How Diversity Can Drive Your Team’s Innovation

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Most teams that I work with claim that they would like to be more innovative. And all of them would like to see better bottom line results, such as growth in market share, and better client communication and loyalty.

So how can you get these results with your team? One word: diversity.

When I was producing my sketch comedy TV show, I took some heat because the show was perceived as being too white and too male. And you know what? That was a fair criticism. Now, over the show’s 15-year lifespan we did add more women and ethnic minorities. But true diversity, I’m sorry to say, was never one of our strengths.

That was our loss because the numbers are clearly in diversity’s favor.

Before we get to the numbers, though, let’s define what we mean by diversity. Basically, there are two types:

  1. Inherent diversity. This refers to the traits you are born with: gender, ethnicity, etc.
  2. Acquired diversity. This involves traits you gain from experience: working in another country, living in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, etc.

Companies whose leaders exhibit both inherent and acquired diversity are said to have two-dimensional diversity. And these companies show some clear advantages over less diverse companies (here’s where the numbers come in). What kind of advantages?

  • Companies with two-dimensional diversity out-innovate and out-perform less diverse companies.
  • These companies are 45% more likely to grow their market share.
  • These companies are 70% likelier to capture a new market.
  • A team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% likelier to understand that client.

With advantages like these, might it be time for you to take a look at your own team’s diversity? Particularly if innovation is one of your core values.

More diverse teams out-innovate and out-perform less diverse teams. Click To Tweet

My TV show did quite well during its 15 years on the air. But I can only imagine how much better it could have done had I focused more on building a truly diverse team.

The bad news is that my show is no longer in production, so I can’t fix it. The good news, however, is that your show is in production. What are you waiting for?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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