Design created from diversity produces better results because of the value provided by different perspectives. When people hear the word diversity, they often think of gender and race, but it includes a lot more. Diversity is shaped by religion, sexual identity, location, age, and disability/ability, among others. Whether you’re designing a product or service that’s geared towards a particular gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., or for the general public, having different perspectives helps, especially with more complex problems.   

Scott E. Page, author of The Diversity Bonus, explains this very well. In complex spacings like the economy, he stated that the brain, or ecosystem diversity, has functional properties that make systems better and more innovative. Diversity can also be seen through a moral lens which “is the right thing to do.” The problem with the moral lens is it sounds like a tradeoff. You can have an excellent team or a diverse team. His argument is excellence requires diversity.   

He explains cognitive diversity as “how you think, represent problems and try to solve them, and how you go about trying to make sense of something.” Identity diversity is who you are, your race, gender, religion, ethnicity, etc. Cognitive and identity diversity are connected in different ways for different people. Differences in how we think are what generate the diversity bonus. He states, “We have thirty years of data that show these ideas, whether its academic research, investing, songwriting, etc., teams always beat individuals.”  

Diverse teams always beat homogenous teams. The challenge is how to create the most effective diverse team?  

It’s easier to have an inclusive team in-house, but if you lack the resources to hire a team, focus on user research. Interview people before product/service design and do user testing for the prototype. It’ll allow you to discover issues or provide ideas for features you didn’t know your service/product needed. Also, reach out to companies with diverse teams to help you accomplish your goal. 

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