You know Lenovo from the laptops. We got a chance to speak to Ada Lopez. She is Senior Manager Global Product Diversity Office and thus ensures that by focusing on diversity in teams and products, products reach their full potential. This is how they do it at Lenovo, according to this TechGirl of the Week.
The goal of the Product Diversity Office is to minimize bias within the technology. You want a broad customer group to eventually use the tech, and you can help achieve that by taking inclusiveness into account. Ada: “When we make products, we think about the teams that make those products. How does the composition of such a team affect the technology and ultimately the people who use it?”
Make an impact
Ada enjoys her job very much. “What drives me to do my job every day is that we think about the impact our devices have on people and how we can make it an experience that suits everyone. Everyone has a computer at home: we want to ensure that those devices have good, inclusive intentions.” An example of a product that could be made more inclusive is a software product that is standard on Lenovo laptops for video conferencing.
“If you use Zoom, you can adjust your background, but also your face. We thought something like this could improve the experience for all users. But, is it so positive that you can also adjust your face. How is that received? We did a survey of 400 people and it turned out that the majority of the female respondents actually appreciated the software because they don’t always have time to get their face ‘camera ready’, while they are busy balancing their private life and work. For some women, the tool even helped them become more self-confident because they focus less on how they look, whether or not certain scars or pigment spots are visible.”
Diversity by Design
All products made at Lenovo have to go through the ‘Diversity by Design’ department, “It started in 2019, but launched in 2020. We are present in more and more Lenovo projects and want to add other Lenovo companies in the long term to this system, like Motorola.” In addition, the team also focuses on artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence is a high-risk technology. It just cannot be gender-proof, which is why such a diversity department is so important. We always make sure that someone else looks at the technology before anything happens to it. Our task force includes people from HR, UX, compliance and more, all to ensure there is representation from across the company.”
If it is looked at and there is a concern about diversity, it will be presented to the board and the developers may have some questions and additional work to ensure that the product can still be made more diverse. Sometimes the software is tested for diversity and we look together at how we can fix something. 75 percent of the projects in 2025 must have passed through our diversity office. Workshops, training courses and presentations are given to make people in the company more aware of the department, but also diversity in general. Employees are also called upon to share their ideas about diversity solutions within software.”
Of course, it’s not always fun for developers to go back to the drawing board if their product doesn’t quite meet all facets of inclusion, but it’s all for a good cause, says Ada. “Developers have a lot of empathy for the customers, so they like to make it better than it was before.” Ada herself stays abreast of developments in the field of inclusivity by reading the news. “But we are also affiliated with professional organizations and we have many different partnerships from Lenovo to share best practices.”
“As a diversity department, we are so important when it comes to artificial intelligence, wearables, voice recognition and more”
“I can’t imagine Lenovo without us. We as a diversity department are so important when it comes to artificial intelligence, wearables, voice recognition and more. If you don’t have a diversity department, you run a real risk as an organization. And it’s so important to keep learning. I also recommend that to other women in tech: have guts, keep learning and be assured of yourself: you know what you know, propagate that too.”
About TechGirl of the Month:
Every month we interview women in tech. We do this because we think it is important that women are seen and heard. Only 16 percent of people in the Dutch tech business are women. If we want to use technology, we have to make sure that it is made by an inclusive group of people who look at the product or app from different angles. No bias, but a product or service for and by everyone. But also: a working area in which everyone feels welcome. This is one of the reasons why these interviews are so important. Show that it can be done differently. And perhaps: show that things have to be done differently.