What is Unconscious Bias?

“Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences”

If, like us, you are finding this is a subject that is trending right now and you need to run a workshop on it but don’t want it to be threatening and judgmental. Here are 3 powerful activities that we have researched and tried out and they worked brilliantly.

No 1 – The trusted 10

This is so good to get people thinking in a safe way. You need to prepare a handout with the following: –

Column 1 – Trusted 10
Column 2 – Gender
Column 3 – Age
Column 4 – Ethnicity
Column 5 – Education
Column 6 – Sexual orientation
Column 7 – Disability
Column 8 – Other

You then fold over all the columns except the trusted 10 part and ask participants to write down 10 people they really trust that are not family. Once everyone finishes they can unfold the paper and mark each of the trusted 10 against each area in any way they want. Tell them they don’t have to share anything specific if they don’t want to, but hold a discussion around what they learned about whom they have an affinity with and why.

If you want to know more about how to run this exercise watch this video


No 2 Café society

Write on each flip chart one of the bias below or any others you want to cover

Beauty bias
Gender bias
Affinity bias
Conformity bias

Split your participants into small groups and put a group at flip chart, give them 3 minutes at each one, ask they to make comments around what this bias might look like and any strategies to avoid it. After 3 minutes ask them to move around clockwise to the next one and add to it, Repeat this until everyone as contributed to each bias. Ask them to go back to their original flip chart and give them a few minutes to summerise their bias and ask them to do this to the group one at a time.

If you want to know more about the bias, this is a link to a great blog


No 3 – Royal Society Video

Finally this is a really great video by the Royal society and well worth showing as it sums it all up in a fun and entertaining way