Collective genius

Over the course of the summer, I wrote a couple of posts that examined the impact of unpaid internships on diversity and the impact of monoculture on editorial effectiveness. I later extended those thoughts to examine the blindness shown in creating an "oral history" of disruption at many American newspapers – a recounting told by the people who could offer only one side of the story.

Last month, the Stanford Social Innovation Review posted the results of a study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation. Their work "suggests that the engine of innovation resides in the collective genius of diverse teams managed by leaders who value perspectives and approaches outside their own experience or expertise."

The study found that:

  • Diversity is two-dimensional, reflecting both inherent and acquired traits 
  • Diverse teams drive innovation: "Companies with both dimensions are 75% more likely to have a marketable idea implemented"
  • Diverse leaders in these organizations unlock innovation: Their firms are 70% more likely to capture a new market

A detailed chart amplifying these claims is included in the post.

Admittedly, I lean left on topics like this, but I make these arguments with the sense that good business is built from a commitment to organizational diversity. The data backs it up, but we still work in an industry where the vast majority of leaders and many followers remain white men. That reality might be the reason the Center for Talent Innovation says we are "looking for innovation in all the wrong places".

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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