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AIDA Impact X Sitra

AIDA’s Sitra Lab experiment and the demo workshop described in more detail

About the experiment

In our Sitra Lab experiment, we were mentoring one of AIDA’s team members and hunted for an impact internship placement for her. We also ran a demo workshop for the representatives of employers. The workshop included a demo training on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, and a small reflection task on diverse talent in their organization. The rest of the workshop dealt with impact employment – something that we at AIDA viewed as the most central term and practice for our Sitra lab experiment

The purpose of the demo workshop and our still ongoing research was to map whether the impact internship model is something that employers might be interested in trying out in their organizations; something that could truly be explored as a new way to increase employment of women with immigrant backgrounds.

Although the impact employment idea was received well, we have not begun wide-scale impact employment experiments with organizations yet (at the time of writing, January 2022). We learned that hearing AIDA’s story of impact employment can be motivating, uplifting, and even eye-opening, but not in itself enough. We hypothesise that more training on the benefits of diversity and more practical tools are required for organizations to embark on impact employment. The positive finding of the experiment was that after a few months of scouting and mentoring, we managed to find an impact internship for one of AIDA’s team members. The internship was relevant in terms of the applicant’s education, talent, and work experience.

However, we are certain that the experiment we have conducted as a part of Sitra lab has significant potential if systematically developed further in close cooperation with organisations, people with immigrant backgrounds, and other relevant stakeholders. This is something that some members of our team will continue to do in the future. We propose that our work can be beneficial not just for the employers and the individual people looking to advance their careers in Finland, but for the Finnish society as a whole.

The topics and the structure of the demo workshop

The demo workshop was structured as follows

Intro – Ice-breaker exercise and introducing the topic, us, and AIDA briefly

Immigrant talent and employment in Finland – facts and a personal story

Why DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) and why DEI now? – competitive advantage of diverse teams, other reasons behind the need for DEI, identifying general problems and exchanging ideas on organization-specific problems

DEI terminology briefly explained

Zooming in: unconscious bias – Acknowledging unconscious bias, spotting discriminatory practices, and moving towards DEI practices. Exchanging thoughts with pairs on attracting, hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent.

Towards impact employment – Sharing AIDA’s journey and the lessons learned. Opening up the concept of impact employment. Introducing impact internship and collecting feedback on it.

Demo workshop background material:

Ahmed, S. (2000) Strange Encounters: Embodied others in postcoloniality. Routledge. 

Beeman, A. (2015) Walk the Walk but Don't Talk the Talk: The Strategic Use of Color-Blind Ideology in an Interracial Social Movement Organization. Sociological forum, 30 (1), pp.127-147, 

Beeman, A. (2015). Teaching to Convince, Teaching to Empower: Reflections on Student Resistance and Self-Defeat at Predominantly White vs. Racially Diverse Campuses. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege5(1). Retrieved from 

Brah, A., & Phoenix, A. (2004). Ain’t I a woman? Revisiting intersectionality. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5(3), 75–86.   

Crenshaw, K. (1991) Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color, Standford Law Review, 43 (6), pp.1241-1299. 

Criado-Perez, C. (2019). Invisible women: Data bias in a world designed for men. Abrams Press.

Coyle, D. (2018). The culture code: the secrets of highly successful groups. Bantam Books.

DiAngelo, R., & Dyson, M. E. (2018). White fragility: Why it's so hard for White people to talk about racism. Beacon Press.

Eddo-Lodge, R. (2017). Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2001). Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46(2), 229–273.

Feagin, J. R. (2006). Systemic racism: A theory of oppression. Routledge.

hooks. (1992). Eating the Other. In hooks. (1992). Black looks : race and representation. South End Press. (pp. 21–40).

Janah, L. (2017). Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time. Portfolio. 

Kazi, V.. & Alitolppa-Niitamo, A., & Kaihovaara, A. (eds.). (2019). Kotoutumisen kokonaiskatsaus 2019: Tutkimusartikkeleita kotoutumisesta. TEM oppaat ja muut julkaisut 2019:10. Helsinki: Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö.

Kendall, M. (2021). Hood feminism. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. 

Kurki, T. (2019). Immigrant-ness as (mis)fortune? Immigrantisation through integration policies and practices in education. University of Helsinki.

Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Crossing Press.

Melaku, T.M., Beeman, A., Smith, D. G. & Johnson, W. B. (2020), Be a better ally. Harvard business review. 

Melaku, T. M. (2019) Why Women and People of Color in Law Still Hear “You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer”. Harvard Business Review 

Mirza, H. S. (2009). Plotting a history: Black and postcolonial feminisms in “new times.” Race, Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), 1–10. 

OECD (2018) Finland must focus on integrating migrant women and their children to boost their contribution to the economy and society. OECD (accessed available at)

Oluo, I. (2019). So you want to talk about race. Seal Press. 

Sensoy, Ö. & DiAngelo, R. (2014). Respect differences? Challenging the common guidelines in social justice education. Democracy in Education, 2(1), 

Sensoy, Ö. & DiAngelo, R. (2012). Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in critical social justice education. Teachers College Press.

Williams, J. C. (2021) Bias Interrupted: Creating Inclusion for Real and for Good. Harvard Business Review Press.

Williams, J.C. & Mihaylo, S. (2019) How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams. Harvard Business Review.