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December 21st, 2018
Why hadn’t I thought of that? Divergent thinking.
by Nina Aggarwal

A new blog post on the wonder of divergent thinking, written by our founder Nina Aggarwal

Research shows that diverse companies outperform their peers financially. The importance of diversity as a source of competitive advantage has been widely reported. Much of the conversation is led by the H.R. function, and the discussions tend to focus on strategies to achieve a more diverse workforce in terms of age, gender, race, sexual orientation etc.

Diversity is a hugely important topic – but it’s one I see as a Marketing and Innovation opportunity as much as an H.R. one.
Why is diversity important for Marketing & Innovation?
Innovations we admire often challenge us to change the way we look at the world, and the way we behave. They present solutions that seem obvious. We catch our breath and wonder “Why hadn’t I thought of that?”.

It takes both art and science to find new ways to make lives better, easier, enriched and create transformative innovation. New ideas are often born to those who look at things in a different way, through a different lens, with a different perspective. We can – and do – teach Marketers the skills to do this themselves, and this is important.

As important is the ability to look beyond our own horizon. We also lend them the eyes and brains of people who experience the world differently, to help quickly uncover new creative solutions that would otherwise never have bubbled to the surface.

As an insight and innovation agency we focus on bringing together people who don’t work with each other each day. We also teach those in the creative processes how to change their perspective. We ‘rent’ brains and experiences from people who are not involved in our clients’ businesses. They bring a dispassionate yet very relevant view of the opportunities.
As a result we’ve helped one business develop an innovative ‘natural’ make up by talking to our film set designers who gave insight into the importance of paying attention to the tiniest of details.

We’ve helped a financial services team develop new products suited to a workforce that no longer has a “job for life”. They learnt about risk management through the eyes of an extreme adventurer who shared the detailed planning that takes place before and during expeditions.

A D.I.Y. retail business re-engineered their store layouts and saw direct increases in footfall and sales. All due to a fascinating experience with the Sea Lion Keepers at Toronto Zoo who shared the contrasts between male and female behaviours in the animal kingdom.

These collaboratively creative approaches bring together diverse points of view, experiences, expertise and brains – and consistently deliver transformative results. After all, if we only call on those like ourselves or on those who behave as we do, we only nibble at the edges of new thinking. If we think and behave alike, the chances are our solutions will all be alike too.
You can recruit inclusively for your innovation teams because you feel society expects it of you. Or you can value it for the the commercial upside it offers.

We believe in doing things because we want to, not because we have to. We love to engage with those who see the world differently and work with them to find new solutions even for time-old issues. We recommend putting diversity on your innovation – as well as your H.R. – agenda.