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Innovation is a mindset achieved through diversity.

Innovation being a mindset speaks to creating a culture and a work environment that encourages ideation and people to be continually creative. This means allowing yourself and/or your employees to be free and to utilize the resources and support to explore how to adapt in the disruptive environment. Thus, finding new ways for processes and systems within the organizations that are efficient and effective to meet the needs and solve problems, for both the business and customers. To make innovation a mindset, an organization must be deliberate about it, by incorporating into their daily practice and core business. This can be cultivated by being deliberate about diversifying the workforce so as to allow for different ideas, perspectives, and biographical characteristics to generate new ideas and solutions to existing and/or future systems and processes.

As such, diversity is an essential characteristic to innovation. This means, knowing how to bring various people of various talents, backgrounds, thoughts, education, and other intersectionality’s is an important aspect to innovating. These various aspects of differentiation allow for challenging and disrupting the status quo and systems based on these differences which can lead to new ways of doing, being and surviving – innovation and, meeting business and customer needs. The need for diversity allows for collaboration which taps into the collective potential for innovation. By embracing diversity, organizations can build high performing teams which can lead to growth because this means that people will provide different opinions which will lead to new ideas to resolve business and customer problems. In my opinion, diversity is important not only because it foster innovation and improve performance but may increase a sense of belonging and increase employee engagement which plays a significant role in organizational outcomes.

So, to innovate, do not only be deliberate about diversity but be deliberate in setting up structures and practices and investing in resources and systems that will allow the company to resolve not only current but future problems. As a founder or an organization, you must make innovation part of their strategy, create a culture that encourages ideation and creativity and set up clear processes and capabilities for innovation. This means that as founder or a leader of business, you must be deliberate in innovation and your recruitment and acquisition to ensure their future businesses and survival.

How do we do this?

  1. Create Ideation and innovation hubs that are department and cross departmental within the organization.
  2. Create continuous and collaborative learning between older management and new generation employees – older teaches younger and vice versa – to allow for learning agility from each other’s experiences and diversity.
  3. Recruit talent across industry to provide diverse opinions and expertise within organization

Focus on innovation through diversity, this will be the key to your business survival and your success within or across industry(s).

Bafana Masilela

MA Counselling Psychologist | MBA

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