Diversity feeds creativity

Diverse experiences and diverse collaboration stimulate creativity. When I did my MBA in London, I thought I was with a diverse group of colleagues. Everyone came from a different country, from a wide range of industries. However, it wasn’t until Prof. Lynda Gratton pointed out that actually, MBA’s are all a pretty homogenous group on an academic and intellectual level, and hence don’t produce very creative output.

Lynda Gratton research is about Hot Spots: Why Some Teams, Workplaces, and Organizations Buzz with Energy – And Others Don’t. She refers to the phenomenon of diversity stimulating creativity as boundary spanning: New ideas are often the product of two previously unassociated thoughts, so crossing boundaries within and beyond organizations can be very fruitful.

I hung out with a local german speaking group this evening, whose only common thread was speaking German (and perhaps being internet-savvy enough to find the group). Many were 10 years younger than me, and from all walks of life – and most of who had never met before.

The results? Totally different ways of seeing life, work and objectives in life. No inhibitions to possibility. And lots of good beer over a barbecue.