Engineer Inclusion

Navigating the Depths of Feedback: A Fresh Sea-Inspired Approach

In our quest to enhance communication and foster inclusivity, we dive into the sea of feedback, unveiling a novel, ocean-inspired approach. This method, drawing inspiration from the depths and dynamics of the ocean, aims to enrich the art of feedback, making it more engaging, inclusive, and effective.

In the vast ocean of human interaction, feedback is a navigational tool essential for growth and learning. Building upon the foundation laid in our previous blog post, “How to Plan Feedback (By Prioritizing Inclusion)“, we explore a novel approach to crafting and delivering feedback. This new method draws inspiration from the sea, offering a refreshing perspective on feedback that not only fosters inclusion but also enhances self-efficacy and psychological safety.

types of feedback ocean themed

Types of Feedback

scuba diver


Just like a scuba diver explores the unseen depths of the ocean, “Deep Dive Queries” encourage a thorough exploration of ideas and concepts. This type of feedback is about asking probing questions that delve beneath the surface, seeking to uncover the hidden layers of thoughts and motivations. It aligns with the initial step of establishing your purpose in giving feedback. By asking deep, exploratory questions, you ensure that your feedback is grounded in a clear understanding of the context and the specific facts at hand.

Practical Application

Use Deep Dive Queries to encourage self-reflection and deeper insight. For instance, after confirming the readiness of the receiver, you might ask, "What led you to this approach, and how does it align with our broader objectives?"


Feedback that draws parallels and explores relationships, much like the interconnected currents of the ocean, is vital in recognizing and valuing multiple ways of knowing and doing. “Current Connections” feedback looks for links between ideas, actions, and outcomes, highlighting how individual contributions fit into the larger picture. It mirrors the step of analyzing your filter, encouraging an appreciation of diverse perspectives and acknowledging how different viewpoints can interconnect to form a more comprehensive understanding.

Practical Application

When crafting your feedback, link the individual's efforts to the collective goals. For example, "Your approach to this project creates a ripple effect, enhancing our team's collaborative efforts."

beach with palms


“Sunny Shores” feedback, as comforting and positive as a day at the beach, is about nurturing and supporting growth. It aligns with crafting feedback that is specific, actionable, and growth-minded. This type of feedback praises the process and effort, fostering a growth mindset and implying confidence in the receiver’s ability to achieve their goals.

Practical Application

Offer warm feedback that acknowledges effort and progress. For example, "I appreciate how you've embraced these challenges; your perseverance is leading to significant improvements."



Finally, “Navigational Nudges” are akin to adjusting a course at sea. This feedback provides constructive guidance and thoughtful redirection, essential for minimizing power dynamics and promoting an inclusive environment. It reflects the final stage of preparing your approach, ensuring that feedback is respectful, informative, and checks for understanding.

Practical Application

Use cool feedback to gently guide and suggest alternatives. For instance, "Have you considered exploring this avenue? It might align more closely with our shared goals."

Incorporating these ocean-inspired feedback types into your practice not only makes the process more engaging and memorable but also aligns with the principles of inclusivity, self-efficacy, and a growth mindset. By adopting this approach, you ensure that your feedback is not only effective but also fosters an environment of continuous learning and mutual respect, much like the diverse and interconnected ecosystem of the ocean.

Case Study

Effective Use of Themed Feedback in a Diverse Team Setting


Imagine a scenario in a multinational corporation, Acme Corp, which prides itself on its diverse workforce and inclusive culture. The project team, composed of individuals from various cultural, professional, and personal backgrounds, is working on developing a new marketing strategy. The team leader, Jordan, is mindful of the principles outlined in “How to Plan Feedback (By Prioritizing Inclusion)” and decides to incorporate the ocean-themed feedback approach to enhance communication and inclusivity.


During a critical phase of the project, Jordan observes various dynamics and recognizes opportunities to apply different types of feedback:

scuba diverScuba Diver – Deep Dive Queries:

Context: A team member, Alex, presents an innovative but complex idea. However, the idea’s alignment with the project’s goals is unclear.

Application: Jordan uses Deep Dive Queries to explore Alex’s idea further. He asks, “Alex, what inspired this concept, and how do you see it fitting into our overall strategy?”

Outcome: Alex elaborates on the idea, providing clarity and revealing its potential benefits. The team gains a deeper understanding and appreciates the innovation.

Current Connections:

Context: Maya, another team member, proposes a strategy that seems disconnected from the project’s main objectives.

Application: Jordan employs Current Connections feedback to help Maya see how her strategy could integrate with the project. He remarks, “Maya, your strategy’s focus on customer engagement links well with our goal of enhancing user experience. How can we further align it with our core objectives?”

Outcome: Maya adjusts her strategy to better complement the project’s goals, fostering a sense of cohesion within the team.

beach with palmsSunny Shores – Warm Feedback:

Context: The team successfully completes a critical milestone ahead of schedule.

Application: Jordan provides Sunny Shores feedback to celebrate this achievement. He says, “Team, your collaborative effort in achieving this milestone exemplifies our commitment to innovation and excellence.”

Outcome: The team feels motivated and appreciated, boosting morale and reinforcing their commitment to the project.

compassNavigational Nudges – Cool Feedback:

Context: The team encounters a setback due to a miscommunication about deadlines.

Application: Jordan uses Navigational Nudges to address the issue constructively. He suggests, “Let’s refine our communication process to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding timelines. What tools or methods could we implement?”

Outcome: The team collaborates to develop a more effective communication strategy, learning from the setback and strengthening their approach to future challenges.

Case Study Conclusion

In this case, Jordan’s application of the ocean-themed feedback types, inspired by the principles of inclusivity and effective communication, leads to several positive outcomes. The team navigates through complex ideas with clarity (Deep Dive Queries), aligns individual contributions with collective goals (Current Connections), celebrates successes (Sunny Shores), and constructively addresses challenges (Navigational Nudges). By tailoring his feedback to the situation and the needs of his diverse team, Jordan fosters an environment of mutual respect, continuous learning, and inclusive collaboration, ultimately contributing to the successful advancement of the project.

This case study exemplifies how thematic feedback, when thoughtfully applied in tandem with inclusive feedback planning, can significantly enhance team dynamics and project outcomes in a diverse workplace.

Dive into the World of Inclusive Feedback

Are you ready to navigate the transformative seas of feedback in your team or organization? We invite you to embrace these ocean-themed feedback techniques and embark on a journey of inclusive, effective communication. Share your experiences and insights with us by commenting below, or join our online community to exchange ideas and learn from others who are also charting these waters. Let’s create waves of positive change together!

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Meagan Pollock, PhD

Dr. Meagan Pollock envisions a world where personal and social circumstances are not obstacles to achieving potential, and where kindness, inclusivity, and conservation prevail.

An international speaker, teacher, engineer, and equity leader, her mission is to provide services, tools, and resources that inspire awareness and initiate action.

As an engineer turned educator, Meagan Pollock is focused on engineering equity into education and the workforce.

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