Diversity dividends: driving innovation, creativity and productivity
It has been well documented that a larger group of more diverse individuals will generate better forecasts of the future.. The logic is simple - with a larger number of potential outcomes being generated, better decisions can be made.
People with a similar experience of the world around them will reach similar conclusions, which in turn leads to a higher probability of groupthink and blindspots.
On the other hand, people from different backgrounds can provide a unique perspective on:
- business ideas
- product development
- risk management
- opportunities for innovation
- companies in the top quartile of gender diversity were 15% more likely to see financial returns above their national industry median
- companies in the top quartile of ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median
An MIT study has found that changing from all-male or all-female workforces to equal numbers of both sexes could raise revenues by around 40%. These are the tangible numbers we’re looking for in terms of a return on diversity.
According to renowned organisational psychologist Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic:
“knowledge sharing is the key to reaping the benefits of diversity. No matter how diverse the workforce is, diversity won’t enhance creativity unless there’s a culture of sharing knowledge and interconnectivity.”
This means a diverse team won’t simply start kicking goals because of diversity alone. They still need to be encouraged and empowered to share their ideas.
So, while we all know that diversity in the workplace is about doing “the right thing”, it’s important to remember that it’s also in every organisation’s best interest. In an era where innovation and ideas are the fuel for competitive advantage, every business should be looking at how their culture empowers employees to contribute to their best ability, and rewards them for doing so.