It got me thinking about collaboration in my day-to-day. Whether it’s listening to users from all walks of life for project research or internal workshops involving team members from three different generations, it’s invaluable to hear from diverse people.
Diversity is the difference, and inclusion is leveraging those differences.
Accepting different perspectives and having constructive conversations is fundamental to creative solutions, ideas, art and so much more. Communicating within a diverse and inclusive environment helps ensure everyone feels heard, safe, and accepted, both in your professional and personal spaces.
Studies even show that being around a diverse group of people makes us more creative, diligent, hardworking, and smarter.
A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.
We’re seeing diversity in collaboration pop up more and more. We’ve seen local governments empower their constituents by using civil engagement platforms, directly tapping into locals’ knowledge and experience. In New Zealand in 2013, Mayor Steve Chadwick was elected into the Rotorua Lake Council, after she pushed for community-led development. Civil engagement helped the council and community to unpack, imagine and achieve better decisions together.
It’s becoming more prominent in popular culture too. Unless you lived under a rock a month or so ago, you would have come across those fancy hands-free Nikes. While Nike marketed these as an easy alternative for busy people, the shoes were actually inspired by a young guy with cerebral palsy. Matthew is a disability advocate and worked closely with Nike over several years to provide feedback on what was (and perhaps more importantly: what wasn’t) working in the various prototypes. His part in the collaboration strongly shaped the shoe that’s so popular today.
The lack of collaboration and consultation from diverse perspectives can also be very apparent, like the three German guys inventing a menstruation product no one asked for. But aside from the silly blunders, I’m looking forward to seeing more and more success stories on diverse collaborations around the world.