Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Innovation Needs Diversity

My other passion, besides creativity, is diversity. Yet, when most people think of diversity they often think only of superficial differences like race, gender, etc. To me, diversity is so much more and that's what makes it important for creating real innovation.

In author Debbe Kennedy's book, Putting Our Differences to Work, she expands the standard definition of diversity to include such factors as generational insights, problem solving approaches and think origins. With a broader definition of diversity, we can see how bringing together people from all different groups affects brainstorming and innovation.

Imagine an idea generating session that only included individuals with the same backgrounds, work habits or experiences. The end result would probably be pretty boring, and well more of the same. Scott Page, author of The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies, concurs with this view of the power of diversity to push innovation forward.

So why does he think diverse groups of problem-solvers are more successful than similarly minded groups? Because, according to Page, the diverse groups have more perspectives, which fuels idea generation and ultimately, innovation.
  • Increase the diversity in your problem-solving sessions and see what happens!


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