Diversity: A Driver of Innovation

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Diversity: A Driver of Innovation

Take a look at the people around you at work. What do you notice? Well, we all differ from one another. But appearances aren’t the only way we differ, it’s the unique views and backgrounds that we bring that can help you boost your creativity at work. Diversity is a driver of creativity. When you invite a group of colleagues to an ideation session, it’s important that you have diversity in your team. And you want diversity in these three ways. First, you want functional diversity.

Next, you want gender diversity. And finally, cultural diversity. When you invite people to a team ideation session, try to get people from at least these three departments. First, you need commercial marketing people. The marketers are the ones that it can help you figure out if an idea has commercial potential. They’ll filter out any idea that won’t make it into the marketplace. You also need technical people. They’re the ones that understand how your products and services work.

And they’re going to help you identify those ideas that just aren’t viable. They may be great ideas but technically they can’t be made. And finally, you need people who are customer centric. These are the people that deal with your customers every day. People like your sales people or people in your call center. They’re the ones that advocate for your customers, and they’re the ones that, that will help you identify those ideas that will resonate the most with them. Taken together, these three perspectives help you answer the questions, will our customers want it? Can we make it? And how do we commercialize it? You also want gender diversity on your team.

Research suggests that men tend to generate ideas that are more risky, while women tend to create ideas that are more practical. When they work together, these biases tend to average out and you end up with ideas that are both interesting and practical. You also want to make sure your team has good cultural diversity. People with different backgrounds will help you create ideas that are applicable in many different global regions. Without cultural diversity, you end up creating ideas that are perhaps only appropriate for a certain region of the world.

Diversity is a driver of creativity. Diverse teams see new possibilities, they hold each other accountable to bring their best thinking. And it helps you boost your creativity at work.