Saturday 12th March, 2011
3:45pm to 4:45pm
Where do good ideas come from? Diversity. There is a growing body of evidence showing that cognitive diversity can play a powerful role in increasing the ideation and innovation capacity of a group or community. This session unpacks cognitive diversity, shows how it can drive better outcomes and examines some things that can get in the way.
As General Patton said; “If everyone is thinking the same thing, then someone isn’t thinking at all.” If a group of people are considering something that matters, there will be some disagreement. Pursuing better solutions requires that we are willing and able to create social spaces where we can surface and recombinate those differences.
We often avoid those differences because there is tension there. If you want the benefit that diversity brings, you have to be able to contain the tension that comes with it and that is where a lot of individuals and groups fall short. They avoid or deny differences because it is easier and safer.
Even if we have an intuitive appreciation for the fact that different perspectives can be valuable, human nature can still get in the way. Things like stereotypes, assumptions, implicit association, attribution errors, and cognitive biases can have a profound impact on our considerations of others, regardless of our intentions. We can however, reduce the impact of our drive to judge and categorize so that it does not prevent us from creating robust intersections of differing perspectives.
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