The Circle of Trust

2-10 people

The Circle of Trust is a versatile tool that can be utilized by individuals and groups alike. By evaluating your circle of trust, which includes your closest confidants from various settings such as work, school, or other groups, you can determine the level of diversity within your trusted network. This tool is particularly useful in identifying any unconscious affinity bias.

Workshop steps


Understanding Unconscious Bias: Unconscious bias, or implicit bias, refers to the hidden attitudes and stereotypes that we unknowingly associate with certain individuals or groups, influencing how we interact and engage with them. Getting to Know Affinity Bias: Affinity bias, sometimes called similarity bias, describes our inclination to connect with people who have similar interests, experiences, and backgrounds as us. Action Plan: Step 1: Identify your top 5 "go-to" people in your workplace, school, or any other group. These are your inner circle members - the ones you trust and whose advice you value when making decisions.


After completing this step, simply draw 9 columns on a sheet of paper.


First, list your five trusted names in the initial column. Next, create additional columns for: Gender, Sexual Orientation, Race/Ethnicity, Age, Education Level, Nationality, Ableness, and Native Language.


First, put a checkmark [x] in the first column labeled "gender." Then, check off everyone who identifies as the same gender as you.


Proceed in the same manner for all columns: for example, "if you identify as heterosexual and so do the people you trust, then place an [x] throughout that entire column."


Reflect and Take Action After completing the exercise, encourage participants to reflect on their circle without sharing specific details. Focus on the thoughts that arise from their results. - Consider if your trusted circle consists mostly of people of the same gender, age, race, education level, or nationality as you. - Use the exercise results to spark reflection or open discussion. Some reflection questions to ask: - How diverse is your circle of trust? - What steps can you take to diversify your inner circle of confidants? - In terms of business strategy, how can embracing diverse perspectives impact: - Customer empathy? - Worldview of markets? - Potential customers? - Opportunities? - Possibilities? - Anything else? Often, our closest advisors and confidants unconsciously mirror ourselves. For instance, if religion is important to us, we may trust others of the same religion due to shared values. This can also apply to gender, age, etc. By expanding our circle of trust to include those who don't mirror ourselves, we can create a more inclusive and diverse environment.


Facilitation Reminder For this activity, ensure a facilitator is present to guide the final reflection process.


Discover more about Unconscious Bias with these easy-to-follow resources: 1. 2. Determine your most likely biases by taking Harvard's Implicit Association Test. This will help you identify your individual perceptions influenced by unconscious biases. With this knowledge, you can actively work on addressing them personally.

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Anna Lundqvist
UX Designer and AI Ethics Strategist guiding innovative product development and educational workshops
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Eddy Salzmann
Design lead and team culture enthusiast driving products and design processes
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Ola Möller
Founder of MethodKit who has a passion for organisations and seeing the big picture
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