Diversity is becoming increasingly a business imperative for a number of reasons.  In the twentieth century like-mindedness was an asset.  In the twenty-first century it’s become a liability for a whole range of reasons.  The challenges that face society cannot rely on one kind of intelligence.  They cannot rely on one kind of perspective.  And the idea of certain people in certain parts of the world having the monopoly about what solutions are required for the challenges of the world no longer exist.

In my very humble view, like-mindedness has become a liability.  So if countries or companies or people want to grow, they have to examine their capability to resist change as a start.  Because if we don’t have the ability to expose ourselves to new ways of thinking – if we don’t have the ability to allow people to challenge our views, to allow our minds to be expanded, then we’re a dying breed.  And therefore I think that for societies to thrive, organizations to thrive we have to recognize that the world is such a different place that it needs perspectives that are much broader than we have relied upon to reach decisions or to understand issues which is really where we started.

That the world is demanding a new understanding of issues and it’s demanding new solutions because the implication of the decisions that we make have such far reaching consequences that we just can no longer be comfortable that one person or one point of view must be responsible for the decisions that we make.  So we need to develop that ability.  So we need to think of diversity not just in terms of gender but in terms of how we approach issues, in terms of how we see issues, in a way that is much broader than I think we have tended to think about diversity.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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