Monday, July 18, 2011

A Forbes Study Finds Diversity & Inclusion are Good for Creativity and Innovation

Chances are if you work for a large organization, your company has a diversity and inclusion policy. Organizations around the world are realizing diversity in the workplace is good for business. In fact, a July 2011 Forbes study found, a "diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas. When asked about the relationship between diversity and innovation, a majority of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that foster innovation." While a diverse workforce fosters creativity and innovation, I believe how companies define diversity should be broadened.

Currently, most companies define diversity based on gender, ethnicity, age, or race (see below). However, I believe thinking skills and the way a person solves problems should also be included in the definition of diversity.

What I mean by thinking skills is the way in which a person takes in information, deciphers information, and acts upon information. One common assessment used to determine thinking skills and preferences is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). By hiring people with diverse thinking skills and preferences, companies can bring new approaches and creativity to innovation efforts. If you've ever worked at a company where everyone thought the same way, you know what I'm getting at. Group think can be a dangerous thing.

Adding different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds by way of thinking skills can expand the definition of diversity beyond gender, ethnicity, age and race. In my view, this would be a good thing.


M. Susan Klopfer said...

Over and over, studies are indicating the same conclusions. Diversity and inclusion simply work. I enjoy going to my city's utility office in Gallup, NM. The staff is diverse, and guess what? the service is excellent!

Alicia Arnold said...

Thank you for sharing.

I participated in a tweet chat yesterday where the topic of diversity and innovation was discussed. Some felt there is a gap between the idea of diversity and hiring practices...whether age, sex, etc...

Diversity is certainly a hot topic these days.

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