Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Ryerson Diversity Institute brings together academic partners, government, private sector, and community partners to utilize a systems approach to inclusive innovation.
• How can donors fund this type of innovation in higher education?
• Read about designing inclusive cities.
Universities are a critical part of innovation ecosystems, but most measures of innovation assess their impacts in terms of doctoral students, scientific publications, patents, and the commercialization of technology. Why should we neglect the potential of universities to create value through social innovation? The UN Sustainable Development Goals—sometimes called “the world’s to-do list”—include gender equality and human rights, which, in turn, are linked to many of the other goals. By harnessing research and human capital towards inclusive innovation, universities have the potential to drive massive advances in social, economic, and environmental development.
At Ryerson University, the Diversity Institute (DI) works in partnership with diverse stakeholders to use research, deep knowledge of innovation processes, and talent to advance diversity and inclusion in employment, politics, health, education, and community. Since 1999, the DI has advanced practical strategies to drive change, for example, by shedding light on barriers faced by diverse groups (considered a “best practice” by the Ontario Human Rights Commission) and developing evidence-based solutions to drive change. The United Nations Global Compact named DI a best practice among business schools for its work translating research into action to leverage innovation processes to drive inclusion.
Working with other academic partners, government, private sector, and community partners, DI uses a systems approach to address barriers for underrepresented groups and, in turn, to improve social outcomes and support economic growth. Informed by the Critical Ecological Model, the organization focuses on understanding societal, organizational and individual factors that create systemic inequality in order to develop, apply, and evaluate innovative approaches to advancing inclusion.
This analysis informs the work to address barriers at the societal, organizational, and individual level.
Read the full article about inclusive innovation by Wendy Cukier & Erica Wright at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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