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How Diverse Teams Drive Innovation



“Why do we need a diverse and inclusive workplace?” is a question that I hear from many people working in Tech. There are many reasons why diverse and inclusive cultures are good, but one that is a particular good reason for Tech companies is that diverse teams create more innovative solutions and innovations are what Tech companies need to survive. In fact, companies with above-average diversity produce a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below average diversity (26%). This 19% innovation-related advantage translated into overall better financial performance, according to a 2018 BCG survey (https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/how-diverse-leadership-teams-boost-innovation.aspx);

Study after study show that diverse teams create more innovative solutions, they are more adept at solving difficult problems and they achieve better financial success, yet this is not common knowledge.

Throughout history, many innovations were driven by minority groups; women created some of the world leading inventions: Marie Curie changed science forever when she discovered polonium and radium which led to the development of X-rays; Ann Tsukamoto became the first researcher to identify and isolate blood-forming stem cells, which has been vital in learning more about cancer. Black people also made a huge impact through innovation: anyone who owns a Sony Playstation, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox should know Lawson's name. He created the first home video game system that used interchangeable cartridges, offering gamers a chance to play a variety of games. Valerie Thomas, in an era when girls weren't even encouraged to study math and science (a problem that still persists in the world today), Thomas eagerly sought information about technology. She would eventually earn a degree in physics and land a job at NASA in the mid-1960s, where she would work into the 1990s. In 1980 she received a patent for the illusion transmitter, an early form of 3-D technology.

There has long been evidence supporting the idea that diversity fosters innovation. The evidence is clear: companies that take the initiative and actively increase the diversity of their workforce perform better. These companies find unconventional solutions to challenges and generate more creative ideas, with a greater likelihood that these will become winning products in the market. As a result, they outperform their peers financially.

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