Our vision for equity, diversity and inclusion at Nesta

www.nesta.org.uk/about-us/our-vision-equity-diversity-and-inclusion-nesta/
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The first step we have taken is to capture our ambition for equity, diversity and inclusion, alongside a set of principles that will be built into our new strategy.

This is just the start. We are now working to translate our vision and principles into a set of practical actions that will direct our activity for the coming decade. We are doing so in a way that aims to listen to, incorporate, and reflect the ideas and experience of all of our colleagues - and particularly colleagues of minority backgrounds, and that learns from other organisations where we can. We will publish more information about these actions in the late autumn.

Through transparent data collection, open and honest conversations and accountability mechanisms, we will continuously assess how we’re doing and how we can do better. Where we succeed, we will promote our learnings, evidence and best practices. Where we fail, we will be honest that we didn’t get it right, learn from it and take steps to improve.

Nesta’s vision for equity, diversity and inclusion

At Nesta, we drive innovation that improves lives, narrows inequalities, and confronts structural and systemic barriers to equity. We value and support people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills and perspectives in our organisation, through our partnerships and in our wider community. We believe it is through the meeting of different perspectives that we gain meaningful insights and that fostering an inclusive culture where everyone is treated equitably, and can flourish, is both the right thing to do and beneficial to our work.

Nesta’s five principles for equity, diversity and inclusion

1. We actively seek to work with people from different backgrounds and diverse lived experiences at all levels in our organisation, through our partnerships and in our wider community.

Innovation for social good risks being ineffective and even harmful if we do not represent and understand the society we live in. From early scoping to final evaluations, we work shoulder to shoulder with people with direct experience of the challenges we’re trying to solve and value a range of perspectives and expertise at each stage of the design, implementation and evaluation of our work. We will include this as standard across our work even if it takes more time or requires additional resources.

2. We go beyond diversifying access to opportunities and build an inclusive and equitable culture that celebrates difference and acknowledges that not everyone has the same needs. To ensure that everyone in our community feels valued, that they belong and are supported to flourish, we uphold an inclusive environment and act equitably in support of different needs.

We support future leaders from less represented backgrounds, equipping them with the platform and power to influence decisions and actions. We will not stop at simply creating systems and processes (e.g. blind recruitment) that improve access to opportunities and attract a diverse pool of talent, but will also proactively support people from all backgrounds to progress in the organisation.

3. We use our position of privilege as a funder, research body and convener to drive innovation that narrows inequalities and confronts structural and systemic barriers to equality.

All of our work acknowledges the existence of structural barriers and much of it addresses this directly. At a minimum, the outcomes we work towards should never exacerbate inequalities. No matter how well-intentioned our design, we are conscious there may be risks associated with our work. We are transparent about our decision-making processes, measure the impact of our methods on marginalised communities and communicate our work in a way that is clear and inclusive. We will develop principles to help us assess whether partnerships are compatible with our goals and values.

4. We understand that data and research are not neutral and we use that understanding to inform our work.

We understand that data and research are not free from bias and have the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities depending on their design, use and interpretation. This is because they can reflect the assumptions, views and priorities of the people that commission or create them. We will therefore be reflective and careful in the assumptions we make collecting and using data, research and evidence; address gaps where we can; and be transparent about the assumptions and limitations where we cannot. We will ensure that we use data and evidence alongside, rather than instead of, a meaningful understanding of people’s lived experiences.

5. We are committed to driving this work together and are accountable for its delivery.

Nesta’s CEO, Board of Trustees and Executive team commit to building on these equity, diversity and inclusion principles through practical action and ensuring there is appropriate resourcing to deliver on our vision. Through transparent data collection, open and honest conversations and accountability mechanisms, we will continuously assess how we’re doing and how we can do better.

Where we succeed, we will promote our learnings, evidence and best practices. Where we fail, we will be honest that we didn’t get it right, learn from it and take steps to improve.