A bouquet of people

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Diversity, diversity, diversity. We always emphasize how important it is to embrace and live it. But it’s not our intrinsic need to lecture people, that makes us emphasize this point over and over again. Sticking strictly to the workplace, diversity is highly beneficial to your success.

Diversity can mean a lot of things and different types of diversity benefit different aspects of your work. For example you can have a diversity of experts advising you on your project. However, if your goal is to be innovative, social diversity is the key.

According to Scientific American decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.”

Business professors Cristian Deszö and David Ross at the University of Maryland and Columbia University respectively, conducted studies about gender diversity in big firms. They found that “female representation in top management leads to an increase of $42 million in firm value.”

Another study that was conducted by Orlando Richard in 2003, showed that racial diversity can lead to an increased financial performance.

Now, these studies were all conducted in the US but examples on the benefits of diversity can be found globally. In 2012 researchers at the Credit Suisse Research Institute examined 2360 companies globally. They discovered that companies with one or more women on the board delivered many benefits one of these being better average growth.

So as you can see, there are many studies about social diversity. You could probably spend a whole week reading all of them. But they all come to the same conclusion: In order to ensure the success of your endeavor and to truly innovate, you need to fill your teams with socially diverse people.

You may ask “but how is it that these different people actually help me? How can they be so much better than hiring one social group?” Well, the answer is simple. They not only bring new information to the table, but it’s actually proven that simply being in a team with diverse people forces members to prepare better, to anticipate different viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take some effort.

Are you familiar with the concepts of Humanity + and Humanity – companies? The former are companies that exist for the purpose of making money but in a way that harms people for example fast food companies. On the other hand, Humanity + companies are there to actually provide a service to everybody and have a positive effect on our society. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be able to make a contribution. By working at a Humanity + company you can combine something you like doing with doing something good. And truthfully, by doing something you love you may realize that money is not everything. It will not give you happiness but working on something you believe in and through that living diversity will.

Now, after all of this if you are still not convinced about the benefits of a diverse team, then I don’t think there’s anything left to say. Maybe spend that week reading those studies. For all those who do agree, your future endeavors are likely to be more successful.

Are you living diversity?

For more information visit www.aiesec.org


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