Over the past decade, a growing number of organizations in the research and innovation ecosystem have chosen to prioritize the integration of equity1, diversity2, and inclusion3 (EDI) into their activities. Why? The benefits of EDI initiatives are increasingly being documented and recognized at the societal, sectoral, organizational, and individual levels.
What are the benefits for the innovation community?
A more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ecosystem is essential for innovative research that advances knowledge and enables the identification of solutions to meet the sector’s challenges, both locally and globally.
In a few words, the integration of EDI-based approaches contributes, but is not limited to:
• Knowledge enrichment;
• Innovation and creativity;
• Development and deployment of individual potential;
• Performance of organizations, the sector and society;
• Social equity, particularly in terms of health care.
Focus on the link between diversity and knowledge enrichment
Recently, a study specifically addressing the effects of gender and race disparities on the advancement of knowledge reached some important findings. The results from the analysis of a database of over 5 million scientific papers published between 2008 and 2019 are as follows:
• Minority researchers are more likely to study and publish on topics relevant to their identity and reality;
• Systemic inequalities are observed in relation to the value attributed to the research topics addressed by minority groups, thus limiting the impact and scope of their advances;
• As a result, knowledge gaps are emerging in topics that are predominantly studied by researchers from minority groups.
These insights highlight the importance of a diverse research community to ensure the study of a wider range of topics, which enhance knowledge and improve the robustness of the science.
Diversity, the key for more innovative organizations
Several studies have shown that organizations that integrate diversity and inclusion into their strategy report higher productivity and performance at various levels.
For example, an article published in the Harvard Business Review indicates that companies with a diverse team are 70% more likely to reach new markets and 45% more likely to experience market share growth. Likewise, a study of more than 1,600 companies of various sizes, industries and geographical locations found that companies with a more diverse management team generated 19% more innovation-based revenue.
Many online resources exist to allow organizations to better learn about and explore different approaches to embedding EDI principles in their strategies and activities. A few examples relevant to the innovation ecosystem community are available in the EDI resources section of CQDM’s website.
EDI and its ever-evolving benefits
It is important to note that the research and innovation ecosystem, together with the insights gained from the implementation of EDI practices, is constantly evolving. Raising awareness of the EDI considerations among the various ecosystem participants, as well as their application in the design and execution of the research work, contributes to maximizing positive socio-economic impacts and sustainable health developments in Quebec and Canada.
Moreover, the integration of EDI practices in the research and innovation environment is a path towards building a rich, thriving and innovative ecosystem, not a destination.
→ Here to consult CQDM’s approach and commitment to EDI.
1 The treatment of everyone in a just manner that addresses systemic barriers, where all are provided with what they need for full access, participation, and opportunity.
2 The wealth of identities, experiences, perspectives, and ways of operating in the biopharmaceutical research ecosystem.
3 The creation of a safe, accepting environment or group where all are valued.