I’m working on one of our teams to put together a programme that comes from a concept we’ve been working on. It started in the innovation space, and then gradually drifted accross to the diversity space because of our interest in that area. We then decided to work on it to see if we could develop the thought. We’ve come some distance, and have become stuck-ish.
Essentially it’s the following:
*Dominant business paradigm loves efficiency.
*Efficiency loves homogeneity.
*Dominant business paradigm loves homogeneity.
ENTER DIVERSITY (all over the planet)
*Diversity hampers efficiency.
*Diversity challenges dominant business paradigm.
*Dominant business paradigm develops and runs programmes to turn diversity into homogeneity.
And guess what it doesn’t work. So here’s what we say….

The world has changed (yes we say that a lot) and we now live in a diverse world that will continue to get more and more diverse. It’s not going away. Not now anyway. Business is being pushed (rightly so) by government to ensure a diverse workplace (all over the world), and business hasn’t found a working model to do this. Not yet anyway. To be honest, it’s not surprising because there just doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason for the people at the bottom of the food chain to get it together and go through the pain of finding an authentic way to live and work in a diverse world and business space. No wonder most people retreat into the comfort of their homogeneous homes and communities at night.
But what if we came at this from a different starting point. What if we stopped thinking that the result of a good diversity programme wasn’t going to be harmony and ultimately efficiency? I know that scares the pants off of most managers. But what if we simply gave in to the fact that diversity will always lead to something other than harmony. And what if we stopped fearing that the ‘something other’ wasn’t conflict, but creativity?
What if we stopped expecting efficiency from our people and left that part of the equation to the machines and processes we’ve put in place? What if we looked at our people and saw incredible amounts of creative potential that could possibly help the business processes and machines, who do the efficiency, become incredibly creative about their efficiency?
Well that’s about as far as we’ve gone. We’re not sure what’s missing, but we haven’t found a way to go forward with this yet. And I stress the YET!

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