Embracing & Celebrating Diversity Dimensions: The Iceberg Illustration

October is Global Diversity Month—a time set aside to learn, recognize, and celebrate the diversity dimensions and identities in ourselves and others. By the nature of our work at Think Up, we rely on diverse ideas and opinions and unconventional thinking from our team to develop high-quality, creative solutions for our clients. Every Thinker is different, and we like it that way. Each member of our team has a unique blend of skillsets, talents, and lived experiences that enable us to think through solutions from different angles and perspectives. This diversity makes us a stronger, more innovative team.

Diversity of Thought, Skill, and Culture has always been one of Think Up’s core values, and we seek to live this out in all spheres and dimensions of diversity—including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, personality, physical ability, religious and political affiliation, and beyond. In 2019, we were honored to be recognized with the Diversity Leadership Award by Top Workplaces South Carolina, and in 2020, we were nationally certified as a LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE). We are passionate about striving for diversity in our organization and helping our clients along on their journeys.

Part of our efforts include a dedicated internal team focused on growing and maintaining current knowledge of the evolving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) landscape. DEIB is sometimes expressed as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI), or a similar acronym. At Think Up, we intentionally choose to include Belonging because we see it as an output of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Belonging is a feeling that is created through purposeful acts of inclusion that show every team member’s whole, authentic self is not only welcomed but celebrated.

To foster Belonging, we have found it’s helpful to illustrate and start conversations about the multiple identities and diversity dimensions that can comprise an individual’s whole self. Enter: the iceberg illustration.


Note: the populated iceberg above is only intended to be an example and is not meant to limit or provide a comprehensive list of identities or diversity dimensions a person may have.


Think of diversity like an iceberg. Only a small portion of things that make up a person’s identity is visible or above the waterline (e.g., race, gender), while most of what shapes us lies beneath the surface. The diversity dimensions below the waterline are only discoverable through meaningful conversations. Thinking about diversity dimensions in this way enables team members to consider how their own dimensions impact their thoughts, feelings, and values, and why it is important to know themselves and others well. We’ve used the iceberg illustration activity internally and with clients as part of the DEIB journey of discovery and continuous learning.


Diverse and inclusive organizations net many benefits, including greater innovation and creativity, higher employee engagement, and better financial performance. When team members can live and work as their whole, authentic selves, they can fully leverage their lived experiences and diverse perspectives. Creating a safe space for team members to be themselves can benefit not only your organization but your community. Join us in celebrating Global Diversity Month by using the iceberg illustration to start conversations with your team.


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