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July 1, 2016

Zero plus one

The jury's in on diversity.  Here's the introduction to an article from Forbes:

 “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

Diversity is critical for organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and most admired leaders will tell you the same thing. Diversity is essential to growth and prosperity of any company: diversity of perspectives, experiences, cultures, genders, and age. Why? Because diversity breeds innovation. And innovation breeds business success. Don’t believe me? Take a look:
  • Forbes study has identified workforce diversity and inclusion as a key driver of internal innovation and business growth.
  • Lu Hong and Scott Page showed that groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers.
  • According to McKinsey, companies with diverse executive boards enjoy significantly higher earnings and returns on equity.
  • According to Harvard Business School, multicultural networks promote creativity.

Last month I wrote about the lack of representation of people with disabilities on various panels examining the future of Nova Scotia.  This month I've been looking at a couple of other organizations:

The Waterfront Development Corporation gets included for its bungled handling of accessible washrooms at the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden.  It's a textbook example of why diversity is an important characteristic of institutions.

The distinguished panel that wrote about the transition from secondary school to work or further education gets included for an astonishing omission of any people with disabilities or their advocates.  And for indirectly canceling a program that has had success for a dozen years.

I included Halifax City Council, Dalhousie's Board of Governors, and the Nova Scotia Legislature for comparison.

As the work of any of these organizations is measured, it's hard to get beyond the uniformity of the members.  You would be forgiven for being skeptical about whatever they might have to say.

Total MembersGenderRace/EthnicWith a disability
FemaleMaleWhiteAsianAfrican CanadianMi'kmaqYesNo
EngageNS *1441012011014
Ivany Commission523400105
Halifax Partnership2315820210023
HRM Council1741317000017
Dalhousie Governors27151224030027
NS Legislature50143649010149
Waterfront Development Corporation853800008
Percent of Grand Total100.0%40.2%59.8%91.6%1.1%4.5%2.8%0.6%99.4%
*From a list onlyCorrections Welcome
Charles  Darwin said:
“Let it also be borne in mind how infinitely complex and close-fitting are the mutual relations of all organic beings to each other and to their physical conditions of life; and consequently what infinitely varied diversities of structure might be of use to each being under changing conditions of life.”
Your mother said:
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket!" 

Gus Reed

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