Center for Inclusive Innovation Aims to Improve Opportunities for Students of Color
- By Dian Schaffhauser
technology research and development will gain additional levels of
perspective with Digital
launch of the new Center
for Inclusive Innovation.
The goal is to bring in communities of color to participate as
"co-creators and collaborators" in education innovation.
center will be guided by a community advisory council made up of
organizers, facilitators, developers and social change leaders who
work on improving educational opportunities for students of color.
The council will provide guidance on community-driven design and
network building and participate in local and national R&D
initiative draws on work already undertaken by the nonprofit, which
a Process for Inclusive Innovation: A Radical Commitment to Equity"
last year. That report examined how to bring "historically
marginalized populations such as Black and Latinx students and
students living in poverty" into education R&D. The
organization has also been working with schools and communities on
collaborative projects, including designing for the recruitment and
retention of teachers of color and advancing innovation in secondary
2019 report included a simple matrix for understanding how well
equity considerations are built into proposed education solutions. As
the organization noted, what distinguishes the inclusive innovation
model is that "it results in solutions that have been informed
and developed by co-experts, including community stakeholders,
developers, and researchers Co-design of solutions ensures they are
contextually and culturally relevant."
Digital Promise hopes to deepen its community work through the new
of color have long been creative, brilliant, and entrepreneurial, but
they are left out of the education innovation conversation,"
said Kim Smith, executive director of both the Digital Promise's
of Innovative Schools
and the new center, in a statement. "We hope to recognize and
resource historically underserved communities as leaders, designers
and beneficiaries of innovation."
at the intersection of communities, educators, researchers and
developers, we seek powerful solutions to provide students with
culturally affirming, high-quality education," added Digital
Promise President and CEO, Karen Cator.
creation of the Center for Inclusive Innovation has come at a time in
our country where Black, Brown, and Indigenous students will need
every possible resource available to negotiate power relationships as
they develop," noted Marsha Boyd Pharr, assistant vice
chancellor in charge of federal TRIO programs at North
Carolina State University
and a member of the Community Advisory Council. "It is exciting
that the mission is to not only move students forward in their
development, but to include their families and communities in the
process, because raising the next generation is a shared
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.