Daley Hub directors Clive and Kerry Daley deliver the ninth instalment of their monthly solutions, this time discussing the importance of diversity in the workplace, and the power of getting an alternative view.

delivered by groups and teams and the more diverse the better. In Matthew Syed’s new book, ‘Rebel Ideas’, his research states that the number of papers written by individual authors has declined. In science and engineering 90% of papers are written by teams and in medical research, collaborations outnumber individual papers by three to one. In business we see the same trend, twenty-five years ago most equity funds were managed by individuals and now the vast majority are run by teams. We all know and accept that old adage of ‘two heads are better than one’ however how many times

P do

you see decisions made by the individual or by the select few in our day to day lives. We need to think of human performance not

from the standpoint of the

individual, but from the standpoint of the group. This “collective intelligence” from the team is well recognised and more recently research is highlighting the critical ingredient which is the team’s diversity. This is called cognitive diversity, and by that I mean the inclusion of people who have different styles of problem solving, unique perspectives because they think differently, varied experiences and thinking styles. People with varied experiences often think about problems in different ways. With complex problems teams that contain diverse views have a huge, often decisive, advantage. After all we are all looking for that competitive advantage aren’t we?

roblems are too complex

for the

individual to solve these days! The most challenging work today is

Yes even diversity in AI Mohammad al-Khwarizmi, the Persian mathematician, from 900 years ago in Bagdad, was a single voice in the crowd of thinkers who many think is responsible for the framework for how we use numbers today, and who’s name (Algoritmi in Latin) led to the word ‘algorithm’ that we use today. He lived at a time when single thinkers led the way to scientific discovery. The world of algorithms have changed, where the latest Artificial


relies on a diverse ensemble of algorithms that ‘behave’ differently, search in many different ways and encode problems diversely. In fact we recently worked with a digital start-up who created their own algorithms, and they said not only were they on their third generation of algorithm but that they had several working in unison.

The power of the Boardroom No not a company boardroom, they be a little dull at times…no this is different. Earlier this year we met with Kevin sheldrake, founder of the who has developed a concept and process where they embrace this idea of diversity and the collective ways to help business owners and business leaders improve themselves and their businesses. Through a facilitated peer board group, unrelated businesses from different sectors give honest comments and feedback, grounded insight, and the best mix of challenge and encouragement to help each other’s business. We have seen first-hand the power delivered by working in this way, only this week a business owner who attended a free taster session took away valuable ideas to

transform their business. This was made possible by getting a variety of opinions that came from diverse experiences and different industries and it delivered value as a result of their diversity. We loved the process so much we are in fact opening up a Boardroom ourselves in the local area of Romsey.

So how to make a start? “Thanks for all the valuable insight in

diversity and the collective

intelligence from team problem solving but how do we do this in reality” you ask, well here are three things you can do for a start. When you kick off an initiative or set out to tackle a problem don’t just leave it with one individual, one department or a single team to solve it, kick it off with a mixed group of people across your business to discuss the way forward. Getting teams together to solve a challenge

creates more ideas and saves you time in the long run. Secondly, be aware of the typical

“recruitment of similar people” syndrome, we do have a natural tendency to recruit people similar to ourselves. This will not help you have a diverse team so make sure that you search for different experiences, alternative ways of thinking and drive variety into your business. Thirdly if you are a leader of a business, a business owner or someone without a team around you, reach out to your network and get an alternative view. Offering to buy someone a coffee because you would like their advice invariably secures a meeting – it is natural human behaviour to like to help others.

It is always hard to find that competitive advantage, the Power of Diversity is definitely one!


Photo: Austin Distel

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