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Pat Bosch Speaks About Diversity in Design at Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation Festival

“Design is humanistic, and about transformation. If we could start talking about that early on, to children, we could create a future of empowered, creative thinkers.”

Perkins+Will’s Miami studio Design Director Pat Bosch made the case for early childhood exposure to design at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in New York on Thursday, where she shared a panel about diversity in design with Instagram Head of Design Ian Spalter and former Apple iPhone user interface designer Imran Chaudhri.

The only way to diversify the design industry, Bosch noted, is to diversify the talent pipeline—and that starts with empowering young people from all backgrounds with creative thinking and design skills across the education continuum, from grade school through university. More students would pursue careers in design if their own creative potential were realized and nurtured in the classroom.

For established companies looking to diversify their workforce—that is, recruiting and hiring people of different genders, ethnicity, races, cultures, physical abilities, and more—Bosch’s advice is to codify those commitments and embed them within the company culture.

“It has to be put in writing,” she said. “Make it a fact. It’s amazing how many people are unaware (that diversity is even an issue).”

What inspired Bosch to become a designer, herself? Fast Company Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Mehta, who moderated the panel, posed this very question.

“Design can change society, make a comment, have an attitude," Bosch answered. "That’s pretty mighty. I knew I could be of consequence.”

Some of Bosch’s most recently completed architectural projects include 709 Alton Road in Miami, Florida; Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana; and the L’Oréal Research and Innovation Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fast Company’s Innovation Festival was held October 22-26. Now in its fourth year, the conference attracts leading business innovators, cultural luminaries, and the world’s most creative people to share inspiration and purpose-driven leadership lessons with an audience of creative thinkers from around the globe.