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The intertwining of diversity and innovation in today's business

The intertwining of diversity and innovation in today's business
Friday, 11 May 2018

The ever-changing global economic situation is pushing more and more companies to look beyond their borders and to take on diversified features, even within their team.

Today we hear a lot about diversity and company innovation - between challenges and advantages. Can we talk about a correlation between these elements in the business?

Beginning from her personal and work experience, Rocío Lorenzo, Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group in Munich [1], questioned this matter and with her team undertook a research project, as she explained in her Ted Talk "How diversity makes team more innovative"[2].

The starting point for this research was the question of the correlation between diversities in human resources - focusing on various aspects such as nation of origin, age and gender - and innovation, in terms of profit generated by new products and services in recent years. [2]
The study, in collaboration with the University of Monaco, initially surveyed over 170 companies and then extended up to 1,700 different companies in eight countries (United States, France, Germany, China, Brazil, India, Switzerland and Austria). [3]

The results? An important statistical connection between all six dimensions of diversity and innovation results.

During the survey, favorable conditions were also considered to support diversity in businesses. Less than 40% of companies use these conditions and those who do have better scores of diversity and better innovation performance. [3]

The study illustrated that diversity is an opportunity for tangible innovation and significant growth for most companies but, at the same time, companies with strong innovative potential are inclined to hire different candidates compared to other companies. A bilateral interconnection where diversity and innovation are intertwined themselves simultaneously the one with the other, to create a strong impact in companies, encouraging different perspectives, and supporting progress in the workplace.

"So the secret of making diversity work appears to be to apply the concept at multiple levels— to address diverse dimensions of diversity, and to be open to diverse routes to achieving success.” (Rocío Lorenzo). [3]

[1] https://www.bcg.com/about/people/experts/rocio-lorenzo.aspx
[2] https://www.ted.com/talks/rocio_lorenzo_want_a_more_innovative_company_hire_more_women
[3] https://hbr.org/2018/01/how-and-where-diversity-drives-financial-performance