There has been much written and said in recent years about the importance of diversity. How teams perform better when there is a more equal balance of genders, or how reflecting the ethnic make-up of a local population breaks down community barriers. Neither of which is untrue. But when we typically think about diversity we consider nationality, race, age and gender. That is lazy thinking. Categorising people in those ways may work wonders for the corporate image but it assumes homogeneity among those groups which is kind of an anathema to the original intention.
There is however a different type of diversity that matters, particularly in the realm of problem solving. It’s cognitive diversity. Essentially everyone has a different way of thinking and finding solutions to problems. This could be based on how we process information, whether we are visually or auditory inclined and our individual experiences in life will all shape we solve those problems.
In business and marketing, where innovation is a key driver of success this has never been more important. For a simple problem one single person might possess all the information needed. But as problems become more complex no one individual will have all the relevant insights. So maybe you look to your wider team? But if you’ve recruited a team of clones (and its certainly more comfortable to work with people like you) then you won't have that range of experiences. Demographically diverse can still be cognitively uniform if, for example you’ve recruited from just one University.
Ultimately there isn’t one single way to solve any given problem and think innovatively which is why tapping into those with alternative experiences allows different, and sometimes unconventional, problem-solving skills to shine through.
It’s why BeenThereDoneThat has created a community of the most diverse creative thinkers from around the world. When we work on your particular problem you’ll be happy to know that whilst someone has direct experience of your brand or competitor, and another may have worked in your category, there will always be others who may not even have heard of you. It’s how we solve your marketing problems, innovatively and quickly.
The US Navy’s office of strategy & innovation (yes, that’s a thing) sums it up perfectly for us. "Innovation requires the ability to question norms, synthesise different views and collaborate to develop unique and powerful solutions. Cognitive diversity is the DNA of innovation."
Big shifts need great minds. But great minds don’t think alike. It’s worth thinking about.