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The Diversity Advantage Challenge

The Council of Europe promotes a new approach to managing increasingly diverse societies based on the concept of Diversity Advantage. The partners in this project/contest are: Intercultural Cities Programme, La Caixa, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and Club of Madrid. This stands for:

  • Recognizing that diversity is not a threat - it can bring competitive benefits for businesses, organisations and communities if managed with competence and in the spirit of inclusion;
  • Embracing diversity is not a gimmick for business/organisation/city branding but a philosophy of governance, management and decision-making.

Social and economic research worldwide provides convincing evidence that diversity and intercultural interaction can improve productivity, creativity and efficiency in all kinds of organisations, as well as in cities. Both research and practice suggest that businesses, organisations and cities can gain enormously from the diversified skills, entrepreneurship and creativity associated with diversity, provided they facilitate intercultural interaction and co-creation. However, the notion of diversity advantage is not familiar to most Europeans and the attitudes and skills that are necessary to realise the positive potential of diversity, are not widespread among leaders in politics, business and civil society.

The Diversity Advantage Challenge is:

  • a means to raise awareness among the public and private decision-makers about the benefits of diversity and to provide a large number of examples of how organisations, businesses and cities which have realised these benefits by creating innovative products, services, ideas and initiatives. The challenge will help understand better the conditions under which diversity generates innovation and the do's and don'ts of the process;
  • a contest for the best real-life stories of the successful involvement of people of different cultural (ethnic, religious, linguistic) backgrounds in the design of innovative products, services, policies, projects and initiatives. The stories should illustrate how it is possible to harness cultural diversity to the benefit of businesses, organisations and communities.

The contest is open to local authorities, enterprises, civil society organisations, media and other institutions worldwide. Interested local authorities, enterprises, civil society organisations, media and other institutions worldwide are invited to share their stories by answering to the questionnaire and sending it to diversity.challenge@coe.int by 31 October 2014.