Queen for a day: Carly Donovan, manager at Deloitte Digital, talks tech, diversity and innovation

If you were in charge, how would you do things differently? In a recent issue of The Drum, seven women told guest-editor Cindy Gallop how they would tackle the issues holding their industries back if they ruled the roost. Here, Carly Donovan, manager at Deloitte Digital explains why the digital industry needs to increase diversity in leadership.

The dynamism of technology, the inclusive and creative principles we adhere to and the excitement around the growth in this sector make this a fantastic time and place to be working in digital.

However, for this sense of energy and excitement to remain, we need to constantly push ourselves and challenge how we work to achieve more.

One issue that I believe many of us working in digital will recognise is the interplay between day-today client service work and the desire to innovate and explore other ideas we have.

My colleagues have been impressively proactive when it comes to dedicating their personal time to developing ideas and testing out new technology.

It’s crucial that organisations invest in and support their employees in doing this, by ringfencing time for staff to work on their own projects and funding new technologies for them to play and innovate with.

Allowing employees this freedom is essential to developing a truly creative team and happy workplace.

It has become increasingly apparent that finding and keeping digital talent is about far more than traditional compensation – lifestyle, community investment and a working culture are equally important factors.

Employers must recognise this and respond to their employees’ needs.

One important issue is raising the profile of women.

Although there is a perceived progressiveness in digital organisations, in reality men still outnumber women, especially in senior positions.

Until younger women and those new to the industry see more women in leadership positions and more women representing all parts of our industry (not just the more traditionally female skewed areas), this will continue to be a problem.

We need to push for greater visibility in high profile situations in the short term, to ensure that the leadership of tomorrow more adequately represents women.

Not only do I believe this is the right thing to do, I also believe it is a more profitable and sustainable way for businesses to operate in the long run.

Having senior leadership who demographically represent only a small pool of staff, clients and customers precludes the kind of creative and empathetic thinking that businesses need to prosper.

I have seen efforts to increase diversity in leadership, but we need to push ourselves harder and encourage an open dialogue on the issue if we are to succeed in cracking this.

This article was originally published in the 1 October edition of The Drum, edited by Cindy Gallop and available in The Drum Store.

Check out what O2's Courtney Lockyer would do if she was Queen for a day.

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