Local Government Magazine
Technical Briefings

Diversity powers innovation

This presentation, Diversity powers innovation – welcome to your much brighter future and some serious competitive advantage, won the E J (Ted) Hooper Medal for the best overall paper at the 2017 IPWEA International Public Works Conference in Perth recently. The award was presented at the inaugural IPWEA Australasia Excellence Awards. By Calibre Consulting’s Priyani de Silva-Currie & Samantha Almeida.

If you believe that you have to be smarter or have clever ideas to innovate, think again. Although those attributes help you, the most powerful but least understood force for innovation is diversity. It’s truly the best possible competitive advantage you’ll ever have and one of the easiest to uptake. If fostering creativity, guiding business strategy, promoting out-of-the-box thinking, and encouraging new ideas, services and products are important to you, you need to hear our story.
Our full paper:

  1. Explains why diversity trumps ability, powers innovation and provides a redefinition of top talent.
  2. Provides evidence that those organisations who invest in diversity have better results.
  3. Discusses barriers that prevent effective diversity within New Zealand workplaces.
  4. Provides helpful tips on how to increase diversity within your organisation.

We live and work in a super-diverse country, our aim is to open some doors for you. When you choose to walk through, you won’t look back.
Having people in your organisation who are diverse is your greatest competitive advantage. But born diversity or having what we call inherent diversity will only achieve so much. Organisations also need acquired diversity, a genuine appreciation of difference, and an established culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas.
Success and growth are dependent on an organisation’s ability to continually innovate. Contrary to the belief that innovation requires smarter people, the reality is that innovation requires thinking differently. Diversity therefore trumps ability and is the greatest force in innovation and your best possible competitive advantage.
In a world where globalisation is increasing, organisations with greater levels of diversity are performing better. Not only do they have better financial results, they have the ability to think outside the box, better understand their clients and employees, understand unmet needs in under-leveraged markets, make the most of market opportunities, have a broad strategic perspective, and attract and retain the top talent. Uptake of diversity is one of the easiest investments you will ever make.
Diversity is an essential part of a healthy organisational culture. While many organisations have made efforts to increase diversity in their workplaces, many barriers still exist that prevent effective diversity within workplaces. Authentic leadership is key. Diversity starts at the top table and flows to all.
Acceptance, tolerance and communication which embraces different perspectives is the answer to increase your competitive advantage and improve innovation.
Steve Jobs said, “The source of wealth and capital in this new era is not material things … it is the human mind, the human spirit, the human imagination and our faith in the future.”
When organisations invest in diversity and inspire their employees to have diversity of thought and perspective to generate value in an inclusive culture, only then does true innovation thrive.

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