Are you working in an organization that values innovation and creativity? Are the leaders in your organization open to possibility? One of the most potent questions one can ask oneself in the present moment is “What new ideas can we put into action right now?” It would be best if you changed to be successful continually. How effective are you at encouraging creativity?
How well does your business strategy, leverage employee diversity in driving innovation and success? Here are a few questions to get the wheels turning:
Question for a diversity assessment in your business
- Are your customers more diverse than your employees?
- Do your teams represent different functions, generations, ideas, and thinking?
- What vehicles are in place for people to express opinions?
- Do new product ideas come from lone thinkers or diverse groups of people?
- How successful are your teams in engaging in connective thinking?
These five questions are not to be an exhaustive list. However, they are tools that you can use right away to know if there’s any connective thinking and collaboration in your business DNA. Engage your leadership team to answer these questions. While you and the team are working through the shortlist, look around the table, and ask yourself the five questions. Then compare your answers to the groups’ responses. Are you all on the same page? (Hint – it’s a trick question).
How to practice Connective Thinking
Teams must have representation from different business functions, generations, and cultures. This mix fuels connective thinking – making creative connections between disparate ideas and trends. Making creative connections between diverse ideas and trends drives success.
Team members who can learn from each other and voice divergent opinions are better prepared to innovate and achieve breakthroughs, and with innovation comes profit. In fact, companies with above-average diversity produced 19% more innovation-related revenue that companies with below-average diversity and connective thinking.
Don’t have the diverse mix that you would like? Start with ensuring that you have cross-functional representation, varying levels of experience, and allow learning from the different industries to influence the discussion.
Some key benefits of leveraging diversity in the workplace
The benefits to the business come in two key areas. The first is employee satisfaction and company reputation. At least 67% of job seekers believe that having diversity in the workplace makes them more likely to be actively involved with their job. Organizations incorporating diversity as a strategic focus find employees are more satisfied with their jobs, enthused and engaged in their work, and more inclined to stay with the organization. They see the business as a place that treats people fairly and provides career advancement opportunities.
Diversity is about more than having a representative number of people on your team from different ethnic backgrounds, religions, ages, and genders. You support variety to ensure your customers still follow you and buy your products; you have to see it lead to innovation and growth in business. Turn diversity into a competitive advantage enabling you to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace – from consumers to customers, to suppliers.
Innovation is critical for business success, and the people within the company drive its innovation process. There’s a link between having a diverse workforce and innovation that you can leverage. Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. In a diverse workplace, employees are exposed to multiple perspectives and worldviews. When these various perspectives combine, they often come together in novel ways, opening doors to innovation.
You must set the stage for significant change by creating a corporate environment that fosters such initiatives, fully engaging employees in the process by creating a corporate mindset that encourages and rewards creative work. Without such encouragement, “innovation” initiatives will fail, especially those driven from the top.
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About U Diverse’s founder:
Magali Toussaint is the founder of ‘U-Diverse’. She is a certified Talent Acquisition Strategist, an ICF-certified Leadership Consultant, a Career Coach, a Cross-Cultural Trainer, and a Job Search Strategist with an extensive career in Recruitment, HR, Diversity, as well as Education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English, and Dutch fluently. Read More...