The metaverse will offer new opportunities for the way we work and play, how we interact with brands, and much more. Companies planning to participate in the metaverse have an opportunity to remedy some of the mistakes of Web 2.0 and a responsibility to shape an inclusive space where everyone feels represented and that they belong. Three strategies, rooted in the 10 principles of the design justice network, offer a path of how we can get from here to there: 1) Assess the diversity at your table; 2) Frame the problem you’re trying to solve; and 3) Listen and probe with empathy.

The metaverse is full of promise. People are hopeful that this shared, interactive, immersive, and hyper-realistic virtual space will revolutionize the internet. Goldman Sachs has estimated that the metaverse could ultimately be an $8 trillion opportunity.

One particular promise of the metaverse is that it offers an opportunity to remedy some of the mistakes of Web 2.0 — in particular the failure of social media platforms to safeguard and protect marginalized and underrepresented people from hateful behavior online.

As we create the next iteration of the internet, the stakes are too high to exclude diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from the conversation.

There’s been some progress in this regard. In May, the World Economic Forum, alongside a number of partners, including Meta, Sony, Microsoft, LEGO, and others, announced an initiative to develop and share actionable strategies “to create an ethical and inclusive metaverse.”

A recent example shows what an inclusive metaverse could look like. In April 2022, the deodorant company Degree partnered with Decentraland to host an inclusive virtual marathon. The company partnered with disability, race, and gender experts to advise on the design elements for participants’ avatar
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