Developing the first comprehensive digital tool to support organizations to build and implement diversity strategies that attract and retain diverse talent
June 23, 2022 [Vancouver, BC] – In support of a more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem, Simon Fraser University’s VentureLabs is partnering with Toronto Metropolitan University’s Diversity Institute and Magnet, along with analytics firm SalesChoice Inc.to create the DAT App, a digital version of the Diversity Assessment Tool (DAT) developed by Dr. Wendy Cukier. Together, they will build and test the first digital tool to assist organizations in dynamically changing their policies and practices in order to create an actionable diversity and inclusion strategy.
Innovation is not just about technology; it’s about building diverse, inclusive, and collaborative work environments – including teams, partners, and supply chains. Creating new pathways for people to work in digital jobs, or to acquire the necessary skills to do their job in workplaces of the future, requires redefining jobs and skills, and changing how employers hire, train and retain skilled workers, as well as how they prioritize which organizations they work with.
“Our government is proud to support this project as it helps Canadian companies attract and retain more diverse and skilled workers. This new app will help match companies with skilled workers needed for the jobs of the future,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “We are committed to building a stronger, more inclusive Canada for all.”
The DAT app will transform organizational D&I assessment from an expensive, resource-intensive activity, to an online, self-guided process that will be more accessible, particularly to small and medium enterprises. By enabling companies to build D&I best practices at an early-stage, companies can build a foundation that helps ensure a more inclusive corporate culture as they scale and hire.
“As a top B.C. business accelerator supporting science, technology and innovation-based companies, we are excited to develop and pilot the DAT app within our VentureLabs community,” said Dr. Lesley Esford, Executive Director of SFU VentureLabs. “By increasing the accessibility of diversity assessment and resources to organizations of all sizes, it will allow them to create and implement an EDI strategy from the beginning. The ripple effect of organizations who have diversity strategies created by using this tool will create increased and ongoing demand for underrepresented groups and individuals for governance positions, procurements contracts, employees and leaders.”
Once developed, the app will be piloted with Members of the Digital Supercluster and other sectoral councils and chambers of commerce in Canada to reach SMEs across the country.
The project has a total investment of $1.4 million, with $0.9 million invested by partners and $0.5 million co-invested through the Supercluster’s Talent and Capacity program. More information on the Diversity Assessment Tool can be found here.
About the Digital Supercluster
Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Supercluster is building a better Canada by growing Canadian businesses, creating a digitally skilled workforce and positively impacting lives across our country. We accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies that keep Canadians healthy, address climate change and drive economic productivity. Through a powerful combination of co-investment, cross-sector collaboration, IP creation and digital talent development, we unlock the potential of Canadians to lead and succeed in the digital world. For more information, visit: https://www.digitalsupercluster.ca/
Director, Government & Public Affairs