Diversity and Innovation…Inclusion of Minorities Can Lead to Great Rewards

Photo on 5-8-13 at 1.08 PM #3Recently I read an article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Marshall, and Laura Sherbin that discusses how diversity drives innovation.  The discussion centered on the extensive research conducted, to garner the idea, that diversity in leadership drives innovation.  Hewlett, Marshall and Sherbin assert that innovation is increased when diversity is seen as 2-D or 2 dimensional.

In a 2-D diversity environment, the assertion is the business climate allows ideas to be heard by minorities when minorities seek out leaders that can pitch their ideas and persuade those in leadership, called inherent diversity.  The second feature of 2-D is acquired diversity.  Acquired diversity, is promoting a culture that leaders need to foster a culture that embraces ideas.

I embrace the fact this study was able to ferret out what so many of us already know and believe.  Creative and innovative ideas can be found at many different levels among many different people.  Chinedu Echeruo (pronouced Chin-ay-do Ah-che-row) is a good example of a great idea that could became a billion dollar idea.  Romall Smalls in his article, How This Digital Guru Sold his Company to Apple for $1 Billion, is indicative of ideas that are conceived in the minds of minorities.

Embracing our differences, allows our minds to conceive the many ways, we can bring innovation to the forefront and change the way companies approach innovation.  Not all great ideas happen in the board room. Gaps in the market, may not be recognized by leaders that are not connected with minorities of different cultures.  We all think differently, but more importantly, we all have ideas that can lead to the next big innovative dream.


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Renee Sanders is a PhD candidate in business at Capella University, where her specialization is strategy and innovation. Renee holds an BBA and MBA from the University of Maryland University College. Renee currently works in for a defense contractor as the Director of Strategic Pricing and Price to Win.

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