Social Innovation and Diversity

What’s the most effective way to use the diversity in competences that employees possess? And how can you achieve smart collaboration between people with different competences?

In conjunction with companies and institutions in the Zwolle area, Windesheim is developing methods of optimum staff utilization in individual organizations as well as in cooperatives. Not only does this increase labour productivity, it also reinforces organizations’ innovation power.

Social innovation

New working methods

The increasing shortage in the Dutch labour market and increasing demands made by consumers lead to equally increasing demands being made on employees. On the other hand, there are fewer opportunities to recruit precisely those employees that meet these requirements. This means that organizations need to make more efficient use of the available workforce. Getting staff to work together in groups of mixed compositions, assigning them to tasks that require their specific competences, makes work more challenging and more fun and makes the organization a more attractive employer. But how can organizations create these conditions? To answer this question, Windesheim is conducting research on new working methods, also called Social Innovations.

Social innovation

Watch the movie about Zwolle

Research experience

Ms de Vries has been Professor of Social Innovation and Diversity at Windesheim since 1 May 2011. She also runs her own consulting agency for research and consultancy on diversity and human resources. She previously held several positions, including that of senior researcher and consultant with TNO and Professor of Multicultural Expertise and Diversity with the Netherlands Police Academy. Prior to that, she was a university lecturer of Social and Organizational Psychology at Leiden University.

Research focus

Ms de Vries conducts research on social innovations aiming to optimize the use made of the diversity in human competences, with a view to improving company results and optimizing staff development.


Ms de Vries studied Social and Organizational Psychology at the University of Groningen and earned a PhD in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam.


Contact details
Dr. Sjiera de Vries
Professor of Social Innovation and Diversity
+31 88 - 469 6974
LinkedIn | Twitter