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14 Nov. 2016 | Comments (0)

Join us for our upcoming conference, Diversity and Inclusion: Design the Future of Your Practice, from December 1-2, 2016 and learn to develop forward-thinking insights and positive disruptions to catalyze diversity and inclusion innovations within your organization.


The evolution of the field of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has been bumpy. Recognizable successes are balanced with notable setbacks, best practices are compared with less than best results, and progress is weighed against stakeholders’ unfulfilled needs. Questioning the value of D&I, some organizations are reducing resources and demoting D&I leadership to lower levels.

Within this environment, contemporary D&I leaders are challenged to be innovators, adept at designing fresh approaches that overcome sticky problems and deliver the full value of D&I. Leaders at the forefront of our field know that an environment that actively fosters the inclusion of diverse identities, thoughts, viewpoints, and experiences can be a valuable source for this much needed innovation. They know that the creativity unleashed by a coming together of difference can not only enable novel products, services, and solutions for organizations, but also produce critical breakthroughs in the practice of D&I itself.

Although the need to design fresh strategies to advance D&I processes and outcomes has become increasingly clear, the development and engagement of innovation-specific competencies for D&I leaders is not yet universally encouraged as a core part of our role. In fact, many organizations still constrain the practice of D&I by narrowing the work to traditional roles and conventional approaches that yield improved, yet insufficient outcomes.

As demand for innovation grows, however, some D&I leaders are breaking free of these constraints as they seek opportunities to move beyond familiar terrain and push the boundaries of their roles and impact. Within their organizations, these leaders are exploring ways to boost innovation in their D&I strategies by engaging co-creation across functions, sectors, identities, and perspectives. These efforts include employing D&I Innovation Labs where teams can ignite the creativity pivotal to designing new approaches to amplify inclusion, advance D&I metrics, elevate Employee/ Business Resource Groups, design new D&I technologies, create experiential D&I learning programs, upgrade acquisition integrations, discover profitable consumer products for untapped market segments, and more.

Some D&I leaders are also seeking opportunities for co-creation beyond the walls of their own organizations. Embracing the possibility of positive disruption through collaboration, as inspired by innovation experts like Michael Docherty, these leaders are exploring ways to work with colleagues in their organizations and beyond to gain new perspectives on shared challenges. Tapping into the collective wisdom of a broader mix of collaborators, they seek to harness combined creativity to co-create ideas and co-design new approaches, gain competence and courage in continuous innovation, and collectively advance the field of D&I and its outcomes.

In one response to this growing demand for inter-organization collaboration, The Conference Board is bringing together progressive D&I leaders and Innovation specialists for the Diversity and Inclusion: Design the Future of Your Practice conference in San Francisco on December 1-2, 2016. Building upon TCB research on The Role of Inclusion in Fostering a Culture of Innovation, participants at this distinctive event will convene to:

  • Explore and employ forward-thinking insights and positive disruption to catalyze D&I breakthroughs
  • Develop D&I solutions using design thinking and collaborative innovation methods
  • Build prototypes translating fresh ideas into actionable, elevated D&I approaches that can create measurable new value

Dramatically different from typical conference formats where attendees sit and listen to speakers and panels with limited time for problem solving or networking, this event has been designed to actively engage participants in experiential learning and hands-on collaborative design. The experience will be enhanced with Covision’s interactive technology and facilitation expertise to ensure that every voice is included. This immersive experience will help participants from a wide range of organizations partner to develop forward-thinking insights and disruptions to catalyze D&I innovations within and across their organizations.

The field of D&I is changing, and its long-term continuation is not guaranteed. To ensure that our field remains relevant, we must thoughtfully evolve how we conceptualize and execute our strategies. Accepting that the demand for innovation is central to our role, there is value in partnering to explore and foster the D&I transformations important to remaining relevant, sustaining and expanding our impact, and ensuring real business value. We have an opportunity to establish new ways of thinking and working that will deliver on the promise of D&I. It’s time we take on the challenge, together.

Watch for a future blog post about how the outcomes of the conference can inform and enhance the future of your D&I practice.


View our complete listing of Diversity & Inclusion blogs.

  • About the Author: Rebekah Steele

    Rebekah Steele

    Rebekah Steele is a senior fellow providing diversity & inclusion (D&I) expertise for The Conference Board. She serves as program director for both the Diversity & Inclusion Executives and…

    Full Bio | More from Rebekah Steele


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