The emergence of the metaverse calls to mind the early days of the internet in the 1990s — new and full of unimaginable potential. Although diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) weren’t the focus when the internet was new, that shouldn’t be the case for the metaverse. And the C-suite can make sure it isn’t.
DEI values are threaded through the fabric of modern life, and companies have spent years retrofitting DEI strategies across their digital properties. The financial and reputational costs have been high. Flash forward to today, and the metaverse offers an extraordinary opportunity for a DEI reset. Companies have the chance to incorporate accessibility and diversity principles from the start, rather than bolting them on later.
Diversity in the metaverse is a C-suite issue
Building a metaverse that reflects the diversity of human experience is valuable for people, society and business. The metaverse will radically change how business is conducted, with breakthrough ways to drive growth.
As such, the responsibility to design for diversity goes well beyond developers. It is a responsibility for every member of the C-suite for three reasons:
The metaverse is
a source of future revenue
Consumers want to do business with companies that share their beliefs. As the next big channel to engage, convert, and retain customers, the metaverse could represent up to a US$13 trillion addressable market by 2030.
The metaverse is
key to the future of work
The choices companies make can influence where top talent decides to work, with more people prioritising workplaces that reflect the diverse needs, backgrounds and approaches of employees.
The metaverse is on
the investment community’s radar
90% of respondents in a recent KPMG survey see the metaverse as the next phase of the internet. The percentage of metaverse-related investments in venture capital and institutional investor assets is also set to increase over the next five years.
How leaders can start the conversation to get diversity right in the metaverse
The same DEI tenets from the physical world apply when cultivating diversity in the metaverse. But organisations should go further. Although physical barriers disappear in the metaverse, wholly new barriers and challenges emerge, such as agreeing on common terminology, addressing cyber security risks, and determining how to monetise offerings.
Each C-suite leader will likely have a perspective to add to the conversation.
For more perspectives on how business leaders can help get diversity right, download our paper.
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