Networking Workshop on Diversity

I think the workshop was very productive and interesting. I am convinced that it will let us start intensive cooperation on the subject. It was really good to know what kind of support is offered to SMEs in other countries. I am looking forward to the next meeting.

Karolina Piadlowska-Firlej, PARP


A brilliant meeting. This was the first time that a number of innovation agencies met to talk about diversity in innovation. Some positive actions came out of the meeting and I look forward to continuing to work alongside the great contacts I made.

Emma Bortnik, Knowledge Transfer Network


Wonderful to get this opportunity to collaborate and present my work. As a student, being included on this is a fantastic opportunity. Looking forward to further steps and follow-ups to continue this work and deepen connections.

Adams Nager, University of North Carolina


The workshop was very informational and met my expectation. The discussion was very exciting and the examples were very useful for my work. In my opinion there should be further discussion on collecting data on diversity - not only on gender and age, but also other topics like race, religion, mobility, etc.

Robert Zakrzewski, PARP

Date & Place:  7th November 2017, St John’s Hotel, Solihull (near Birmingham), UK *

Time:              11.00-16.00, with an evening dinner

Host:               Innovate UK

Speakers:        Emily Nott, Innovate UK, UK

                       Hilde Hukkleberg, Innovation Norway

                       Adams Nager, University of North Carolina

Moderator:      Sue Dunkerton, Knowledge Transfer Network, UK

* Note, this location has been chosen to coincide with a major innovation event in the UK – Innovate 2017, 8-9 November.

Brief Description

The evidence is clear; diversity within businesses and diversity within teams contributes to productivity and commercial success. The UK is acknowledged to be one of the most diverse nations in the world and yet that diversity is not reflected in the applications that Innovate UK receives for funding or in the businesses we support. We think that this diversity represents a massive economic opportunity for the UK.


Innovate UK has a Statement of Intent for Diversity and Inclusion and an associated action plan. Key actions to date are described below.


We have developed the infocus brand as an umbrella communications campaign to support all of our work on diversity and inclusion. Our approach is to shine a spotlight where there is currently under representation in business innovation and a significant opportunity to boost the economy in addressing this. We take action where we believe this will make a positive difference.


Our first infocus action was Women in Innovation. The opportunity to boost the UK economy by getting more women innovating in UK businesses is clear. Our research highlighted that only 1 in 7 lead applicants to Innovate UK were women and we wanted to address this.


We launched a campaign and awards programme in June 2016 to get more women with excellent ideas innovating in UK businesses.  We were looking for potential leaders of the future. We received a fantastic response to the awards – over 1700 registrations of interest and 442 final applications. The overall quality of applications was excellent and we selected 34 women to receive an award.


Additional high profile activities:


- Partnership with Getty Images – a two-week photography exhibition (18-30 July 2017) of our Women in Innovation Award Holders at the Getty Image Gallery in London. The purpose of the exhibition was to challenge the perception of what an innovator is and looks like, to create new female role models and to celebrate women entrepreneurs. The photographs are now part of the Getty stock images and will therefore have a lasting life and impact. The exhibition is now on a tour of events across the UK and we are working with colleagues in New York on a plan to display the photographs at the UN Global Summit in September 2017.

- infocus global entrepreneurial mission to Boston: EMERGE Boston 2017 – working with the British Consulate in Boston and the Digital Catapult we are supporting EMERGE Boston 2017. EMERGE is a one week delegation (10-15 October 2017) to Boston Massachusetts for female founders working on Human and Machine Interaction.


Our second infocus action is a campaign and awards programme to engage young people from diverse backgrounds and to find and support innovators of the future within this group. We are working in partnership with the Prince’s Trust who have over 40 years’ experience and an impressive track record of success in working with the young people we are seeking to engage.



The purpose of this one-day workshop was to share information and exchange best practice in Diversity and Inclusion policies and actions across interested Taftie members. The expected output would be the identification of one or more topic(s) to collaborate on going forward, with the overall aim to strengthen our actions or policies in diversity and inclusion and influence positive change.



• To share information on policies and programmes that encourage diversity and inclusion, to highlight any flagship projects.

• To discuss how to ensure decision making processes for innovation support do not act as a barrier to diversity and inclusion.

• To share data and latest research findings in Taftie member countries on diversity in business and entrepreneurship.