Amazon Director of Consumer Retail Fiona McDonnell shares how companies can boost innovation in tech through employing diverse teams

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Amazon Director believes diverse teams help boost tech innovation

 July 25, 2019

Fiona McDonnell is Director of Consumer Retail at Amazon and also leads the drive for greater diversity across the business. She discussed with King's College London how companies can fill the talent shortage in tech and boost innovation, performance and profitability by employing diverse teams.

Diversity of experience and perspective is the source of real innovation 

Fiona wants UK businesses to quicken the journey towards gender equality in UK innovation by further increasing the number of women in tech.

"Today we are at an important moment in history where diversity and inclusion is now being realised as a necessity for business success – not just a 'nice-to-have'. The research is there: diverse teams perform better, innovate faster and ultimately deliver right down to the bottom line. But ultimately, this is about doing the right thing and making sure that women and girls are given the same opportunity to thrive in these important careers," explains Fiona.

"Diversity is not just who you are, where you’re from or your orientations: it is the contributions you bring. A balanced team of diverse people brings a wealth of experience and perspective. This is the source of real innovation."

Amazon's WISE partnership and Amplify programme helps diversify STEM

Fiona explains that Amazon is driven by innovation and the need to hiring and develop the best talent. Amazon also knows that diversity drives better innovation, which  is a key source of economic growth.

"That’s why we partnered with WISE to help create a roadmap to increase the number of women working in STEM roles. WISE research showed that women make up 23% of STEM occupations across the UK, but falling to only 15% of management roles," adds Fiona. "Together, we used new research to better understand the barriers and challenges to boosting female representation in the UK’s innovation economy, especially as the industry is severely underperforming in terms of senior female leadership."

Amazon diversity inclusion innovation

"The bottom line is that lack of diversity is holding back business’ progress: our research with WISE shows that increasing the number of women in STEM could add £3bn to the UK economy, so there is a material commercial benefit as well as being the right thing to do."

"At Amazon, we looked at the areas where we needed to do more. To drive change and ensure that more women are empowered to pursue and progress, equipping individuals with skills is again just a piece of the challenge. We need to think about organisational context as we set up to change things too, so we launched Amazon Amplify – a UK wide new programme, designed to increase the number of women in technology and innovation roles across our business and help inspire the next generation of female innovators."

Investment delivers direct, positive impact on innovation economy 

Fiona calls for companies to recognise the need to embrace diversity to create future success.

"By embracing diversity and making it common-place in company culture, the benefits will naturally follow. We should be confident that the investment will deliver a direct, positive impact for innovation, as well as business performance and profitability," she says.

"Together, however, I do believe we can level the playing field between men and women in the workplace and make a significant difference for the future trajectory of our innovation economy at what is undoubtedly a pivotal time in our history."

Join women leading the future of diversity like Fiona at Amazon

Amazon is a pioneering company that values diversity of perspective, thought and experience. Thanks to its diverse teams, it is bringing innovative ideas and developments to the tech industry.

If you want to be involved in Amazon's exciting growth, search and apply for jobs today.


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