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The Power of Diversity

by Randall Craig on October 14, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Strategy

Tagged 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, teams that seek diversity – not homogeneity – will always be more creative.

Diverse thinking produces diverse results.

This week’s action item: 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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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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