WRITTEN BY:Marilyn Barefoot
Diversity is key to creativity. Not just diversity in your workplace, but also in your personal life.
It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.
Diversity can improve the bottom line of organizations, and lead to incredible discoveries and breakthrough innovations.
In fact, many people consider diversity one of the most important ingredients for creative thinking!
When you are looking for solutions to a problem (virtually all creativity is the result of trying to solve some kind of problem), your brain will automatically work with information that is related to the problem. It defaults to the patterns that are known and comfortable.
So, if you want to get creative, you need to diversify your thinking and encourage your mind to look for information associated with completely unrelated concepts.
Tests have shown that the one way of improving your creativity is to move. Not travel, but move. Living in a new culture, learning new ways of doing things and diversifying your life, immediately makes you more creative.
There are quite a few examples of creative individuals who did their best work while they were living abroad. Picasso, Handel, Hemingway and Stravinsky all created their most well-regarded work while living in foreign countries.
In the workplace diverse teams produce more creative results than teams in which all members are from a similar background.
Hire people with diverse backgrounds, education, knowledge and experience.
Better yet, hire people from other countries and cultures. Not only do such people provide diversity within your workplace, but each of them will also have diverse networks whose knowledge they can tap in order to solve problems.
Deep-level diversity is critical.
Usually, diversity focuses on demographics (e.g., gender, age, and race).
But, the most interesting and influential aspects of diversity are psychological (e.g., personality, values, and abilities), known as deep-level diversity.
Focusing on deep-level diversity as opposed to demographic diversity will carry you further.
Demographic variables perpetuate stereotypical and prejudiced characterizations.
Deep-level diversity focuses on the individual, providing a much deeper understanding of human diversity.
The bottom line is being around people who are different from us makes us more creative and innovative!