Developing diversity to drive Innovation

New research provides compelling evidence that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.

Most of us would accept that organisations benefit from diversity, but a recent HBR article provides solid evidence that organisations whose leaders exhibit at least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits (2-D diversity)… unlock innovation by creating an environment where “outside the box” ideas are heard.

Companies lacking this diversity in leadership miss out on crucial market opportunities.

Inherent diversity involves traits you are born with, such as gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Acquired diversity involves traits you gain from experience.

The research indicates Inherent diversity is only half of the equation. Leaders also need Acquired diversity to establish a culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas.

The report lists six behaviours that unlock innovation across the board, and clearly demonstrates the value of diversity in organisational leaders. 

The question then is how do leaders ‘acquire’ diversity traits?

Living in another country, engaging with people you don’t normally work with, or bringing diverse brainstorming groups together all help. But Leadership Victoria community leadership programs, particularly Williamson and Folio, have diversity embedded into their DNA, and are excellent examples of the formalized development of diversity traits in leaders.

These programs not only have participants from all sections of the community, who share their own diversity over a year of unbelievable learning experiences, they are also introduced to multiple facets of community diversity as part of the programs’ structure.

Leadership Victoria programs have been described as ‘transformational’, exposing participants to a world they seldom see. This experience helps make them 2-D leaders, ready willing and able to take their organisation to new levels of success.

How does your organisation rate on the diversity scale?

Read the HBR article:

The 2015 Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP) is now open for entries. This highly regarded program attracts the best and brightest leaders from a range of backgrounds. Places are strictly limited. Applications close 31 August 2014.

FYI: I was a participant in the very first WCLP run in 1990, and have been involved in various ways for 25 years now.