Milan van den Bovenkamp

Publish Date

2nd of November 2017

Why diversity makes the people in your organisation smarter and Brighter

diversity tech product teams technology

Countless researches by scientists, psychologists, sociologists and economists operating within organisations show that diverse sets of people together in groups are more effective and innovative than groups with the same people. Diversity works!

Diversity meaning; a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

When people are brought together to solve problems in groups, they bring different information, opinions and perspectives.

Imagine yourself at a dinner party, Do you find it hard to explain what you do—day in and day out—to someone from another field. If your answer is no, you probably don’t really level with the person you’re explaining it to. If your answer is yes you can safely assume you’re trying your best to have the other person understand what you’re doing—and would that just be the whole point of this article.

You are trying your best to have others understand what you’re doing, and in turn you’re learning to elaborate, and you’re actually learning about your product, service or business.

In every industry, not only in tech, it’s a challenge to elaborate on the details of your work to someone not in the field.

For me personally, such a dinner party; those awkward conversations are the best place to test out ideas. To feel the water of that what you’re thinking is amazing, could be something utterly stupid by the person that is outside of the field. For me as an entrepreneur, designer, whatever.

You will work harder on explaining what you mean and anticipating alternatives than you would have otherwise. You have to push yourself, and that grows your muscle that is your brain.

We need diversity—in teams, organisations and society as a whole—if we are to change, grow and innovate.

How can you actually promote diversity?

The culture is your foundation of your company, are you actively promoting diversity, or are you just putting people together in a room?

There’s ‘only’ three things to remember when you’re hiring someone:

  • Hard skills, is the person qualified to the job or can she/he learn the skill relatively quickly
  • Soft skills, how does he/she fit the other people, do they interact appropriately, is there a click?
  • Diversity, is the person experienced in the field you have a business, or maybe in a different field? Take into account her/his background

The combination of these three things are key in a great hiring spree. Hire a diverse person in your team, and not only your business thrives, but also the people that are on your team already! The science behind it is clear, diversity makes us smarter!

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working

A 400 year old example of diversity.

The Netherlands, with Amsterdam as its capital, brought in and welcomed shiploads of different people. Because of this, Amsterdam became one of the most liberal cities in the world. Is that why ‘we’ started the first worldwide financial institution 59 years before any other country (Sweden, and then England) did so?

The Bank of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Wisselbank), established in the Dutch Republic in 1609. This first worldwide central bank started here because people had trust in the future and in other people, they together designed systems that worked for the whole world, not only for the people around the block.

I was not born back then (who was, and is still alive?), but I would safely assume these elaborate schemes were possible because the people were innovative, diverse and above all curious in other people and cultures.

Give your ideas and innovations a better chance, surround yourself with opinions that challenge your thinking, maybe even a team that ‘extends your thinking‘!

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