The Power of Diversity Lab
Creating Space for Collaboration across Teams, Organisations and Countries
In today’s world, polarisation is a growing phenomenon that is creating unbridgeable divides.
Governments, businesses, political institutions, and religions are struggling to create a joint global vision for dealing with challenges such as political and religious polarisation, climate change, energy shortages, and economic or environmental crises.
The Power of Diversity Lab explored new ways of bridging divides and harnessing the inherent power that exist in the globalised and highly interdependent social systems today.
”I have learnt not be afraid of change. It was an important step for me to say: I live in an instable country, but I now feel safe to lead.“
Sasa Gavric, Executive Officer, Sarajevo Open Centre
The 23 change agents (39% men, 61% women) represented different sectors such as government, civil society, NGO, private sector and academia.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Egypt, Ghana, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Serbia, Sudan, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Ireland
The Lab united 23 change agents (39 % men, 61 % women) from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Serbia, Sudan, Uganda, and the United Kingdom who represented different societal sectors (government, civil society, NGO, private sector and academia). Among the participants where the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority of Uganda, the Deputy Director of the European Integration Office of the Republic of Serbia and the CEO of Brap, a leading British NPO in the field of diversity and human rights.
The Power of Diversity Lab explored new ways of bridging divides and harnessing the inherent power that exist in the globalized and highly interdependent social systems today. Convened by the Global Leadership Academy and the Deep Democracy Institute, and drawing on the method of the latter, it introduced concepts and practical interventions based on modern physics, the science of complexity, and cutting-edge psychology. It included a new approach to awareness training on rank and privileges, and trained leaders and change agents not only to manage diversity and power processes, but also to harness and develop their potential. Participants learned to facilitate large, diverse groups from different countries and sectors, and to uncover their enormous potential.
In the first Lab meeting in Vienna, participants engaged in a reflective dialogue around identities and roles and their facilitation in a complex world. This was connected with issues of leadership, rank, and power relations and combined with exercises on conflict resolution.
The second meeting in Istanbul offered space to reflect on meaning and impact in a leader’s life. Furthermore, individual and group-related privileges were identified and observed for their effect on other less privileged individuals. The methodology of group process was used frequently: It built a deep understanding within the group, recognition of the whole community, including viewpoints of the minority in the group, or those views which remain unmentioned, and which usually tend to be ignored or overridden. Participants discovered hidden process structures in groups and allowed new creative identities to emerge.
In the last Lab meeting in Berlin, reflections on how to deal with public criticism as a leader were made. Additionally, special emphasis was laid on exercises helping participants transfer their rich learnings into their everyday lives.
The Lab process was shaped by the issues and challenges that participants brought to the table: How do I as a leader or change agent promote individual power and diversity (divergence) while bringing unity and synergy (convergence) to the system? How can we rapidly work through conflict and divergence in our own team so we don’t lose impact in the field (market, community, etc.)? How can we proceed with our vision and strategies in a fast-changing and complex world? How can power and diversity within a group be handled together in a way that increases impact and efficiency? How can leaders achieve a perfect distribution of power? How do we negotiate with systems that seem inert and rigid?
In all three meetings the participants approached the leading questions as well as their own concrete challenges in different but overlapping formats such as group discussions, role play, facilitation exercises, and individual reflection. The participants thereby experienced and acquired new approaches to multidimensional change management on the basis of process work. Amongst other methods, they tested out differentiated perception of roles and disturbances within group situations, and practised working through them in such a way that previously stagnant or conflict-ridden situations could be understood as opportunities for growth and addressed accordingly. Between modules, the coaches were available to the participants, and supported them in the practical application of what they had learned in their own contexts.
Allen Asiimwe is a trade and governance advisor and practitioner with many years of experience in the public sector. In her work, the passionate networker focusses on diversity and gender issues.
Being an experienced entrepreneur herself, Elizabeth Maloba works freelance as an organizational change and business growth facilitator. Her main concern is the reduction of youth unemployment.
”Within our society's formal, subjective, and dyadic way of thinking, we often forget the subtle complex processes of the larger world. The power of the Lab pertains to its application of the science of complexity to one of the most complicated processes in existence: human relationships.“
Joni Baboci, Director of Atelier Albania Unit, National Territorial Planning Agency of Albania
We implement all our programmes in cooperation with our internationally renowned partners with whom we share our passion for dialogue and change and our commitment to high quality standards.