Joining forces - collating case studies on ED&I in the foundation industries
Jude Allan MIMMM, Chair of an IOM3 group collating case studies on equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in the foundation industries, talks about next steps to enhance the ED&I focus in these sectors.
IOM3 and UK Research & Innovation set up a project a year ago to collect, curate and celebrate examples and case studies of good practice in promoting inclusion, diversity and equality in the foundation industries and their supply chains.
The case study group brought together individual IOM3 members from across the foundation industries (snappily called Foundation Industries Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (FIIDE).
We put out a call for an expression of interest to share any case studies or best practice earlier this year, recognising that any positive steps are important no matter the size of the step, and they can help to inspire others. We shared this call out to the IOM3 membership, with specific focus on member groups and through networks that our group had connections with, including the Transforming Foundation Industries Network (TFIN+).
The response to the call for expressions of interest was limited, although all of the responses we received were really valuable and important to us. One of the most interesting observations we made when the group reviewed the responses, was that they were mostly in the form of roadmaps of the journey businesses are on, rather than specific case studies of best practices, and they largely came from the organisations supporting the foundation industries rather than the industries themselves.
While we have been calling for case studies, the Transforming the Foundation Industries Research and Innovation Hub (TransFIRe) has also been looking into equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in the foundation industries, as you can read in Jo Stansfield’s accompanying article. TransFIRe’s ED&I strategy has been developed in response to the identified social and ED&I challenges.
The observation that ED&I within the foundation industries has been under-researched and that there are significant gaps in knowledge, corresponds to the challenges that we’ve had in gathering case studies of best practice from business, and it underlines the need for a more active approach than we, as a group of volunteers, have been able to undertake.
The challenges of gathering case studies, and the desire to continue the work beyond the limits of our current group project, led to a proposal to change the action plan and to hand the baton of finding case studies over to the TransFIRe ED&I team – they have the funding and resources to enable them to actively research this area and work with industry to develop a playbook and collect case studies, which IOM3 can support and share.
IOM3 continues to be highly supportive of the need to collect, curate and celebrate case studies, and we want to shine a light on ED&I in the foundation industries and beyond, however, its resources and the activities of our volunteers would be much better used in supporting the dissemination of case studies that the TransFIRe ED&I project is able to collect.
The details of the proposal to change the action plan and continue the work includes the following key points:
- The TransFIRe ED&I project will incorporate a greater emphasis on collecting case studies as part of their work.
- I will join the TransFIRe ED&I working group to keep the connection with IOM3.
- I will share with the TransFIRe team what we have learnt from our group so far – topics will include challenges, intersectionality, the variety of experiences people have, and what makes this work hard.
- We have also talked about the potential of podcasts with the TransFIRe team as part of the IOM3 Investigates podcast series to track progress over the next two years.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the members of the case study group for their time, perspectives and support. I personally have learnt a huge amount as Chair of the group, and although we don’t yet have a set of case studies to share, the proposal above is a good way to progress and shows that ED&I continues to be important to IOM3. I am keen to keep a focus on it. It is also right that we make best use of the resources available within the industry and combine initiatives where possible.