A Time for Innovation, General Topics, Leadership

Beyond Diversity: Managing for Innovation Success

By Dr. Vinny Caraballo, CEO, Global Targeting

In the 21st century all business has the potential to be conducted on a global scale. Advances in Information Communications Technology (ICT) have created an environment where companies can reach markets in remote locations and deliver through a network of partners and alliances that add value along the supply chain. This meshing of organizational capabilities enables many firms to achieve parity on several fronts. In this environment companies must differentiate themselves to offset the advantages that a global communications infrastructure enables. Developing successful innovation programs and outcomes is how companies will differentiate themselves. “A Time for Innovation,” is more than a conference theme. It is also an opportunity for D&I Managers to take their skills to the next level, broaden their perspective, and learn new solutions.

Innovation is a complex concept that most firms treat as an event rather than an on-going and integral part of their business. Some companies also tend to focus on innovation process rather than focusing on the human aspect of innovation. Innovation emanates from human beings that are shaped by their cultural environment. Consequently, cultures will view and define innovation differently. Understanding attitudes, opinions, and disposition towards innovation is key to integrating resources and aligning them to produce successful innovation outcomes. It is this drive to understand how culture impacts innovation that drives the efforts of Global Targeting.

Operating in a global economy means you already have a diversified workforce. The concept of diversity and inclusion is predominantly a US construct, but more global firms have found that understanding diverse cultures will yield improved business performance. Integrating diverse ideas will also add to a collective body of knowledge. This same thought process has been applied to the concept of innovation, because many managers believe that diversity will automatically lead to innovation. But this approach is too simplistic and can lead to disappointing results if organizing teams for innovation is based on diversity alone. It goes beyond diversity.

Innovation success is based on understanding how cultures define innovation and selecting individual team members that are similar in their goal alignments. At the Forum, Global Targeting will share the results of our Project Impact research showing how innovation is defined and how to use our tools to select teams for individual success. Our study brings results from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South America, and the USA. Diversity managers can benefit from our insights and exposure to our tools and methodologies, because our research is:

·         Global in scale

·         Empirically based

·         Application driven

Come visit with Dr. Greg McLaughlin, Tony Bynum, Lino Carrillo, and myself on Wednesday afternoon at session W3-H, Beyond Diversity: Selecting Individuals/Teams to Maximize Innovation, so that we can share our insights with you. To get you ready for the session, look for some of our team members to post a few tidbits in this site. In the meantime, visit this site http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/88f3aa78#/88f3aa78/29 to read some more of our work. See you at the Forum.

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