Diversity Creates Wealth Part II

You can click here for Part I (on gender diversity creating wealth).

Differentness comes in many forms: age, culture, ethnicity, thinking style, life experience, language, gender, etc. As Vice President of the Tampa Bay International Business Council, I work towards including our many diverse communities into the Tampa Bay economy, because this inclusion is a guarantee of growth and prosperity for the region.

My company, CPS, also trains fluency and inclusion of differentness, culture, generations, and diversity of every kind, because this is a guarantee of growth, innovation, security and development for the businesses and people of the Tampa Bay region.

The facts speak for themselves. More than half of the Silicon Valley companies founded in the past decade were led by at least one immigrant, according to a new study on the contributions of foreign-born entrepreneurs.

Nationwide in the US, about a quarter of technology and engineering companies created from 1995 through 2004 had at least one foreign-born founder, according to the report by Duke University’s Master of Engineering Management program.

The Duke University report expanded on a  study by UC Berkeley Professor Anna Lee Saxenian, which found that foreign-born scientists and engineers played a critical role in the growth of the California economy, particularly in Silicon Valley.

Successful innovators everywhere seek differentness, and invite new perspectives, input, and insights from the different minds in their organizations. They grow a culture of collaboration and critical thinking. They fight homogeneity and group-think as the path to stagnation, same-old-same-old or The Bay of Pigs (the classic case study of similar thinking people, who were not challenged by different perspectives).

Along with seeking differentness, successful organizations learn the ability to hear even soft murmurs from non-mainstream team members. One of Nissan’s most successful designs was created when the entire staff of NDI was brought out to see what was wrong with a model. A shy secretary mentioned quietly that the car looked sad: a simple redesign of the headlight angles was the key requirement.

Great companies walk the walk of growing their people from the (normal, human) position that most people occupy, which is  comfort with their own culture.  It is not easy to take the journey to recognizing, accepting, adapting to and integrating with other cultures or forms of diversity.  Good organizations provide innovative, enjoyable training and coaching that guides their people and supports them on this path. Ultimately, this helps everyone grow, to think in new ways, and to be ready to serve new markets and new customers in a multi-cultural, multi-generational and global world.

Differentness, distance and innovation require a set of thinking tools that are seldom taught in the US education system. However, once they are learned, these become key assets in 21st century business growth, innovation and project success. As they are learned, they also seep into homes and communities, improving the quality of life outside work, and preparing new generations for our ever-more complex world.

Tampa Bay is home to nearly 130 different ethnic and national groups – a wealth of differentness that can fuel an explosion of growth and innovation if we place a solid value on inclusion and diversity.

The Tampa Bay International Business Council is committed to this work – it delivers, but also values all the help we can get.

Competency & Performance Solutions is an innovative, exciting and affordable learning resource that delivers strong, sustainable and measurable  results within the area of differentness, thinking, management and communication. Call us at 813 598 9184.

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