We owe it to the people we are designing for to build our teams to reflect those people. Don’t assume how a woman would behave in that situation. Get women to design it! Don’t assume how a black person would behave in a situation. Get black people to design it! Empathy isn’t enough. We need inclusion.
The scenarios described above are utopian. They work great as long as everyone behaves well. And by everyone, I mean everyone from the company founder to the person providing the service to the person using the service. But as Chekov once (maybe) said, if you introduce a person in act one they’ll probably turn into an asshole by act three. Services that rely on people are guaranteed to have assholes at every level of the supply chain. And while the ideas themselves may not be unethical, the execution of those ideas will have ample opportunity to come across both unethical and clueless designers.
So how do ideas, which start out helpful and by all measure ethically sound, turn into companies with the ethical charm of a decapitated horse head bleeding out onto your silk sheets? Easy. You introduce people. Even easier, you introduce people with a very narrow set of life experiences.