Star Trek: Voyager 
A Model for a More Inclusive 
Community 
2014 Fox Valley Drupal Camp 
September 20, 2014 
bit.ly/voyag...
Fredric 
@fredricmitchell 
• Unabashedly an engineer 
• Efficiency over everything 
• Senior Dev @Phase2 
• Continuously s...
What 
@fredricmitchell
What We’re Talking About 
• Journey to a better experience (User and Developer) 
• The allegory of Star Trek: Voyager and ...
Talent hits a target that no one else can hit; 
genius hits a target no one else can see. 
“ ” 
Arthur Schopenhauer 
Germa...
Superheroes love the journey 
@fredricmitchell
Software is Hard 
@fredricmitchell
Star Trek: Voyager 
@fredricmitchell 
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/Ujnm5g
[A great show] has to teach you how to 
“ watch it. 
” 
Alan Sepinwall 
TV Critic 
@fredricmitchell
Captain Janeway 
@fredricmitchell 
• First female captain 
• Bullheaded, simultaneously 
dogmatic and impulsive 
• Melded ...
The Janeway 
@fredricmitchell 
“Keep your shirt tucked in; go down with the ship; and 
never abandon a member of your crew...
Am I open to 
unorthodoxy? 
@fredricmitchell
Tuvok 
@fredricmitchell 
• Black Vulcan 
• Calm, logical, and expert botanist 
• Keeps the peace through his 
wisdom, expe...
It’s not easy 
“On the contrary, the demands on a Vulcan's character 
are extraordinarily difficult. Do not mistake compos...
Is logic guiding my 
decisions? 
@fredricmitchell
B’Elanna Torres 
@fredricmitchell 
• Half Hispanic Human and Klingon 
• Chief Engineer 
• Tough, knowledgeable and 
indepe...
@fredricmitchell 
Hidden Potential 
“If I sprain my ankle, at least I feel something […] I'm not 
trying to kill myself! I...
How am I evaluating 
talent? 
@fredricmitchell
Seven-of-Nine 
@fredricmitchell 
• Former assimilated Borg 
• Forced to adapt after separating 
from the collective 
• Log...
Signal to Noise 
“But that is irrelevant.” 
@fredricmitchell
@fredricmitchell 
What are the facts?
Math. Science. 
@fredricmitchell
@fredricmitchell 
Emotional Intelligence of Groups 
• Source (HBR): bit.ly/ei-hbr-2001 
• Teams who develop greater emotio...
Women are Key to Smart Teams 
@fredricmitchell 
• Published in HBR 2011: bit.ly/women-hbr-2011 
• Little correlation betwe...
What do you hear about great groups? 
Not that the members are all really 
smart, but that they listen to each other. 
“ ”...
Points of Clarification 
• Emotional Intelligence != Being Emotional 
• Men can have high EQ 
• Correlation and Probabilit...
The Difference 
@fredricmitchell 
• Scott Page 
• Professor of Complex Systems, 
Political Science, and Economics 
• Publi...
Perspective, Heuristics 
• Perspective 
• How one looks at a 
problem 
• Heuristic 
• Tells a person where to 
search for ...
Diversity Trumps Ability 
Conditions 
1. The problem must be hard 
2. Each solver has a local optima to the problem 
3. An...
Problem solvers with diverse 
perspectives may have trouble 
“ understanding solutions identified by 
” 
other agents. 
Sc...
And thus, EQ comes 
full circle 
@fredricmitchell
Star Trek: Voyager 
@fredricmitchell 
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/Ujnm5g
@fredricmitchell 
So, what can I do?
Get off the 
‘its a pipeline 
problem’ 
@fredricmitchell
Who is the 
the ‘most qualified’ 
candidate? 
@fredricmitchell
Keys to Live By 
• Be an ally 
• Recognize my privilege 
• Remember the science!! 
• Stay bold in the compound interest of...
@fredricmitchell 
How great can our 
community be?
How will I help get us 
‘home’? 
@fredricmitchell
Sources 
Diversity Articles 
Groups are smarter with women - http://hbr.org/2011/06/defend-your-research-what-makes-a-team...
@fredricmitchell 
Thanks for Listening 
bit.ly/voyager-inclusive 
! 
2014 Fox Valley Drupal Camp 
September 20, 2014
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Star Trek Voyager: A Model for a More Inclusive Community

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Audio: https://soundcloud.com/fredric-mitchell/star-trek-voyager-a-model-for-a-more-inclusive-community

The greatest asset of open source software is the ability to fork and improve. When it comes to our community’s culture, could we be better?

I know we can, and Star Trek: Voyager gives us our blueprint.

This talk explores the principles surrounding Gene Rodenberry’s creation and how we can craft a culture of inclusiveness and diversity to achieve even more.

We'll use scientific studies, research, and mathematical models to prove the idea of diverse collective intelligence over individual intelligence within a group.

We’ll explore the ground-breaking symbolism of characters like Captain Janeway, Lieutenant Tuvok and Seven of Nine.

Learning Objectives & Outcomes:
We’ll also get into reasons why the show was successful and how we can adapt those principles to our own work and open source communities.
What is the significance of casting the first female captain?
How did their collective intelligence as a diverse group supersede their individual intelligence?
How were they perceived within their communities given their backgrounds and interests?
Did their unique points of view add value to the overall narrative?
What can we learn about assessing value, both short-term and long-term?
Why was diversity important to their ultimate goal of finding home?

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Star Trek Voyager: A Model for a More Inclusive Community

  1. 1. Star Trek: Voyager A Model for a More Inclusive Community 2014 Fox Valley Drupal Camp September 20, 2014 bit.ly/voyager-inclusive @fredricmitchell
  2. 2. Fredric @fredricmitchell • Unabashedly an engineer • Efficiency over everything • Senior Dev @Phase2 • Continuously striving to do better
  3. 3. What @fredricmitchell
  4. 4. What We’re Talking About • Journey to a better experience (User and Developer) • The allegory of Star Trek: Voyager and it’s characters • Context and Blind Spots • The Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem @fredricmitchell
  5. 5. Talent hits a target that no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see. “ ” Arthur Schopenhauer German Philosopher @fredricmitchell
  6. 6. Superheroes love the journey @fredricmitchell
  7. 7. Software is Hard @fredricmitchell
  8. 8. Star Trek: Voyager @fredricmitchell Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/Ujnm5g
  9. 9. [A great show] has to teach you how to “ watch it. ” Alan Sepinwall TV Critic @fredricmitchell
  10. 10. Captain Janeway @fredricmitchell • First female captain • Bullheaded, simultaneously dogmatic and impulsive • Melded together a dynamic crew, including Maquis rebels Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1pxAYEL
  11. 11. The Janeway @fredricmitchell “Keep your shirt tucked in; go down with the ship; and never abandon a member of your crew.”
  12. 12. Am I open to unorthodoxy? @fredricmitchell
  13. 13. Tuvok @fredricmitchell • Black Vulcan • Calm, logical, and expert botanist • Keeps the peace through his wisdom, experience, and vitality Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1mrGYLB
  14. 14. It’s not easy “On the contrary, the demands on a Vulcan's character are extraordinarily difficult. Do not mistake composure for ease.”
  15. 15. Is logic guiding my decisions? @fredricmitchell
  16. 16. B’Elanna Torres @fredricmitchell • Half Hispanic Human and Klingon • Chief Engineer • Tough, knowledgeable and independent • Brash, bold, and extremely complex Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1sDE4ct
  17. 17. @fredricmitchell Hidden Potential “If I sprain my ankle, at least I feel something […] I'm not trying to kill myself! I'm trying to see if I'm still alive.”
  18. 18. How am I evaluating talent? @fredricmitchell
  19. 19. Seven-of-Nine @fredricmitchell • Former assimilated Borg • Forced to adapt after separating from the collective • Logical, pensive, and extremely blunt • Lightning rod Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1AZrhVT
  20. 20. Signal to Noise “But that is irrelevant.” @fredricmitchell
  21. 21. @fredricmitchell What are the facts?
  22. 22. Math. Science. @fredricmitchell
  23. 23. @fredricmitchell Emotional Intelligence of Groups • Source (HBR): bit.ly/ei-hbr-2001 • Teams who develop greater emotional intelligence (EQ) boost their overall performance • EQ: Trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy • At the heart of these three conditions are emotions, like the ability to listen
  24. 24. Women are Key to Smart Teams @fredricmitchell • Published in HBR 2011: bit.ly/women-hbr-2011 • Little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members • If a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.
  25. 25. What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart, but that they listen to each other. “ ” Anita Wooley Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon @fredricmitchell
  26. 26. Points of Clarification • Emotional Intelligence != Being Emotional • Men can have high EQ • Correlation and Probability are implied • Gender is not limited to two choices @fredricmitchell
  27. 27. The Difference @fredricmitchell • Scott Page • Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics • Published 2007 • bit.ly/scottpage-difference
  28. 28. Perspective, Heuristics • Perspective • How one looks at a problem • Heuristic • Tells a person where to search for a solution @fredricmitchell
  29. 29. Diversity Trumps Ability Conditions 1. The problem must be hard 2. Each solver has a local optima to the problem 3. An improvement can be made to a non-optimal solution 4. Large pool of solvers to form a decent-size collection Proof The context of perspective and heuristics are key http://bit.ly/div-v-ability @fredricmitchell
  30. 30. Problem solvers with diverse perspectives may have trouble “ understanding solutions identified by ” other agents. Scott Page Professor at Univ. of Michigan @fredricmitchell
  31. 31. And thus, EQ comes full circle @fredricmitchell
  32. 32. Star Trek: Voyager @fredricmitchell Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/Ujnm5g
  33. 33. @fredricmitchell So, what can I do?
  34. 34. Get off the ‘its a pipeline problem’ @fredricmitchell
  35. 35. Who is the the ‘most qualified’ candidate? @fredricmitchell
  36. 36. Keys to Live By • Be an ally • Recognize my privilege • Remember the science!! • Stay bold in the compound interest of action • Strive for maximum group collective intelligence @fredricmitchell
  37. 37. @fredricmitchell How great can our community be?
  38. 38. How will I help get us ‘home’? @fredricmitchell
  39. 39. Sources Diversity Articles Groups are smarter with women - http://hbr.org/2011/06/defend-your-research-what-makes-a-team-smarter-more-women/ar/1 EQ (HBR link) - http://www.mindsetmatters.com.au/Portals/0/dox/building%20emotional%20intelligence%20of%20groups.pdf Group Intelligence Correlates More with Social Aptitude than IQ - http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/10/collective-intelligence-and-th/ Being an Ally as a Person with Privilege - http://www.scn.org/friends/ally.html Risk of Speaking Up - http://www.ashedryden.com/the-risk-in-speaking-up 21st Century Talent Spotting: Potential Trumps Brains, experience, and competencies - http://www.egonzehnder.com/files/_b_77ddd4d.pdf Mathematical Model of Diversity - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/08/science/08conv.html Scott Page: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Schools, Societies - http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~spage/ thedifference_content.html Diversity Trumps Ability - http://www.crowdsourcing.com/cs/2008/05/chapter-6-the-m.html Scott Page Research - http://www.pnas.org/content/101/46/16385.full Voyager Articles http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/now-voyager-the-least-beloved-star-trek-offered-some-of-the-franchises-strongest-feminist-messages http://www.startrek.com/page/star-trek-voyager @fredricmitchell
  40. 40. @fredricmitchell Thanks for Listening bit.ly/voyager-inclusive ! 2014 Fox Valley Drupal Camp September 20, 2014
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