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BLOGThe Power of Diversity

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, StrategyTagged as: , ,

The term diversity has become associated with the human rights movement, and lives in the same space with terms such as enforcement, quotas, and affirmative action.  Despite these seemingly negative terms, there is a powerful case for organizations to adopt a positive and proactive approach to diversity.

The usual argument for diversity is that an organization should mirror society in general, and its clients in specific.  While true, the greatest benefit of diversity does not stem from this argument, but from another: the creative power of a diverse team.

A diversity exercise:  If you have a pen and paper, right now, draw a picture of a house.  Even if you’re not an artist, you can draw something.  Then look at what you drew:  Does it include windows?  How many? A door?  How about a roof?  Did it have a second floor?  Did you draw it in 3D?  Did you use shading?  Or color?

Each of us probably did it differently.  But if we compared our pictures, and then re-drew it, we likely will include all of the features that were drawn by others.  This is the power of brainstorming, and particularly, the power of diversity.

Each individual brings their own experience, resulting in the group’s knowledge base growing significantly.  A different perspective from one person can spark an incredibly rich response from others.  For this reason, organizations (and teams) that seek diversity – not homogeneity – will always be more creative.

Diverse thinking produces diverse results.

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

Try the diversity exercise with your team. What were the results?

Creative Insight: Diversity is not a negative term, especially compared to terms like groupthink, conventional wisdom, towing the line, etc.

Interesting Trivia: While IBM’s motto for many years has been Think, Apple’s motto was Think Different. Might there be a connection to diversity?

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