How important is cultural diversity for innovation? Is it just one of those things we hear about but that do not really make a difference? Or can cultural diversity take your business to the next step and, at the same time, contribute towards a fairer, more equal and more balanced world?
What research has shown, time and time again, is that cultural diversity can be an important asset to the economic growth of a business but also has remarkable social benefits for all of those involved, including the city and neighbourhood. When we talk about cultural diversity, that does not only mean different cultures, but also race, ethnicity, language, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation. To have a culturally diverse team is to invest in your own economical and social growth.
1. Generating new ideas
Diverse groups are more effective at generating new ideas and solving problems. Because they belong to such different cultures and usually have different ways of thinking, these teams can analyze a situation from completely different perspectives. This is particularly relevant for the innovation field. When presented with a certain problem, a diverse group can come up with solutions and ideas a homogenous group probably could not.
One of the reasons our challenges are so successful is precisely this. By calling to action so many innovators from different backgrounds and cultures, we are able to come up with solutions that tackle world problems much more effectively than if we only looked in one place.
“People from a certain region in Latin America, for example, might think of a different solution than people from Asia. If can capture something from all of those solutions and bring it to a company that needs them, you have a better product”, explains Jurgen Nieuwenhuijsen, one of our founders.
During the Global Meetups we can also see the power of diversity in action. In 2018, we had innovators from over 100 countries present, participating in the competition, but also in networking activities. Fueling the connection between different cultures and different people and benefiting innovation.
The concept of our events is also something very malleable and that adapts quite easily. “The competing spirit is something that resembles with a lot of cultures. Everybody liked the concept but there was room for people to make it their own. In certain African countries, people use the event concept that we developed in a different way, they started dancing. There is room for cultural flavours, but there is a standard that everybody likes”, explains Jurgen.
2. Bigger network
Another interesting benefit of having a diverse team in action is access to a bigger network. The more diverse employees there are, the more access to different and multiple networks you have. It can also incentive greater trust and understanding between those groups, facilitating communication.
Having a big vast network is key for our activities at Get in the Ring. “The international network is very important for us. We are able to provide bigger organisations with startups solutions from all over the world while other organisations are more oriented in certain regions. We can scout solutions globally and therefore capture the diversity from all over the world”, says Jurgen.
3. Easier to expand
Expanding can also be a lot easier if your business already has a diverse team. It can be hard to expand because of the many obstacles that appear during the process, such as culture shock, different laws and customs, assessing risks and so on. But a diverse place can help overcome such obstacles and even appear more trustworthy.
As one of our founders, Hendrik Halbe, pointed out, expanding abroad can be very beneficial to a business. It can improve sales, attract talented people, and even offer a better infrastructure. Not forgetting, of course, the cultural exchange that will come from this expansion.
4. Cities’ economic growth
Investing in culturally diverse workplaces can benefit not only the companies and organizations, but also the surroundings. It helps diffuse knowledge, gives a better access to international market and can even increase the rates of entrepreneurship.
This is very true for one of our partners. Fernando Acre, CEO of Yo Emprendedor, tells us that after hosting a Get in The Ring event in Costa Rica, the entire ecosystem of the city changed. Our internationally oriented event gave local and global opportunities to all of those involved in the event.
All in all, supporting diversity proves to be very beneficial to all of those involved. Businesses thrive, people are happier and feel more accomplished, ideas flow and innovation booms.