Find out how diversity makes us more innovative, more productive and smarter, while ultimately making us stronger.
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When people say “diversity” they’re generally referring to three things: race, sex, and sexual orientation, and increasingly, people are referring to gender identification. But diversity is also about something else that it’s important we remember. It’s also about thinking differently, about looking at the world in different ways.
This kind of diversity -- diversity of thought -- is the hidden advantage of diversity because it better enables us to solve complex problems. Complex problems come in lots of different forms: How do I grow grow my business? How do we decrease poverty in our county? How do we reduce carbon emissions? All of these are complex problems -- they’re incredibly stubborn and difficult to solve. These kinds of problems are so difficult that they have not been solved and most efforts to will fail.
The key to solving problems like these is to try lots of different tactics until you finally find something that works. And that’s what diversity gives us -- it gives us lots of angles from which to attack problems.
So how do we think more diversely? By incorporating different paradigms. A paradigm is how you see the world, it’s your outlook. So a politician, a writer, a technologist all interpret the world in different ways -- that’s their paradigm.
People with different paradigms use different tools, different problem solving methods. So a politician thinks in terms of policies and public support, a writer thinks in stories, a technologist thinks in hardware and software -- so they use these kinds of tools to solve problems.
So diverse thinkers have different paradigms -- different ways of looking at the world -- and this means they use different tools to solve problems.
But diverse thinkers and diverse groups have more advantages because they can also cooperate and compete with each other.
So for instance, if Business A doesn’t have one kind of tool, it can tap into another business who does -- they can cooperate. And Business A also has to compete with Business, B, C, D and so on. And the winner of this contest will likely be better, cheaper and/or faster.
Now what’s sometimes forgotten about diversity is that it incorporates different, conflicting ideologies -- people with different paradigms who may not get along very well.
So it’s liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, the religious, the non-religious, all finding ways to peacefully compete and cooperate. Each will win at different times because their tools will be better suited to certain problems. And if they can’t win enough, their paradigm will be phased out over time.
Diversity is the strength of democracies, free markets, and open platforms. Diversity tends to beat less diverse rivals. And it doesn’t win because it’s right, because it’s just, or because it’s moral. It might be all those things, but that isn’t why it wins. Diversity wins because it is a better way to solve complex problems.
It’s more innovative, it’s more productive, it’s more adaptive, and it’s smarter. It makes us stronger because it allows us to cooperate with some groups, while forcing us to compete with others.
When you’re trying to solve difficult, complex problems beware of groupthink and echo chambers. Consider how you can become more diverse, how you can incorporate different paradigms and different tools.