How To Optimize Diversity And Creativity In Teams

How To Optimize Diversity And Creativity In Teams

If you’re a leader or human resources manager, it’s important to think strategically about how you build and manage creative teams. The right combination of people will produce more disruptive ideas and solutions, and can significantly exceed the creativity of any one individual team member.

An example of this is the Renaissance—one of the most innovative eras in human history. In his book The Medici Effect, Swedish-American entrepreneur Frans Johansson posits that creativity blooms when people from different disciplines come together. According to him, the wealthy Medici family helped ignite the Renaissance by bringing poets, philosophers, scientists, architects and artists from all over Europe and beyond together under their patronage in Florence, Italy. So what three principles can we apply from the Renaissance era to optimize creative teams today?

1. Be inclusive.

Bringing different kinds of people together helps companies to thrive, makes products more innovative and creates the potential for goods and services that cater to everyone. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, companies with more diverse leadership teams are more innovative and have 19% higher revenues. Diversity does not just make your company culture fairer and more socially inclusive; it makes good business sense.

Diverse teams are built by including people from different disciplines and areas of expertise, from information technology to marketing, as well as people of different genders, ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs, physical abilities, sexual orientations and age groups. Connecting different thinkers and viewpoints can reveal opportunities to innovate that you could never imagine on your own or with groups of similar-minded people.

2. Respect differences.

In my experience, when you bring a group of diverse people together, the “differences” between them can become a recipe for conflict and misunderstandings. Of course, an integral part of innovation and collaboration involves heated debates, but getting the balance right between confrontation and unity is key to the success of the team.

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