“Humanitarians and others interested in advancing social good should be motivated both by the successes that diversity and inclusion can bring, as well as by the advancement of fairness and equality they represent.”

Based on their experience driving organizational change at the United Nations (UN), Daphne Moench, UNSSC coordinator of the UN Lab for Organizational Change and Knowledge (UNLOCK), Caroline Harper Jantuah, senior advisor at the UN Refugee Agency, and Sarah Bond, consultant on organizational culture, diversity, and inclusion write for a series from Stanford Social Innovation Review and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Innovation Service.

Global challenges and social issues that humanitarians seek to address are complex and ever-changing in nature. The ability to innovate seems to be a necessary core competence nowadays. But how even the most traditional organizations can enhance the design and implementation of social solutions?

According to the authors, the answer lies in enhancing diversity and inclusion. These two characteristics are critical for humanitarians’ work as they encourage people to design and implement new solutions. We need to develop new ideas, including new ways of engaging with and relating to the people we aim to help. A diverse and inclusive work culture allows for more diversity of thought. And diversity of thought leads to more creativity and innovation.

Supporting a truly diverse and inclusive environment does not only mean bringing in a diversified workforce, relying on primary dimensions of diversity such as gender or race, beliefs, education, socioeconomic background, and so on. It means building a working environment that encourages people to bring their entire selves to the workplace. As the authors underline, “putting the diversity and inclusion agenda at the forefront of our work calls for courage and the confidence to use ourselves, experiences, and identities as “instruments of change” to enable innovation to flourish.”

To know more about how we can be instruments of change and take our organizations a step forward in advancing social good, read the full article: Using Diversity and Inclusion as a Source for Humanitarian Innovation.