Based on all The Brainzooming Group experience in helping clients generate new ideas and innovative strategies, diversity is vital to successful creative thinking activities.
Many organizations and people make decisions, however, leading to squandering diversity. Maybe it’s because there’s comfort in being with others like themselves.
When Very Few Things Are Not Like the Other
For example, at one of our client creative thinking workshops there wasn't any diversity to spare. The predominant "type" of person was a Caucasian male with many years of business experience. The group did include several different sales groups. There were a few women, a handful of native-Spanish speakers, and, based on my recollection of the large audience, no African Americans, however.
So how did the participants sit in the large room for the creative thinking activities?
The few women tended to sit together, as did the handful of native-Spanish speakers. There was a one significant group of guys that were new to the organization; they bunched up in one spot. The sales groups all tended to sit together so audience members that worked together, stayed together. The Canadian were also largely grouped in pockets throughout the audience.
This audience-selected seating arrangement was comfortable and familiar, but it wound up squandering diversity when there was precious little diversity to spare.
To demonstrate the wasted potential and importance of diversity to creative thinking activities, midway through the creative thinking workshop, we used a Brainzooming exercise to identify individuals with the most and least experience with the company. One woman had 37 years with the company; a native-Spanish-speaking male had one week under his belt. After identifying these two, we gave each of them a pair of orange, "I am creative" notes to self® socks and invited them to move to reserved, front row seats to work together and learn from each other during the remainder of the creative thinking workshop!
I would have loved to take the time to completely re-arrange the audience, but that wasn’t a possibility. At least we made the point about diversity's impact on creative thinking activities through re-seating these two participants to emphasize how they were squandering diversity and the opportunity to learn and work with people different than themselves.
3 Questions to Stop Squandering Diversity in Creative Thinking Activities
Let me ask a few questions:
- Does your organization have all the diversity it needs to uncover creativity and innovative strategies?
- Are you squandering diversity within your organization by allowing people to avoid interacting with people that know varied things and think differently from each other?
- If the answers to the first two questions are “no” and “yes,” respectively, are you ready to formulate a plan to change your organization's bad habits and realize more impact from creative thinking activities?
Diversity is a terrible thing to waste. - Mike Brown
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