John & Doris Naisbitt on Diversity & Innovation
Megatrends author John Naisbitt has had his thumb on the pulse of global trends for decades. In an in-depth dialogue with Walter Link in GlobalLeadership.TV’s ‘The Heart of Megatrends & China’s Innovation’, John & Doris Naisbitt discuss the connection between diversity and innovation.
Working with global leadership for the last decades one thing I noticed is that terms like diversity have become much more popular. But in my experience they often are more a nice idea but then when it actually comes to difference, people are much less interested in diversity when there is a real difference, a difference they don’t like. And it seems like what we are facing as a challenge in the global world is that there are very significant differences and that we need to learn how to make use of these differences even integrate them as a richness on the basis of the fact that we also share a common humanity. I wonder what you have learned in the many years of living in so many different cultures and writing about them, about that integration of on the one hand the richness of diversity and on the other hand our shared humanity.
Well, I’m very devoted to the idea of the richness of diversity and diversity is making a comeback. That is to say as a popular idea, and it’s an idea that is increasingly embraced, and that is because of the new mantra – innovation. Innovation is the mantra for companies, for countries; China among many others wants to become an innovative country and so on, and we know, and this is kind of a shared idea – that one of the keys to innovation is diversity. If you get the same kinds of people with the same values and the same experience and the same education then throw them together you’re not going to get a hell of a lot of innovation. But it’s the playing off of different ideas, different points of view, different mindsets that creates new ideas and new advances.
The reason the United States is such a successful country is because of diversity, because of immigration and so on. And this kind of backlash that’s going on now to diversity just when China, just when China also, but just when the United States needs it most is really really counterproductive to what’s happened, to what’s going on globally.