The Uncertainty Mindset 2019-2020

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#12: True diversity

vaughn1st January 2021 at 3:42pm

This issue is about different definitions of diversity, especially in the context of organizations, and how true diversity makes organizations more innovative and adaptable.

Conventionally, we think of diversity in terms of difference in terms of a predefined set of categories (brown, straight, male, etc). Efforts to promote diversity defined in this way naturally exclude people who fall into categories that haven’t yet emerged. Worse, it continually creates new forms of hidden discrimination, especially against categories of people which have just emerged or are emerging.

A better way to think about diversity in an organization is in terms of multidimensional and multilevel difference. True diversity is how rich an organization is in different types of information—no matter what form those differences take and who carries that information.

So, three principles for increasing true diversity in an organization:

  1. Inject unexpected new and different information into the organization,
  2. Discover new and different information already present within the organization,
  3. Actively evolve definitions of difference within the organization.

Not incidentally, negotiated joining and other processes designed to inject open-endedness into organizations naturally increase true diversity.

The more truly diverse an organization is, the more information it contains (carried primarily in its employees). The more information the organization contains, the larger the pool of information from which recombinant innovations can emerge, and the more likely it will contain information useful for responding to unpredictable futures. This is why truly diverse organizations are both more innovative and more adaptable.

You can find it here: #12: True diversity