Building on two years of insights drawn from the KSA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) learning community, the Kendall Square Association launched its inaugural Inclusion Drives Innovation program in September 2020. This program educates Kendall organizations on best practices and policymaking to support the building of anti-racist workplaces. 

Inclusion Drive Innovation banner

Inclusion Drives Innovation is a ten-week professional development program designed by and for Kendall Square Association members focused on building anti-racist organizations. The program empowers participants to expedite the rate of change in their organizations by fostering collaboration and peer accountability, highlighting bright spots, and creating a forum to share best practices. 90% of the graduates of our 2020 inaugural program reported feeling more confident in both having conversations in the workplace about race, racism, and anti-racism and in their ability to implement anti-racist action items in their workplaces. 

This program accelerates rapid learning and practical application of concepts using expert-led class time to understand the foundations of DEI work, uncover identity and bias, practice allyship, and more, all while connecting participants with their colleagues and peers during dedicated working group sessions. This program is guaranteed to build core competencies in: 

  • The vocabulary and tools needed to drive real change in organizations. Inclusion Drives Innovation efficiently teaches participants how to implement these tools in their own settings. Vanessa Brown, Chief People Officer, CIC said, “This program creates an opportunity for executives to get closely involved with diversity, equity, and inclusion work. There is so much space for peer understanding, including at the C-suite level, so that we may collectively build more effective business models and department goals – an area as important as finding talent.”
  • Cultivating mission-based teamwork. By bringing a team to Inclusion Drives Innovation, teams go on a learning journey together, surfacing rich conversations — building an intimate and transformative team experience. ”Being able to connect with your peers about what you’re learning is energizing,” said David Boghossian, Managing Director, Commonwealth Impact Partners and Community Charter School of Cambridge Board Member. “This program provides teams with the diversity and inclusion education they need as well as time to do real planning for the future. Inclusion Drives Innovation empowered us to identify actions we could get right today, priorities we can tackle six months from now, and which ideas we want to build out long term.”
  • Making it real. Inclusion Drives Innovation acknowledges that, while no organization has all the answers, many have evidence of success that others can learn from. This program embraces a cross-pollination of ideas, network building, peer support, and accountability. Karla MacDonald, Vice President, Communications and Patient Advocacy at Ipsen explains, “Inclusion Drives Innovation isn’t a box-checking exercise. It’s a place for team members to come together and explore systemic racism and how it’s holding us back from realizing our innovative potential.”
  • Creating impact in your network and world. Inclusion Drives Innovation awakens and empowers you as a person, empowering you to drive change in your personal and professional life. “What’s different about this collective effort is that it empowers different people and companies to lead by sharing their experiences and solutions – helping us find our own agency and identity for how we want to be involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion work,” said Tarikh Campbell, Program Manager for Workplace Inclusion at Microsoft.

Inclusion Drives Innovation is user-designed. This program was created and reflects the close partnership with a dynamic host committee of Kendall Square companies, whose employees are increasingly benefitting from participation. 

Together we continue to nurture a Kendall Square that thrives because of its diversity, where everyone has a chance to create, contribute, and benefit from the science and technology that solves global problems. This is a watershed moment for our country, and Kendall Square is committed to being a positive force for change. Be sure to reserve seats for your team. The deadline for enrollment for the  Spring 2021 Inclusion Drives Innovation program is March 5.