By Paula Goldman
Last month, Salesforce released our vision and strategy to take the next steps toward more ethical, inclusive, and accessible technology—what we call Intentional Innovation. For us, this isn’t about Salesforce; the future is bigger than any one company. It’s our job to walk the talk, but we also know this only works as a movement. Which is why we want to share what we’ve learned as we continue to grow alongside others who believe in a better future for tech.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, but we’re proud to share some of the insights that brought us here through our brand-new Build with Intention Toolkit. This guided collection of resources helps users identify ethical risks and drive opportunities to include and advocate for all people, especially those whose voices are often left out. This is a living resource—we’ll continuously make updates, adjustments, and additions to reflect the broad range of challenges and possibilities that inform the work our peers do every day. No matter where you are in your journey we hope that you’ll find valuable insights in our toolkit.
This kit is designed to accomplish two things. First, it establishes an entry point, a way to understand an organization’s work through a lens of ethics, accessibility, and inclusion. Second, it guides collaboration, creating structure for important conversations that include diverse perspectives.
To achieve these goals, we started with what worked best for us as we pursued our own journey. Resources like Consequence Scanning by Doteveryone and the EthicalOS Toolkit by Omidyar Network and the Institute for the Future were invaluable in building our own approach, and we adapted them based on real-world experiences in the business environment.
From there, we created a curated collection of interwoven tools, like our conversation guide, sample exercises and templates, such as an interactive Google Jamboard. All of these resources are structured to follow a coherent process that can take advocates from curiosity to active collaboration.
Who should use it?
It’s not hard to find people who care about building products that are more ethical, more inclusive, or more accessible. At many organizations, advocates for these issues are already in place—formally or informally—trying to make space for these kinds of advancements.
Where the challenge often comes is in knowing when to take concrete action. At Salesforce, our by-design approach emphasizes the value of having ethics and inclusion baked in from the conception of a product. You don’t have to wait for something to be built to evaluate its potential risks and benefits. In fact, doing so can cost quite a bit in reengineering to solve problems that could have been avoided in the first place.
That said, it’s also never too late to bring social impact issues into the process. There’s no cut-off point where a product can’t be improved, iterated, and refined to focus on creating the most benefit for the most people, with the least risk of harm. Anyone who works on technology can take advantage of our toolkit. And anyone can help us shape it moving forward.
When we set out to make this toolkit—and to embrace Intentional Innovation in general—we knew that it wasn’t a challenge that we could or should tackle alone. We also knew that one step forward is often the key to inspiring greater leaps than would ever be possible without it.
That’s why the Build with Intention Toolkit is as much an invitation as a prescription. It creates a framework for vital discussions, but those discussions will undoubtedly surface new, exciting, and vital insights that arc beyond the horizons we saw when building the kit’s first iteration.
I invite you to explore our resources. Use them in your everyday work and make space for ethics, accessibility, and inclusion wherever you can. Then, let us know what you learned. We’re committed to taking any and all feedback as we forge forward with the next chapter in the Salesforce story—and the one we share together.