It is undeniable that new technology breakthroughs and entrepreneurship are currently in the spotlight.
Governments debate new policies and financial instruments to foster the creation of start-ups and to attract entrepreneurs. Business intelligence platforms rank countries and ecosystems according to their capacity to create unicorns, and even streaming platforms have contributed to add star quality to founders hooking us into watching the rise, and sometimes fall, of UBER, WeWork, Spotify, and many others.
There is, however, an important ingredient that is often overlooked when debating strategies to promote innovation and that recent studies have been increasingly advocating – diversity.
As in nature, where biodiversity is an essential condition for creating a healthy and synergistic – evolutionary – ecosystem that sustains life, so too a business ecosystem that is conducive to entrepreneurship must also actively promote policies of diversity and inclusion.
The reasons are multiple and obvious. Firstly, diversity promotes creativity and innovation. It is an engine for the growth of companies, being fundamental as a talent attraction strategy. It ensures greater cultural openness and promotes the encounter of ideas, trends and customs that translates into social, conceptual and technological innovation - the ability to understand different perspectives and to think “outside the box”. There are several studies that point in this direction, such as the 2020 McKinsey report “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters”, which points out that companies with ethnic and gender diversity tend to have a financial performance 25% above average.
Diversity, therefore, as a tool for attracting talent, acts as a catalyst for the transformation of companies. By changing its human constitution, it exponentially increases its capacity for innovation and growth, not only culturally but also economically.
Secondly, incorporating diversity and inclusion policies allows us to create a fairer society and minimize social inequalities. In recent times, there has been an erosion of geographic constraints for recruitment, and this opportunity to attract diverse talent has allowed companies to positively influence society and combat some social inequalities.
Finally, it facilitates the entry and expansion of companies into new markets because inherently diverse contributors better relate to and understand the unmet needs of the end users. That is of the utmost importance when entering a new market that companies may be unable to understand due to a lack of cultural knowledge.
Today, diversity in companies and entrepreneurship makes it possible to bring the representation of external groups, people and concepts into society and promote growth. Inclusion eliminates discrimination and classicist mentalities, and it is up to entrepreneurs, in their structuring role in society and the economy, to capitalize on this practice for the benefit not only of companies but of society.
Codirector of the Postgraduate programme Business Innovation
Launched in 2022 and whose 2nd edition starts in February, the Post-Graduation in Business Innovation will provide participants with the skills and mindset necessary to deal with ambiguity and implement successful innovation strategies in a global and diverse context.