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Innovation For All - Diversity in Tech and Business
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Innovation For All - Diversity in Tech and Business

Author: Innovation For All

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Innovation for All explores how diversity and inclusion are impacted by innovation and technology. Long form interviews with experts in tech, design, AI, and business.

Is Facebook really a monopoly? How can remote work get more diversity in tech? What’s in the terms of service we usually ignore? How can we build inclusive, human-centered AI?

Host Sheana Ahlqvist created Innovation For All to help technologists and entrepreneurs make more inclusive products and businesses and think more critically about the societal impact of their work. Support this podcast:
40 Episodes
Allen Smart is a national spokesperson and advocate for improving rural philanthropic practices under his group – PhilanthropywoRx. He is also the Project Director for a national rural philanthropic project based at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Allen regularly consults with regional and national foundations on rural and philanthropic strategies.In this episode of Innovation for All, Allen discusses the complexities of rural America and how a lack of acknowledgement of its diversity is holding back the work being done there.In this episode you will learn: What diversity looks like in rural America How the misunderstanding of rural communities is a barrier to development How philanthropic, government and businesses can improve their work in rural communities Why there is a sense of frustration within rural America Whether the sudden interest in investing in rural America is being done right How diversity, specifically immigrants and communities of color, is both an old and new issue that must be addressed in rural America How to invest in the talent and skills of rural entrepreneurs What the future of rural innovation looks likeGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Erica Stone works at the intersection of writing, teaching, and community organizing. Through collaborative projects, she creates opportunities for scholars, students, and community members to engage in conversations and civic problem-solving with the hope of building a more equitable and participatory democracy. As a researcher, Erica is passionate about making academic scholarship free and accessible. In her 2016 TED talk, she critiques the academic publishing industry, urging academics to engage with popular media and include communities in their research. Erica is a doctoral candidate in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric program at Texas Tech University. Her research centers on public engagement in composition classrooms and academics’ role in their surrounding communities.In this episode you will learn:The reality of who has access to academic researchErica’s experience during her TEDx audition processWhat engaging in academia means beyond teachingWhat the publication process looks like from start to finish for academic researchThe cost of academic subscriptionsThe concerns Erica has about popular culture publications translating academic researchHow different TED chapters and franchises operateHow academics are trained to make things complicated and how that impacts public understandingThe historical reasoning for tenure and complications of tenure todayHow to include open access publications to count toward tenureResources for democratizing and translating researchHow for-profit companies are hopping on the idea of open access researchGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Paul Tasner, Co-founder and CEO of PulpWorks and more recently, Co-founder of Sort, has more than 40 years of operations experience. He has held leadership positions in ventures ranging from start-up to Fortune 100. For the past decade, his focus has been on sustainability. Paul’s corporate affiliations include The Clorox Company, Clif Bar, Method Products, and Hepagen Vaccines. He has authored numerous papers and presentations on supply chain sustainability and currently lectures on this subject in the MBA Programs at San Francisco State University and Golden Gate University as well as the Packaging Engineering Department at San Jose State University. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.In this episode you will learn:How PulpWorks manufactures packaging for consumer goods using fiber wasteThe story of Paul Tasner starting his first business at age 66The perks of being your own boss as an entrepreneurThe specific challenges PulpWorks faces in securing new customersHow to pursue investors in the competitive city of San FranciscoCritical questions to consider for people nearing retirement that want to start a businessHow recycling is an answer but not the answerWhy Paul is envious of the millennial mindsetHow rejecting plastic can make a differenceWhat Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is and how EPR regulations could impact societyPaul’s new tech-based recycling businessGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Kaveh Azartash holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of California, Irvine with a focus on Vision Science. Kaveh's career has been focused on innovating software applications in the neuroscience and now artificial intelligence domain. He co-founded in 2015 after realizing children are unable to effectively communicate with the technology around them through voice.In this episode you will learn: The story of how was started Kaveh's professional and academic background The key components of voice recognition software for kids How AIs can recognize changes in kids' speech patterns over time How's model can be applied to other challenges in voice recognition, like speech impediments or non-native English speakers How maintains privacy and data security The data collection process required to develop complex AI models that mature overtime Both the acoustic and language components that are behind a voice recognition software Why these new AI technologies are considered valuable The future business goals of KidSense.aiGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Caroline Criado Perez is a writer, journalist and feminist campaigner. She has written two books: Do It Like A Woman and Invisible Women. In her most recent book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men she describes how very old data bias can affect women today. In this episode, Sheana learns about the different ways data bias is affecting women today, from trivial things such as phone size to not so trivial things such as seat belt safety. Caroline tells all this and more in this episode of Innovation For All Podcast. In this episode you will learn: What is male default thinking? What are the consequences of male default thinking? What are the consequences in tech? Why the market is so bad at providing for women? What is low hanging fruit for those of us who want to make money? A stove example of male default thinking. What can entrepreneurs and consumers do about these issues? Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
A self-made entrepreneurship coach, Alex Wolf is the founder of BossBabe INC., an online community that helps millennial women start their own businesses. Members receive a host of advice from the successful social media coach. She is also the author of the book Resonate, a book for entrepreneurs who want authenticity with their audience: for those who want to really connect.In this episode of Innovation for All Podcast, Sheana speaks with Alex on how social media is changing human interactions, how companies contribute to the problem, and what needs to change.In this episode you will learn: Alex’s background in technology How technology changes interactions among millennials Why texting has become so prolific and what else is changing our interactions Should social media platforms go away from the advertisement business model and why Do consumers need to change the relationship with social media platforms Why millennials feel misaligned with their ageGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
What is digital literacy and why is it important for our kids to learn these skills? Founder of and, Diana Graber, joins the show to discuss theses topics and more. Diana is the author of “Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology.” In this episode of Innovation for All Podcast, we take a look at  Diana’s book and the Cyber Civics course she developed for schools.In This Episode You’ll Learn: How the Cyber Civics course came to be. What is Digital Literacy? What the Cyber Civics curriculum looks like and why it is important Does the Internet really make new problems? Relationships and development online What to find in the book not covered in the podcastGet shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Egg freezing startups like Extend Fertility may be a democratizing force to give women more child-bearing options. CEO Anne Hogarty discusses how Extend Fertility is giving women more choice through affordable egg freezing. As with any business designed to give women more choice, controversy abounds! Critics have a lot of questions: Is it ethical? Manipulative? Safe? Gimmicky?You’ll hear:Why are fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) so expensive?What are the unique advantages of egg freezing? What are the limitations?Is egg freezing a “bandaid?” Should we, instead, make it easier for women to have children while having a career?Should we be concerned that egg freezing businesses prey on women’s concerns about having children? Or is it unfair to suggest that women can’t assess their situations for themselves?Why has there been pushback from making egg freezing more affordable?Why did Extend Fertility upset so many when they advertised their services on Instagram?What are typical success rates for egg freezing?Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Chris Chancey is the founder of Amplio Recruiting, a company that helps companies hire people from the refugee and immigrant communities. How does Chris help refute and calm the fears potential employers? How does he ensure that vulnerable people aren’t being taken advantage of? And what has made his business so successful? Find out with Sheana in this episode of Innovation for All Podcast.In this episode you will learn:How Chris started Amplio Recruiting and why?What were some of the challenges in starting the business?How are companies vetted to ensure that the refugees are protected?What are the assumptions about the refugee community and are they true?What are the challenges with finding opportunities for women refugees?What is Amplio Ventures?What are some of the success stories?How has this work in diversity and inclusion influenced Chris’ personal views?Learn more about Amplio Recruiting at Get shownotes for this and every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Jimmy Chen is the Founder and CEO of Propel, a software company that aims to fight poverty through technology. They are the creators of the Fresh EBT mobile app, which enables EBT cardholders to manage their benefits, save money through grocery coupons, and find jobs. Fresh EBT is used by over 2 million low-income Americans across the country. In this episode of Innovation For All Podcast, Sheana learns why Jimmy decided to start Propel and use the tools of Silicon Valley to address social issues around poverty. In this episode you will learn:  Why Jimmy Chen decided to focus on building inclusive tech for low income families What is Propel and Fresh EBT  Why start with the food stamp program to battle poverty How does Propel get the diversity and empathy to solve problems they might not understand What is the process for getting usable information from users What are the logistical and general obstacles faced by Propel and how are they overcome What are some misconceptions about the food stamp program Where else can the private sector make a difference and what are the challenges Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast. --- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Minda Harts is the author of The Memo: What Women Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. Minda describes why "Lean In" didn't resonate with her workplace experience. Learn how women of color can break through workplace barriers and have a more active voice in their careers. In this episode you’ll learn What diversity and inclusion issues look like for women of color Mind’s take on the book Lean In Things that women of color need to be doing to advance their careers Should women of color practice self-advocacy more?  How to obtain and secure a seat at the table Networking and career advice from Minda Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @InForAllPodcast--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Kara Dake is a social impact innovator who is using a combination of wellness practices, community, media and exponential technologies. Her goal is to bring emotional and collective intelligence to the forefront of business and society. In this episode of Innovation for All Podcast, Sheana learns what this feminine energy is and how it can look in the workplace. Kara takes us through the value of feminine intelligence and intuition in the workplace and explains how it fits in with our technology and advances.  In this episode you will learn: Are traditional workspaces really inclusive of “female energy?”How Kara brought her MBA finance experience into bringing intuition and emotional intelligence to the workplace.Is there value in having more emotion in our workspaces?Why Kara decided to pursue an MBA?How Kara ended up in the tech space.Kara’s current projects: FI and FeelTankTV and how you can use them.Skills that can be learned at FeelTankTV.What is Co-Creation and why is it important?What are some of the assumptions we make in business everyday?What could a middle manager do to bring these practices into a company or system today?Get shownotes for this and every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast. --- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
"Set the market and work when and how you like. You have complete control." At least that is what gig economy companies like Uber would have you believe. In this episode of the Innovation For All podcast, Sheana speaks with Marshall Steinbaum, Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Utah, to talk about the pitfalls of the gig economy. Find out how employers can have control over the workforce without being a monopoly and how gig workers may be getting the short end of the stick. You’ll learn: Why did Uber driver’s strike?What makes the gig economy examples more complex?What is the difference between the gig economy labor and employment relationships? What should an independent contractor relationship look like?What are the markers of employer and employee relationships as opposed to independent contractor relationship?How does antitrust factor in to these issues?Proposed solutions to the gig economy and labor lawsHow these companies exercise control over their underrepresented workersDo you know someone who is concerned about the rise of the gig economy? Text them a link to this episode. You are the reason our movement is growing.Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
How can we build a more inclusive and productive workforce? In this episode of the Innovation For All podcast, Sheana speaks with Katherine Zaleski, one of the founders of Power To Fly. Katherine shares how Power To Fly is completely reinventing the traditional hiring process for companies to bring more women into the workplace and become more inclusive and diverse.  In this episode you will learn: How is traditional work limiting? How is Power to Fly addressing the gender pipeline problem? How can remote work play a key role in helping women?How can companies hire more diverse candidates?Can the hiring process signal a non-inclusive environment? Do you know someone who is working to build a more inclusive workplace? Text them a link to this episode. We can't grow without you!  Get shownotes for this an every episode at or find us on Twitter @inforallpodcast.--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
"When a system begins to remember us forever, and wherever we go.... we will not be our true selves. We will be the self we know it’s okay to remember."-- Josh Lovejoy, Principal design manager, ethics and society at Microsoft. Josh Lovejoy believes that human-centered design thinking can change the world for the better; that by seeking to address the needs of people - especially those at the margins - in ways that respect, restore and augment their capabilities, we can invent forms of technological innovation that would have otherwise been invisible. IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR:What is a design ethicist?How do autonomous AI systems take advantage of consumers?What is predictive policing and how does it relate to AI ethics?What is a deepfake?What happens when you give up personal data in exchange for a more personalized tech experience?Who should have the authority to make consequential decisions about AI?Should diversity be a design goal?How can designers avoid building uninclusive products?Do you know anyone building great tech or working in artificial intelligence? Text them a link to this episode. Get shownotes for this and every episode at Send in a voice message: this podcast:
How does Google make successful products when their users are infinitely diverse? Head of Product and Business Inclusion at Google, Reena Jana, shares the ways that this tech giant takes an inclusive approach to serve its users and be sensitive to different cultural norms. Reena shares how some of Google's best products were modified and improved through inclusive design and research practices. You'll learn:What is product inclusion?Best practices to overcome product inclusion challengesThe benefits and challenges of handling inclusion on a global scaleHow Reena forged her role as the head of product and business inclusionProduct Inclusion success stories and how the team develops these productsHow machine learning is helping Product InclusionHow the product development process prioritizes diversity at each levelWhy diversity is valuableFree tools Google offers to help product diversity and inclusion outside of their organizationDo you know someone who works in technology? Help others build better, more inclusive products by texting them this episode. Shownotes for this and every episode are available on --- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Traditional approaches to business, design practices, and research can result in suboptimal or uninclusive systems. In this episode of Innovation for All, host Sheana Ahlqvist talks to Dr. Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University in Toronto. They discuss what inclusive design is, why it is so important, and how we can design systems that accommodate the diversity of the world. Dr. Treviranus also reimagines the future of education. They cover her efforts to incorporate inclusivity into the current change-resistant educational system, her “Unlearning and Questioning” course, and her most recent project: developing a lab school for inclusive life-long learning.  (Original Airdate: 9/26/18) YOU’LL LEARN: How to use AR to combine real data with simulated data to create and experience new, imagined futures What is the Pareto Principle (80/20 Principle)? What are the real world consequences of ignoring the “20%”? What is the Cobra Effect?Get shownotes for this and every episode at Season 2 of Innovation For All will return May 29th, 2019!--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Learn how Vantage Point is using VR to reduce sexual harassment at work through way, way better training. In this episode of Innovation For All, Sheana Ahlqvist speaks with Morgan Mercer, founder and CEO of Vantage Point. In this episode, you’ll learn: How Vantage Point leverages the benefits VR to combat sexual harassment; Examples of subtle & aggressive sexual harassment situations in the workplace; Why they take a bystander approach to training; Morgan (@themorganmercer) is product-enthusiast and idealist who founded the Virtual Reality immersive training company Vantage Point in 2017. Prior to founding Vantage Point, she concurrently served as the Head of Digital for an e-commerce startup and an Analyst for a digital agency where she has worked on high-profile contracts focused on attitude change and behavior change within the domain of complex social issues. Get shownotes for this and every episode at (Original Airdate: 11/30/18)Do you support Innovation For All? Help others find us easily by reviewing us on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting platform.  Season 2 of Innovation For All will return May 29th, 2019!--- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Food delivery apps are putting mom and pop restaurants out of business. In this episode of Innovation For All, Chris Webb, CEO of ChowNow, shows the actual cost of meal delivery and how ChowNow is trying to mitigate those risks through an alternative business model. You’ll learn:How much food marketplaces charge the host restaurant, on top of the fees they charge the customer.Does the restaurant know who is buying their food when ordered through a delivery app? Why are restaurants willing to use delivery apps even when they are unprofitable?What does a model that puts the restaurant first look like?Learn more at Do you support the goals of Innovation For All? Help others find us easily by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting platform. Shownotes for this and every episode are available on --- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
Cassie Betts is the founder of District2.Co, a technology company that connects brands/designers with factories to streamline the manufacturing process, and Made In South LA (MISLA),  a DevShop Academy. Hear how Cassie went from being homeless to being called “The Woman Turning South LA into Startup Land” by Forbes. You'll hear How she went from coding her first computer game at 9 to being homeless at 19, and how she turned that all around. How do you help protect the poor from being displaced through gentrification? Why more money should be spent on technology bootcamps instead of other diversity initiatives.Note: This episode uses includes explicit language and includes some difficult topics about Cassie’s past that may be uncomfortable for some listeners. Please use your discretion.Do you enjoy Innovation For All? Help others find us easily by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcasting platform. --- Send in a voice message: this podcast:
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