Thursday, March 15, 2012

Diversity - hard to define, but has pretty good impact on business & innovation.

When you come across someone very innovative or creative, most probably you would be looking at an intersection of abilities and the breadth of knowledge. If you zoom out a bit, the communities which are rich in diversity are also fun to be in. Take it to another level and you will find companies which are most innovative are also the ones who support diversity – not by chance but pretty much by design.

However diversity is not an overnight change which you can bring into your community or a company.

Let’s examine ‘Why’ diversity has such positive impact and ‘How’ you can make sure you are not leaving this important aspect unaddressed and how you can benefit from it in your quest for the business growth and innovation.

WHY (diversity has positive impact)

a) It all starts from a very unique environment and culture we as individuals are brought up in . The world is so big that no single community can survive with the same outlook, practices and tools. This  localized and trapped knowledge is pretty much accessible via the people who move around the world.

b) Heard of bio-mimicry, the science of looking at nature and solving problems not related to nature or taking an inspiration and innovate. Diversity is a tool using which one can think from different perspectives, which as we all know can result in inventions.

c) Most probably your company strategy is somewhere trying to capture the long tail of a market, you probably need a similar strategy for your research and development activities, where you can reach out to the long tail of talent, the just in time, and the right match and just for the period you really need it.

HOW (you can promote diversity)

a) Companies do not have a bias in their hiring policies, but the person in control could pretty much influence the not so diverse hiring, best place to retrospect. Though one way to bring in diversity is to bring in people from diverse background, another important way is to reach out to them and engage with them in a mutually beneficial way for a short duration of time.

b) Apply tools which bring in diversity, talk to the wrong people (assuming you have already spoken to the right people!), pick the odd country and imagine your product and services there, may not be for your expansion but just to get away from stereotype market you see around you. You may not be able to build a machine which flies like a bee, but you will surely find an idea for improvement, get inspired, and possibly get close to where you want to be.

c) Long tail of a talent match is all about spreading it wide and letting the receiver decide if he or she would like to engage.  Diversify from your conventional methods of engagements; the good news is it does not cost the earth in this connected world.

ideaken enables your engagement with individuals from diverse geographies, connect to the perceived wrong set of people and engage with someone who could be at the long tail you are after!


  1. Jayesh: very interesting. may I post it on out blog quoting you?

  2. Thanks for your kind words Carlos, I replied to you privetly.

  3. This is very true. I can see it every moment in the company I work, in the city I live and in the country I live. Diversity can lead to a successful entrepreneurship and finally to well being and prosperity for the most of community.

  4. Thanks, Alex. Diversity in science of materials and technology along the path of a career means high odds of success and love for old and new projects. Satisfaction becomes close to happiness, happiness is a cradle of creativity and research.
    This is still true near to the end of the path.

  5. Nice post - and a very interesting topic.

    An interesting trend for some to actually seek to iron out and remove differences or styles and think that by doing so, you create an innovative, united, collaborative culture. Yet - in the search for a 'common culture' the danger is that the individual quirkyness, passions and styles are lost.

    In fact: Its diversity and merging that stimulates. Different cultures, different thinking styles, introverts, extroverts, leaders and followers - that is what is needed to build a culture of discovery. You don't just want 10 engineers or 10 marketers - you need the mix to help ideas merge. Innovation comes from dialogue, not monologue. From multicultural, not monocultural. In music, science, art, - what is needed is more difference of opinions and discussions, seeking 'outrospection' - not introspection.

    The writer Steven Johnson published a superb book called Where Do Good Ideas Come From - where he clearly identifies the importance of connecting and merging of ideas and inventions in creating innovations.