For years, math professors struggled to demonstrate a hyperbolic plane. The concept is simple enough; it’s a surface with a constant negative curvature that resembles a lettuce leaf or other natural forms. But creating one that didn’t promptly start rotting was hard… until Cornell professor Daina Taimina crocheted one.
This is just one example of why diversity and inclusion are fundamental to innovation strategy. Our webinar “Diversity + Equity x Inclusion = Innovative Thinking,” November 19th at 10am Pacific time, lays out why diverse and equitable organizations have the edge when it comes to finding new solutions to difficult problems.
What Is Radical Inclusion?
From an innovation perspective, radical inclusion is ensuring both that as many voices as possible have a place at the meetings and discussions that form your innovation strategy, and that those voices are valued and listened to. Unfortunately, we often live in a world that is radically exclusive, from poorly placed curb cuts making it difficult for a person in a wheelchair to get into a building to social media “automatic responses” that assume a specific vernacular for a person based on what an algorithm guesses is their race.
Radical inclusion reverses this, and the results speak for themselves.
There’s a long list of studies that find the practical value of diverse, equitable corporate strategy, policy, and membership. Interestingly, it’s not just that different groups bring different views; it’s that every group at the table thinks harder about how to incorporate those perspectives. And there are studies to back it up:
- A meta-study of diverse group research featured in Scientific American found that there was more creative thinking, problem-solving, and innovation, especially when faced with complex problems outside the normal experience of a group.
- A study of “out-group newcomers” in groups run by Northwestern and BYU found they stimulated performance gains because they made the rest of the group consider new perspectives and freshen their thinking.
- A University of Michigan professor created a simulation that proved being open to a range of solutions was more effective than simply concentrating as much intelligence as possible on one problem.
- A Tufts analysis of racially diverse mock juries found that the more diverse a jury was, the more detailed its analysis and the more time was taken to arrive at conclusions.
In other words, the evidence has shown that diverse groups solve problems better both by offering different approaches to a challenge and encouraging others to think about their usual approach to that challenge.
About The Webinar
IdeaScale’s Jessica Day will moderate as Bruce Fern and Natalie Jenkins of the Change-Ready Institute present on diversity in innovation strategy.
Bruce has spent years in the corporate world, including stints at IBM and New York Life, and founded the institute to fill a need he saw for radical inclusion in business. Natalie brings decades of experience in innovation to her role as Strategic Partner at Change-Ready. Both have experienced the whole range of the corporate world and apply that experience to their discussion of why inclusion is crucial to innovation.