- Realizing the potential of diverse perspectives
- A practical guide to including diverse perspectives
- Step 1: Seek out diversity
- Step 2: Check yo'self with key questions
- Step 3: Test your ideas with diverse groups
- Take action now
- Additional Resources
What is this for? Facilitating groups of people to solve challenges together is an important part of innovation. This guide will help you understand exactly how to build diversity in collaboration, innovation and decision-making. Mindset and core principles Collaboration can have a limited impact if the people who are collaborating have similar perspectives and backgrounds.
Collaboration should include individuals with a broad range of characteristics, backgrounds, skills and experiences. There is greater opportunity for more impactful ideas and, as a result, better business outcomes.
Realizing the potential of diverse perspectives
The MBM Guiding Principles, in particular Knowledge, Humility and Respect, provide a framework that encourages appreciation of the value of diversity and can help us realize our objectives by enabling employees to contribute to the fullest extent of their abilities. The benefits from a diverse workforce may not occur automatically. Obstacles to realizing diversity’s potential could limit openness to new ideas. Further reading: MBM: The Value of Diversity
When we accept we don't (can't) possess all the knowledge ourselves, we are able to invites others in to build greater shared knowledge, together.
It's common to feel pressure to impress, to achieve, and to show we can solve problems. But when we are humble enough to accept we might be wrong we open a door to inspiration and innovation.
...is a conscious choice to give due regard to the feelings, wishes, or rights of others. Allowing other's opinions to challenge us is the key to learning and enabling breakthroughs.
When like meets like, there is no creative spark; but when like collides with unlike, there is often a small frisson of inspiration. - Gary Hamel
A practical guide to including diverse perspectives
"Companies with inclusive talent practices generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors" - Deloitte Insights
Step 1: Seek out diversity
When starting any new project, innovation initiative, or workshop:
- Seek out a variety of mindsets (even opposing ones)
- Seek out different roles and levels to participate:
- A manager ... and a junior employee
- A veteran ... and a new recruit
- A sales person ... and customer support person ... AND a customer!
Step 2: Check yo'self with key questions
At any point in your project (recommended monthly) ask yourself a few simple questions to expose any potential biases or blind-spots.
- Is there any person or team I haven't thought about that could be worth including?
- Am I avoiding asking someone to join because their perspective might differ from mine?
- Can I avoid conflict (or roadblocks) later by bringing someone in earlier?
Step 3: Test your ideas with diverse groups
This is a crucial step. Becoming locked in to our ideas is one of the most common causes of failure. If someone could become a blocker for your idea down the line, try including them in the process and tackling the challenge head on.
"The more tests your team runs, the more ideas they should get for new tests." - Harvard Business Review
- Before you get too far ahead, mock-up your ideas (e.g. a draft doc, concept sketch, slide deck...)
- Schedule a 30 min meeting with 2-3 people (or more) from adjacent teams / groups.
Take action now
Think of an initiative you are working on right now. Ask yourself these questions and see if there's anything you might do differently:
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