December 9, 2021

Driving Innovation in Organizations through Diversity & Inclusion

CXOToday published an article by Ramesh Kalanje that dives into how diversity and inclusion is more necessary than ever to drive innovation in today’s rapidly changing technology focused environment.  In the present business landscape, creativity is critical for generating new ideas, and those creative minds encompass a diverse and inclusive workforce that enable unique experiences, capabilities, collaboration, innovation and creative thinking.


Adding in the pandemic induced challenges, organizations have had to re-imagine operations, build resiliency and test remote working models.  However, these pandemic challenges have allowed for robust opportunities to hire, include and collaborate with a larger diverse talent pool that would have been much tougher to tap into under traditional operating structures.  This opportunity to hire more diverse talent pools and focus on inclusiveness has enabled companies to be more agile, more creative, and higher performing.


Kalanje dives deeper into three topics in his article:


Inclusivity for Innovation

The relationship between diversity and innovation is becoming more and more apparent on a global scale.  In the latest PwC Diversity and Inclusion Survey, 75% of the total businesses surveyed recognized investment in D&I programs a top priority.  As the demands of different genders, social classes, education and ethnicity become more complex, there is a need to tap into creative solutions that take in the experiences, visions, and perspectives of a wide range of people.


An example of this is using AI-driven recruitment tools that enable companies to eliminate unconscious human bias from the hiring process.  Awareness and care need to be taken into account to develop unbiased algorithms that alleviate human biases.  Kalanje argues that if the AI design is crafted in a way that is inclusive, then the fear of AI replicating human bias is not a concern.  Additionally, more companies are viewing these efforts as part of their on-going business operations and realizing that this builds competitive differentiation.


The DIY Toolkit for Business Success

A diverse and inclusive workforce can provide their company with a clearer understanding of the markets it serves, the pain points of their target demographics and provide opportunities to tackle those issues.  The value of diversity and inclusion is increasing and unlocks the potential of their labor force to serve the diverse needs of their customers.


Kalanje provides an example of the impact of diversity and inclusion – when airbags were first introduced in cars, smaller sized drivers and children were not considered in design testing and simulations.  Then the U.S. started testing different sized models for collision simulations and that later caught on globally, helping save many lives.  A diverse team can lead to better decision-making, greater innovation, and higher engagement in the workplace.


Innovation is about People

Companies that have won innovative social impact solution awards often credit their success to a diverse team that created solutions they wanted to solve for themselves in their own life.  These diverse teams brought different perspectives to positively impact their target demographic and are also uniquely positioned to invent newer ways to leverage emerging technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, robotics and AI.  Kalanje closes that at its best, technology can help reduce bias, bring diversity into talent pools, and support the benchmarking of diversity and inclusion metrics.


To read the full article, click here.  If you’re interested in starting your business school application journey, contact us today!