Diversity is a something we all come in contact with in our daily lives and we seek diversity because we as individuals have different tastes, preferences, ideas, and dreams. It is from this diversity that our whole world is shaped and created.
There is a myriad of new and novel restaurants, fashion designers, entertainment options, books, magazine and much more. All those businesses exist because we as humans are seeking fresh and unique experiences.
This diversity is what makes our world a beautiful place. Essentially diversity boils down to curiosity — it is the antithesis of boredom. However, diversity also serves a certain function in nature. For example, in nature biodiversity is an important key to the functioning of our planet. Each species and component of biodiversity, no matter how small, plays an important rule in the survival of our planet and the ecosystem. Similarly, in applied mathematics, when researchers build models they are looking to sample diverse regions of the space in order to get the most accurate result. This principle is also applied and extended to investments, where, on average, people like to spread their investments into a portfolio that is diversified so that we can hedge any risk of one stock or industry failing. That’s why so many people invest in the S&P 500 index, which generally works and improves the bottom line.
But what if we look at diversity from a workplace perspective – how does diversity help companies achieve their goals? A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies. The study found that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” It looked at 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. They have found that increasing diversity has a direct effect on the bottom line. Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. This finding is huge for tech companies, start-ups, and industry where innovation is the key to growth. It shows that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for, it is actually an integral part of a successful revenue generating business. Of course, this makes sense because diversity means diversity of minds, ideas, and approaches — which allows teams to find a solution that takes into account multiple angles the problem, thus making the solution stronger, well rounded and optimized. Therefore, diversity is key for company’s bottom line.
The study found that instead of focusing on a specific area of diversity, focusing on creating teams that have multiple areas of diversity has more value. So how can companies structure diverse teams? Although there is no one fit all answer, the researchers indicate that the initiatives that come from the CEO’s vision coupled with policies such as well equal pay, a culture of openness and inclusion help companies create a diverse and well-rounded environment.
Dr. Anna Powers is an entrepreneur, advisor, and an award-winning scientist. Her passion is sharing the beauty of science and encouraging women to enter STEM fields.
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