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Cognitive Diversity Is Your Key to Innovation

When you decide who to invite to a meeting or workshop, what do you focus on?

By habit, we can default to relying on existing well-established teams. Typically well-established teams are made up of people who have similar skills, experiences and backgrounds to each other. And what happens if everyone in a team thinks the same way? Well, then you're likely to miss out on something critical that most businesses strive for... innovation.

We recently contributed to a NAB Business Research and Insights article How 'Outsider' Thinking Can Supercharge Your Business. We explored why businesses with greater cognitive diversity:

  • Report a 19 percentage point higher innovation revenue (BCG Study)

  • Show a 15% increase in profitability (Peterson Institute for International Economics study)

One simple way to boost cognitive diversity in teams is to take conscious steps to involve people in workshops and meetings that you normally wouldn't. These people still need to be chosen based on relevant skills, but by bringing in fresh faces you freshen up thinking. So the next time your team is solving a problem? See if someone from another team might want to come along and provide a different perspective.

And once teams start coming up with more creative ideas, get out of their way during implementation. Nothing slows down innovation like bureaucracy and red-tape, see this 2-min video 'Why People Don't Come Up With More Ideas':

Happy innovating,



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