Inclusion nudges: connect, support and reach out

Our theme for National Inclusion Week 2020 is Each One Reach One. It is about bringing people and organisations together to connect and inspire each other to make inclusion an everyday reality.

Lasting change comes from big shifts – such as the impact of coronavirus and the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement – followed by steady, incremental steps to root the change into the everyday.

One of the reasons why it is so hard to build new habits and to change our behaviours is because our brain wants to follow the path of least resistance. Your body is always trying to maintain homeostasis – essentially equilibrium – and stick to what’s usual for you. It takes effort to build new neural pathways and your brain would much rather stick to the well-worn paths you’ve already established.

To build new habits and behaviours we need to take regular small steps, over and over, until the neural pathway is more well-trodden and what was a ‘new habit’ becomes our day-to-day. It’s the same for inspiring inclusion in others: the ‘big bang’ events are just the start, we need to follow it up with regular accountable action, together.

One of the ways we can shift people’s perspective to start them on their inclusion journey is to use ‘inclusion nudges’. We can nudge people into change in various ways, by engaging with their emotions, making the change as simple as possible, and challenging their perception by reframing. Ultimately what we want to do is connect with them, inspire them to have that moment of insight, and join them on their inclusion journey to learn and grow together.

When I think about my own work in unpicking what I’ve absorbed from the racist, sexist, LGBTphobic, ableist, classist society we live in, increasingly I realise that real change will come from connecting with other people, not persecuting them for using the wrong word or parroting a stereotype.

My role is to connect with others, meet them where they are and try and move them forward. There will always be a minority who will never change their minds, but I believe the majority of people are somewhere on that inclusion journey and we all have an opportunity to move them forwards on that path.

Who are you going to reach out to in National Inclusion Week? Who are the more ‘unusual suspects’ when it comes to inclusion? How might you connect with them and start them on their inclusion journey?