Supporting Diversity Dialogues
Supporting Diversity Dialogues, DTU
Sector: Higher Education; research university
Contact: Tina Messerschmidt Nielsen and Mikkel Hougaard Orlovski, Strategic Development Partners, HR, DTU
Date: 3-4 October 2019
Assignment: DTU wants to increase and capitalize on diversity through inclusive dialogue and leadership. Tina Nielsen and Mikkel Orlovski contacted On the Agenda about training HR’s strategic development partners in facilitating Mosaic so that they could use it to support the University’s diversity dialogue.
How did it work?
HR partners were invited to participate in a 1½ day workshop.
The morning session on Day 1 included the following:
- Presentation on theory and research on diversity in organizations and inclusive leadership
- Introduction to Mosaic: theory, practice, rules of the game
The afternoon session on Day 1 was spent playing Mosaic, facilitated by On the Agenda’s Lynn Roseberry. In order to provide HR partners with insight into how members of research and administration environments respond to Mosaic, 10 members of DTU faculty and administration were invited to join the HR partners for the afternoon.
On Day 2, the group met in the morning to discuss the participants’ conclusions and questions from Day 1. Discussion focused on how they could use Mosaic to ensure learning across the organization and how to ensure that participants in Mosaic facilitations leave with something they can continue working on.
The HR partners have subsequently used Mosaic with leadership groups who are facing challenges in inclusive leadership. The game has given time and space both to new reflections on unconscious bias and how inclusive management is practiced, as well as inspired ideas for concrete action plans, which can be translated into local projects at the individual institutes relatively quickly.
The game has been received really well and has already made concrete changes; such as generally generating increased knowledge about diversity challenges, and more specifically increasing the spread of blind evaluations and creating better knowledge sharing about bias reviews of job postings.
It is really important that the game is played to the end and facilitated with strict attention to the rules. The diversity agenda is not immediately at the top of everyone’s agenda and may even be provocative for some. The facilitator must insist that the participants stick to the rules of the game, especially in the beginning, to prevent spontaneous discussion from removing the focus from the purpose of the game; namely, to train the individual leader to listen and make room for perspectives other than his or her own and, through listening, to associate personal stories with a topic. This is especially helpful for leaders who may view diversity as an abstract concept that has nothing to do with them.