Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleagues, bionic business expert Buhle Dlamini and global futurist expert Graeme Codrington.


Bionic businesses are those that recognise the power of humans and machines working together, with technology augmenting our humanity. Those businesses that think beyond mere automation in this technology age will find significant competitive advantage in the Fifth Industrial Revolution, where humans & machines combine for a better future.


Multi-X Businesses

Today’s workplaces are more multi-X than ever: multi-generational (people are living longer, and working older – with fewer managerial bands between older and newer team members), multi-cultural (not just in large multinationals, but even small and medium enterprises often span multiple countries and time zones, or are based in cities that are diverse), multi-lingual (technology is making language less and less of a barrier), multi-gendered (while a few countries are legislating backlashes against the LGBTQI community, most are moving towards acceptance and integration), multi-faith (even in countries founded on a particular religion, we live in an era of unprecedented tolerance, including towards those of no faith), and many other aspects of diversity.

We’ve always had a diversity of personality profiles, as well as different levels of experience, expertise and education.

It is normal these days to work with people who are very different from us in many different ways. In fact, it’s very surprising to come across a team these days that isn’t filled with diversity. This means that we need to be better at understanding and operating in environments that are diverse, overcoming likely misunderstandings, miscommunications and possible confrontations.

It is possible to connect across our differences, and many people enjoy doing so, but it takes energy, effort and conscious engagement, and we may sometimes battle with this. We need to develop our ability to do this consistently and consciously.

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The business benefits of doing so are numerous:

  • Innovation comes from seeing the same thing everyone else sees, but identifying something different as only you can. The more diverse the worldviews involved in an innovation process, the more likely you are to spot the innovation opportunities.
  • Adaptability and resilience come from a group’s ability to deal with whatever comes their way. The more diversity we have in the group, the more likely different approaches and attitudes to change, disruption and chaos will assist us in finding a good way forward.
  • Customer centricity is an often overlooked benefit of having different types of people in your team. While it is not always necessary to match a customer’s profile with a specific employee, having key customer demographics well represented in your business, especially in marketing, sales and customer service teams, can make a huge difference to customer engagement (or at least stop you making the typos of gaffes that go viral on TikTok).
  • Employee engagement, including your ability to attract and retain the best people, and get the best out of them, really does depend on each individual having a sense of belonging and wellbeing in your workplace, which in turn depends on them feeling truly ‘seen’ for who they are.

Diversity is not an ‘issue to be managed’, or ‘a difficulty to be overcome’. Precisely because of the complexity of the world we live in, diversity is, in fact, ‘an asset that should be nurtured’. This involves moving beyond merely recognising differences and building organisations and teams that are properly inclusive.

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Human and machine diversity

If you agree with what we’ve said so far, let’s push this a bit further. We believe that the diversity we should be building in our organisations isn’t just about differences between people but could also include differences between people and machines.

By ‘machines’ we don’t mean robots, but rather all the various technologies emerging in the early 21st century, including algorithms, machine learning, the internet of things, quantum computers, and, of course, generative AI (GenAI). Bionic businesses embrace different ways of thinking and embrace the use of machines to help improve our diversity intelligence.

GenAI was the ‘Technology of the Year’ for 2023. We don’t believe that it is actually ‘Artificial Intelligence’ – true AI (artificial general intelligence) is coming but is still years away from reality. What we have now with ChatGPT, Copilot, Gemini, Gork, Claude, etc, are technologies that can access generic and generalised human knowledge and deliver it to us in really good natural language.

It has limitations, but it is good for analysing data that we give it, and it is good for helping us summarise information about which we would expect there to be general agreement. And this is where GenAI can help us with developing diversity in our businesses and teams.


A Model for Cultural Competence

In his 2011 book, ‘The Cultural Intelligence Difference, David Livermore outlines the importance of CQ (Cultural Quotient / Intelligence / Competence). CQ is the capability and desire to function effectively across national, ethnic, generational and organisational cultures.

It involves the ability to overcome explicit and unconscious biases and includes the capacity to persist in interactions that are sometimes challenging, even when one feels confused, frustrated, misunderstood or burnt out. Developing a culturally intelligent organisation is about creating an environment where individuals learn about CQ and grow their CQ competence together.

Livermore’s model outlines four practical steps or capabilities to measure, develop and improve CQ:

  1. CQ Drive: the level of a person’s interest and motivation to learn about and respond to different cultures.
  2. CQ Knowledge: the quality of a person’s understanding about how cultures are similar and how they are different.
  3. CQ Strategy: the degree to which a person plans for, remains aware during, and learns and adjusts after multicultural interactions.
  4. CQ Action: the extent of a person’s flexibility and appropriate use of a broad range of behaviours and skills during multicultural encounters.

These four capabilities can be measured, assessed, improved and developed by individuals and teams. They continue in a loop as improved strategy and actions almost always result in even more CQ drive and knowledge. This is something we can always do more of and always improve upon. It’s something GenAI can help us with.

If you want to read a more in-depth breakdown of each of these CQ capabilities and how to develop them within your teams, read the full article here.

By integrating these actions into your team’s routine, you will cultivate an environment where cultural competence is not just a concept, but a living reality that enhances teamwork, creativity and overall performance. Ideally, the CQ drive of your team will be improved by these actions, and you will continue to improve cultural competence in yourself and your team.

Creating a culturally competent team or organisation is much more attainable today than ever before. By using a proven framework that has been used by countless organisations globally, and using GenAI to assist, you can position yourself for success. CQ can help you and your team to leverage the differences that different people bring to your organisation.

When you lead with cultural intelligence, you create an environment that promotes understanding, openness and authenticity in the workplace. By helping your team understand that it is their differences that make them, and you well positioned to succeed in a diverse and global marketplace, you set yourself and them up to thrive!


Graeme Codrington and Buhle Dlamini are partners in the Strategic Insights firm, TomorrowToday Global, and both have a passion for the future of work and people. They help teams and organisations to prepare for the challenges of an ever-changing world.



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