Diverse Perspectives Amplify Innovation
At the July 7th Virtual Innovation Coffee, we used a 2017 study that looked at the impact of diversity on innovation as the basis for our discussion. We were interested in how organizational leaders in our ecosystem would perceive and extend the discussion. The group did not disappoint!
The study identified key findings around where diversity impacted innovation most and how to engage it as an individual leader and lay out a roadmap for the organization. These key findings helped open the discussion, but the more interesting pieces of information came from the small group discussions.
Small Group Discussion Takeaways
- Leverage available resources to increase diversity in leadership. For example, use a recruiting firm that specializes in placing diverse leaders in organizations.
This take away relates to findings that increasing diversity in leadership and management is really where we see the amplification of innovation. Recognize that simply adding one or a few diverse perspectives to a team may not be enough. Be wary of expecting a single voice to represent all voices in a group.
- Building networks and recruiting people into programs creates a special challenge in this era of increased remote work and service. We must continue to leverage diverse perspectives to create innovative ideas for engagement in virtual environments.
Many of the practices we have engaged in pre-covid leveraged those casual encounters to up-sell at checkout, or network through passing conversation. In the virtual world, those kinds of engagements require a new approach. Remember to reach out to the diversity of ideas within and outside of your normal channels. This could be where the ideas to do and be better are!
- Collaborating with different perspectives can increase innovation. Invite fresh voices to the table to talk, invite the quiet ones to share ideas (**bonus if you can discover what drives their reservations around speaking up).
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got” said the much-celebrated innovator, Albert Einstein. Inviting people to contribute and creating an environment where they feel comfortable accepting that invitation is a simple, but perhaps not easy practice to engage. Every person has their own perspectives on engaging and taking the time to evaluate those perspectives is a leadership activity. Ensuring we are not hearing from the same voices over and over again is vital to open communication, collaborating and cultivating the very best ideas your organization can.
The idea that diversity impacts innovation is an easy logic jump: different thinking can drive creativity which can drive innovation. And still, at the societal level we are engaged in discussions around the value of difference and finding ways to create equity. This tells me, we have the opportunity look within ourselves individually and extend that examination to our organizations and do differently. Doing differently individually and organizationally can spark that innovation every organization needs to solve challenging problems, stay relevant, and continue to add value.
Each Virtual Innovation Coffee provides the opportunity to learn something connected to innovation through lenses of culture, tools, or strategy. We open with a question to begin framing your thinking and your lenses then move into the education portion before breaking into smaller groups to process your thinking about the topic. It is the opportunity to hear other’s points of view and share ideas. Having these discussions in Iowa are so important to making Innovation not just something we talk about, but something that we integrate into our daily working lives. And they are fun.
Ways to Connect with the Virtual Innovation Coffee
If you’d like to review the video recording from the session on July 7th, follow this link!
We’d also love to see you a future discussion. Our August Virtual Innovation Coffee is on August 11th from 8-9am, register here!
Also published on Medium.