Intuit: Creating a culture of inclusion through innovation

Unfortunately, I’m a bit of an anomaly. I’ve built my career helping companies prepare for emerging technologies and trends. My research means that I’ve engaged at the early stages of development around self-driving cars, wearables and technologies like Amazon Echo — a field often dominated by men. But I was still surprised when a school-age family friend recently told me that the technology field was “too nerdy, boring, and not feminine enough.” I wondered how such a smart girl with a natural flare for math living in Silicon Valley could hold this stereotype about engineering and computer science.

Osmon showing concept integrations with Amazon Echo

Taking action with Tech Women @ Intuit

These stereotypes are what drive me to be an active member of the Tech Women @ Intuit (TWI) program. Through TWI, I support programs along with hundreds of my colleagues around the world to help attract, retain and promote women in technology roles. We are building the diversity pipeline for technologists through sponsorship of the Grace Hopper Celebration, Technovation, Girls Who Code and other programs. TWI also focuses on the career development of women in tech like me, with programs such as Intuit Circles, modeled after Lean In Circles and for my colleagues in India, Intuit Again, helping women in India return to the workforce. In addition, Intuit is a partner of the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and is a member of the Pacesetters program — all of which help TWI members share and learn best practices.

Through these efforts, today women make up over 29 percent of Intuit’s technical workforce in the U.S. and more than 27 percent globally, with goals of increasing both of those numbers. Across Intuit, women represent 38 percent of the global workforce, holding 46 percent of non-technical positions. They also hold 33 percent of Intuit’s leadership roles.

Led by a combination of employee volunteers and an executive board, TWI has made significant progress. Our leaders supply executive sponsorship knowing that everyone needs to be engaged in the process, and our volunteer members feel that this is a place where we can apply our passions and talents.

Involving everyone in innovation

For me, Intuit’s deep culture of innovation offers diverse employees unique opportunities. From my first day of orientation I learned Lean Startup practices — failing fast, rapid prototyping and driving for customer benefit were all encouraged. I was overjoyed that this company was so innovative. Every employee participated and that put us all on an exciting and equal playing field.

Osmon and team collaborating during a wearables hackathon

In this environment, Intuit’s employees of all job types — from HR to back-end engineering — work together to learn innovation and customer empathy practices like the Lean Startup method and Intuit’s own Design for Delight methodology — valuable lessons that they take with them throughout their career. Intuit treasures diversity and promotes inclusiveness, knowing that it fosters an environment where differences are valued and enriches the innovation process.