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From technology to business, two (or more) heads often prove to be better than one—but only if those heads are cognitively diverse. Top-performing companies, universities, and innovation centers are increasingly finding ways to encourage a greater exchange of ideas among their staff. Scientific journals continue to see the number of authors per paper rise, while both Nobel Prizes and patents are frequently granted to teams. The need for group problem solving has never been more critical. So what’s driving the demand?
- The changing nature of work: The complexity of challenges faced by today’s “creative class” has produced a new reliance on teams. A group with diverse experience and education can often more effectively provide solutions by bringing myriad viewpoints to the table.
- Demographic trends and technology: Technology is making the world smaller and connecting us with diverse sets of people and ideas. Our cultural identities influence everything from the books we read to the stories we hear in childhood and, thus, the way we make sense of the world.
Diverse perspectives are a powerful tool for maximizing productivity and enhancing collective performance. Believe it or not, you can even be “diverse” all by yourself. You can, to quote Walt Whitman, “contain multitudes.”
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