October 19, 2022

Google’s Annie Jean-Baptiste Is On A Mission To Make Product Inclusion And Equity A Critical Part Of Tech

Annie Jean-Baptiste, head of product inclusion and equity at Google, is on a mission to make product inclusion and equity a critical part of tech.

Who is Annie Jean-Baptiste? 

After 10 years at Google, Jean-Baptiste now leads the diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI) team, pushing the tech giant to take marginalized users into account when building its products. 

According to Jean-Baptiste, the idea to focus on product inclusion came about after she noticed that many things like culture and representation were internally important but were forgotten about when designing new products. 

The DEI team at Google stepped up to expand how the organization discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure billions of users of different genders and races could benefit from using the products. 

“We started to think through what it would look like if we began to ask, “Who else needs to be included in the product development process? Who else’s perspectives do we need?” Jean-Baptiste said in an interview with McKinsey. 

“That kicked off a few projects, and now we have a full-fledged team of people across Google working on product inclusion and equity.” 

What does product inclusion and equity mean? 

Product inclusion and equity is the idea that people pick a product or service they feel they can connect to. Users want to feel that the tech products they use daily were created with them in mind. 

They want to feel they were considered in the design and development process, which further amplifies the idea that technology needs to strengthen the lives of communities and society. 

“There’s been a lot of vulnerability and accountability, frankly, around making sure that people have inclusive and equitable experiences across the board in everything they do,” added Jean-Baptiste. 

Jean-Baptiste’s mission is to make product teams focus on product inclusion and equity when building and designing the products we use in our everyday lives. 

According to the DEI leader, the most important thing to understand is that products for historically marginalized communities will create a better outcome for everyone. 

“At the core is thinking about who your user could and should be. It’s not about completely doing away with the target customer or user you have initially focused on, but widening the pool.”

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.