Diversity beyond demographics

There are many kinds of diversity – ethnic, gender, age, language, etc. But is there diversity beyond demographics? The most recent Third Thursday gathering of the Strategic Doing community – and our new podcast episode – took on this question with a look at cognitive and strategic diversity. Sebastian Hamers of Human Insight and Tabitha Scott of Southern Growth Studio provided an overview as well as several mini case studies of how cognitive diversity lies behind the success of many companies.

What do we mean by cognitive and strategic diversity? Cognitive diversity is all about how our brain is wired to address problems and challenges. Are we most comfortable with generating new ideas? Turning ideas into products? Scaling up a successful launch? Managing systems to maximize profit? We are all most comfortable at a particular point on the S-Curve – even though we may be called on to work in areas less comfortable. When a team has the right mix of people in terms of their cognitive approach – and the right mix means a varied mix – their strategic diversity is well-suited to deal with the organization’s challenges. Most teams will be skewed in some way – but if we know that, we can think about how to, perhaps, borrow from another team to help fill in any gaps. Or, we may be ready to make a new hire and can seek someone whose mindset is complementary.

Diversity does go beyond demographics, and measuring cognitive diversity is more than a guessing game – although we often have some sense of people’s comfort zone if we’ve worked with them for a while. The AEM-Cube ™ is a tool developed by Human Insight that can give you a detailed look at your own mindset as well as how your team as a whole is strategically diverse – or not. The Lab offers the AEM-Cube as one of our solutions – ask us for more information.