Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About the Value of Cultural Diversity for Change and Innovation

Frans and The Medici Effect from The Medici Group on Vimeo.

What was on my mind this morning is the value of cultural diversity for driving new ideas and innovation... when BINGO! what was waiting for me in my e-mail in-box was a communications about a pricey ($1995) Strategies '11 HR conference being held down in Half Moon Bay in California featuring cultural diverse author and consultant Frans Johansson of The Medici Effect, his new book. Frans is one engaging person with excellent stories that he spins as concrete examples of what he is talking about:
  • Personal story about Frans bringing his Black, Native American, and Swedish cultural heritage together in his own life, communicating the value of what he is about.

  • Tall building in Harare, Zimbabwe without air conditioning informed by how termites in mounds manage to keep their environment at just the right temperature, saving 4 million dollars. Read more about Eastgate Centre on Wikipedia

  • Recombinant genes between spiders and goats to spin strong threads for surgery made from the spinnable protein in goat's milk.

  • Combining Moslem Burka with bikini concept ...the "Burqini" so that Muslim women can also go swimming in Australia and around the world with modesty. See

  • The initial slowness of working with diverse groups vs initial faster speed of homogeneous groups working together that gets turned around over time...where the diverse group eventually passes the homogeneous group up... creating whole new blue oceans of innovation.
It's nice to see the conversation about value of cultural diversity finally and more accurately re-framed... away from reacting to affirmative action and not understanding the competitive value of a diverse workforce, and towards the proactive embracing of the value of diverse ideas from diverse people in driving innovation, cost-reduction, revenue-generation,strategic advantage, and making ours a better, more sustainable world.  

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