How to Use Diversity to Drive Innovation in Your Business | NAWBO

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How to Use Diversity to Drive Innovation in Your Business

Walk by the business section in a bookstore or flip through your newspaper’s business section and you’re likely to see the word “diversity” somewhere. It’s a buzzword that’s been gaining the focus of business leaders everywhere¾and for good reason. In fact, recent research has proven that diversity not only enhances positive working cultures, but it also drives innovation and market growth for businesses.

Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review evaluated two forms of diversity: inherent (traits you are born with) and acquired (traits developed through experience). The study evaluated the performance of companies with both kinds of diversity, finding that those employees are 45 percent more likely to report market share growth and 70 percent more likely to report a newly captured market.

Here are some additional highlights from the study:

  • 78 percent of respondents work at companies that lack inherent and acquired diversity in leadership.
  • Without diverse leadership, women are 20 percent less likely to win endorsement for their ideas than straight white men. LGBT employees are 21 percent less likely.
  • A team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152 percent more likely to understand that client than another team.
  • Employees in a “speak up” culture are 3.5 times as likely to contribute their full innovative potential.

So how do you boost diversity in your business? Get started with these tips, which were found in this study to be directly correlated to unlock innovation:

  • Make it safe to propose novel ideas
  • Give team members decision-making authority
  • Share credit for success
  • Give actionable feedback
  • Implement feedback from your team

To read the full study findings, please visit https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation