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When it comes to solving big business problems, teams that lack diversity do worse

Oct 19, 2017

The Next Idea

"If you’re in a room with people who are different than you, you tend to have to work through your arguments more carefully," Page said.
Credit Courtesy of Scott Page

Let’s say your boss wants you to assemble a team to work on a complex problem at your company, or your agency, or your non-profit.

You think about your best and brightest people with some knowledge of the problem, you buy some bagels and coffee, and get together, right?

Turns out, you might not be approaching this kind of problem solving in the best way.

Scott Page, author of The Diversity Bonus, joined Stateside to talk about what diversity can do for teams working to solve complex problems.

“There are all these dimensions to a problem, to a task, and if you’re only looking through a few windows, if you’re not looking from multiple perspectives at that problem,” Page said, “anything you don’t look at could go wrong.”

Page said successful teams need “cognitive diversity” from people who “see the problem differently,” and can bring in new perspectives to discuss.

“If the group never disagrees with you, it can’t be smarter than you, and you didn’t need the group,” Page said.

Listen below for Page's full explanation of the proven "bonus" diversity brings to problem-solving teams.

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

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