PEXA’s CTO Eglantine Etiemble: Innovation Isn’t Born In An Echo Chamber

By Alice Duthie
on 24 March 2023

Eglantine Etiemble, Chief Technology Officer, PEXA, shared her insights into why organisational diversity is necessary to challenge the status quo and consider new perspectives.

“If Steve Jobs hadn’t surrounded himself with people who knew how to change his mind, he might not have changed the world,” explains Adam Grant, author of Persuading the Unpersuadable in The Harvard Business Review.

This notion is similarly true of PEXA and our origins. We could not have solved challenges in the sector and our operations by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. We wouldn’t have received external recognition for innovation, driven by diversity, without hiring differently, managing differently and working differently.

Diversity in the workplace is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business. And while the conversation on diversity often leads to gender, it goes beyond that. The more diverse teams are from different ages, experiences, interests and thought, the better the workplace experience for employees and outcomes for customers.

Workplace diversity innovation

The Diversity Council of Australia commissioned a study around diversity and inclusion in the Australian workforce, which found workers in inclusive teams are:

  • 11 times more likely to be effective than those in non-inclusive teams
  • 10 times more likely to be satisfied at work
  • 10 times more likely to be innovative

Diverse teams are inherently better at fostering a culture of innovation while, most importantly, safeguarding against the pitfalls of echo chambers. Echo chambers can create a culture of misinformation and misconstrue our perspectives, making it challenging to consider other viewpoints.

The pace of technological change has accelerated rapidly in recent years, transforming every aspect of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we work, learn, and entertain ourselves. Yet, for all its remarkable achievements, the technology sector still lags behind in diverse workforce representation.

Women remain unacceptably underrepresented in key leadership roles – as CEOs or in positions on boards, and just 27 per cent of Australia’s STEM workforce is comprised of female representation. Even more worryingly, fewer than 31 per cent of entrepreneurs are female.

Female Entrepreneurship Relies on a Strong Skill Set innovation

At PEXA, to unlock the full potential of our workforce and create technology that is more relevant, inclusive, and ground-breaking, we have focused on:

  • Nurturing interest in technology. This comes from investing from the start and creating an interest in technology from a younger age to create pathways for exposure to technology and its potential.
  • Building an inclusive culture and trust within teams to help individuals feel valued and heard.
  • Investing in and providing bespoke services to like-minded entrepreneurs and businesses that have an ambition to set the standard for how we buy or sell property.

As technology continues to play a central role in our lives, it is essential that the companies behind the solutions and services bring a range of outlooks and experiences to the table – representative of the user base they serve to increase relevance and reduce bias.

Each person is able to draw on their own experiences and translate these into innovative ideas. How could it be any other way?

I’m proud of PEXA’s diversity and inclusion motto, ‘Be You’. It perfectly encapsulates our mission and the undeniable need for everyone to bring their individual selves to work each day. It’s what makes a team a team. It’s what drives the bright ideas and the healthy culture we should all strive toward.

Innovation is the lifeblood of the technology industry, and it’s fuelled by fresh ideas and perspectives. It’s time to break free from the echo chambers to build a more diverse and inclusive technology industry that benefits everyone.

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