracing people of all abilities.

  • To learn more about how IBM supports people with diverse abilities, visit our Be Equal portal.
  • To see a list of recent job openings across the globe, browse our Careers Website.
  • You can also join our Talent Network to receive updates on events and career opportunities.

 

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