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Mix that Matters - Innovation through Diversity

There are many articles written on the impact of diversity to an organisation.  While most have some form of research underpinning their findings rarely have I seen analysis as complete as what BCG and the Technical University of Munich did in respect to understand the relationship between diversity in management and innovation. The following are the major findings:

  • The positive relationship between management diversity and innovation is statistically significant, meaning that companies with higher levels of diversity get more revenue from new products and services.
  • The innovation boost isn’t limited to a single type of diversity. The presence of managers who are female or from other countries, industries, or companies can cause an increase in innovation.
  • Management diversity seems to have a particularly positive effect on innovation at complex companies—those that have multiple product lines or that operate in multiple industry segments. Diversity’s impact also increases with company size.
  • To reach its potential, gender diversity needs to go beyond tokenism. In our study, innovation performance only increased significantly when the workforce included a nontrivial percentage of women (more than 20%) in management positions. Having a high percentage of female employees doesn’t do anything for innovation, the study shows, if only a small number of women are managers.
  • At companies with diverse management teams, openness to contributions from lower-level workers and an environment in which employees feel free to speak their minds are crucial in fostering innovation.

A longer than normal article but well worth the read.  With great data charts such as: -

Comments by Mary Sue Rogers

Posted On : 13-05-17

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