This tweet from Joe Gerstandt last week got me thinking…
Diversity is relational, existing between people not in people.
He’s right. The real value of diversity is in the collision of different perspectives and ideas. It can lead to better innovation, more balanced decision making, and ultimately better business.
But if you look at traditional diversity metrics, that’s not what we measure. We measure things like skin color and gender and sexual orientation. Important, but not an accurate measure of diversity of thought.
For example, a team that’s 100-percent diverse (say it’s all women) isn’t really diverse at all, is it? And a team with one white guy from the US and one white guy from Italy is, on paper, not diverse at all - they’re both white guys. But in terms of perspectives and ideas, there’s probably a lot of diversity there.
How do we measure diversity in a more meaningful way?
Note: I’m not saying ethnic, gender and orientation diversity are not important. They are. But they’re often used as proxies for a more powerful form of diversity.