Why Diverse Teams Excel At Innovation And Tips For Employers

Jay Kulkarni Founded Theorem Inc. in 2002 and serves as the driving force for its mantra of “Optimize Today, Build Tomorrow.”

ith the great challenges of the past two years comes significant opportunity because the barriers to collaboration are no longer defined by location. Thanks to the rise of remote work and the ever-growing appeal of the gig economy, we can seek inspiration from perspectives and skillsets beyond our own by taking a borderless approach to recruitment, collaboration and, ultimately, innovation.

By understanding how diverse perspectives contribute to innovation, we can evolve our organizations to build uniquely equipped teams to push boundaries, explore new approaches and work better together.

Diverse teams power innovation in many ways:

1. They address problems through community-built solutions.

When various perspectives guide your team, problem-solving becomes a collaborative exercise that challenges members to share, listen and learn. When each team member can contribute an approach inspired by their unique perspectives, the resulting solution will likely reflect the best possible combination of ideas. This community effort often produces creative, offbeat and more effective outcomes.

2. They innovate products for a global marketplace.

The modern consumer demands greater accessibility, transparency and personalization. In turn, companies are challenged with competing in a global marketplace while simultaneously localizing their products to reach consumers.

Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams are better equipped to tap into the goals and challenges of underrepresented communities and 70% more likely to capture new markets. Tapping their broad spectrum of skills, cultural attributes, lived experiences and difference of thought leads to the development of leading-edge products that stand out from the competition.

3. Diverse teams recognize differences as learning opportunities.

Diverse teams can be better at making decisions. A safe and inclusive environment fosters collaboration and makes room for team members to take risks and pitch out-there ideas that would otherwise remain unspoken. When it comes to diversity, equity,and inclusion (DEI), walking the walk can lead to free-flowing conversations, fearless exploration and opportunities for new voices to define how teams move forward.

Different societies may have local factors and ways of viewing the world that lend themselves to their own innovations and aspects of entrepreneurship. Often, these factors can manifest through businesses and the innovation they create. Just consider these examples:

Scandinavian and Nordic countries: These remote and inaccessible countries became the prime location for developers of original mobile technological protocols, with Ericsson and Nokia pioneering the mobile technology Bluetooth we use today.

Japan: Hailing from a small island nation with limited resources and an abundance of artistic expression, Japanese innovators excel at miniaturization, from the Walkman that paved the way for the iPod to semiconductors and transistors.

India: As an ancient civilization, India is deeply rooted in philosophy. This comfort with abstract thought lends itself to conceptual programming ideas. According to NASA, the grammar of Sanskrit aligns with the new programming paradigm that powers AI.

America: With a culture that has embraced risk since its earliest days, America’s adventurous spirit lives in many U.S. companies and consumers alike. Consumers are often willing to quickly adopt new products without much coaxing, which fuels companies’ ability to experiment with producing innovative solutions that enhance our daily lives.

As we observe the origins of world-changing technological accomplishments, we must embrace America’s ability to create the “melting pot” that has fueled our country’s success for centuries. Technology companies have employed foreign workers and relied upon diverse teams for years, but this new remote environment has made linking local cultures around the globe more accessible for all businesses.

Show up as an inclusive employer.

In today’s competitive talent market, jobseekers hold the power. Your website should show that you value diversity among teams without even saying it. For example, does your leadership team reflect diversity? When applicants can see their own identities in your organization’s leaders, they can pursue a career with your company, knowing that it will be their first step toward success.

In addition, do your communications reflect diverse points of view? Elevating voices from all levels of your company lets prospective employees know that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to innovation and progress. Remember, creating a diverse culture is less about a commitment statement and more about the actions that follow it, as applicants will be looking for these proof points.

Support a culture that embraces remote work and work flexibility.

Remote work empowers job seekers worldwide to join your team without an international move or complicated visa process. In the same way, allowing for flexible schedules enables employees in different time zones to maintain a work-life balance. This takes trust that employees will collaborate no matter where they are based.

In addition to trust, your company must ensure that employees can access technology to perform their roles. For starters, you can supply laptops, chat apps, project management platforms and home internet stipends. Additionally, promoting asynchronous updates can lessen in-person meetings that demand overlapping schedules and boost your team’s efficiency.

Post inclusive job descriptions.

When job descriptions contain degree requirements and expectations for hyper-specific skills, you miss out on diverse talent trained in that same role, just differently. Reexamine your job descriptions through a lens of inclusivity to ensure that language, requirements and desired skills welcome all genders and cultures as fitting applicants.

We’ve never led with degree requirements at Theorem. Instead, we evaluate a candidate’s skills, abilities and attitude in determining if they are the right fit for the job. Consider following our lead, along with companies like Tesla, Apple and Google, and pass on four-year degree requirements in favor of real-world experience. Chances are, a standout portfolio will tell you more about a candidate’s abilities than a decades-old Bachelor’s degree.

The key to sustaining growth in innovation lies in leveraging the cultural perspectives and globally-inspired attributes that have strengthened communities and propelled technology for generations. And that’s good news because, with the new and limitless reach that remote work provides, the future of innovation is ours to embrace.

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    Meto is a tech-based nonprofit intent on making access to quality higher education a reality for all students. We have a special focus on creating scholarships for low-income students.

    In 2018, Meto was founded to connect African students with university opportunities. Along the way, we have learned that all students can benefit from our innovative model, wherein universities make the first move and invite good-fit students to apply. So, in 2023, we opened our platform to students across the globe.

    website: https://meto-intl.org/

              Nikhil Badlani Foundation

              The Mission of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation (the “Foundation”) is to enhance the lives of underserved children in West Orange, NJ and neighboring communities through music lessons, scholarships, and traffic safety education for all.

              Since the Foundation was established in 2011, Theorem has consistently been an annual sponsor of and team participant in the STOP for Nikhil 5K Run/3K Walk. This event intends to raise traffic safety awareness and to serve as a way to remembervbgfc ≈ and honor those who have been killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents. We recognize the importance of raising awareness and road safety amongst teenagers and parents alike, especially in the local communities of our Chatham, New Jersey office. Learn more about the Nikhil Badlani Foundation at nikhilbadlanifoundation.org

              Diversity and Inclusion

              Theorem actively aids in the ongoing fight against systemic racism and discrimination, realizing the importance of ongoing discussions surrounding diversity and inclusion.

              By contributing to organizations such as Black Girls Code and the Anti-Racism fund, we aim to be a fundamental supporter of diversity in the workplace and beyond. These organizations specifically speak to Theorem’s role as a leading voice in the technology innovation space and we avidly support their missions. The vision of Black Girls Code is to empower girls of color, ages 7-17 to become innovators in STEM fields and encourages them to be the builders of their own futures. The Anti-Racism Fund serves as a response to the inequities experienced by the African-American community. It provides monetary support to a dynamic portfolio of curated organizations as a way to inject and enable social change.

              Feeding America

              Feeding America is the largest charity working to end hunger in the United States. By partnering with local food banks, food pantries and other community food programs, Feeding America looks to advance change across the country and ensure equitable access to nutritious food.

              As a long-standing contributor and sponsor of Feeding America, we deeply believe in their vision of an America without hunger. The need for and importance of organizations like Feeding America has has become more and more prevalent as communities face more hardships as a result of the pandemic and the current economy. Theorem is dedicated to its continued contributions to Feeding America to do our part to empower and strengthen our communities. Learn more about Feeding America at www.feedingamerica.org

              Grameen America

              Grameen America is dedicated to helping entrepreneurial women who live in poverty build businesses to enable financial stability mobility.

              Since their founding in the United States in 2008, Theorem has supported Grameen America’s mission, which seeks to build upon the legacy of Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Through financial contributions and event participation, Theorem has contributed to Grameen America’s cause. As an immigrant entrepreneur himself, our CEO Jay Kulkarni is especially eager to support the organization’s mission of aiding underserved communities. Learn more about Grameen America at www.grameenamerica.org

              Vision Spring

              VisionSpring is making the wonder of clear vision possible for all by helping provide affordable and quality eyeglasses to those in need. For many, lack of access to affordable eyeglasses leads to loss of employment or less educational opportunities.

              VisionSpring partners with organizations who join them in their mission of supporting livelihood initiatives, enhancing potential for all. Learn more about Vision Spring at https://visionspring.org Theorem has consistently partnered with VisionSpring to organize free events, such as eye check-ups, across multiple villages in the Mysuru, India region, impacting over 3,000 rural residents. We stand with VisionSpring in their mission to increase accessibility to quality eyewear and eye care.

              Covenant House

              Covenant House provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness, helping young people transform their lives.

              For more than 5+ years, Theorem has supported Covenant House with corporate sponsorships, leading career-building workshops at their Newark, NJ shelter facility and participation in the organization’s fund raising Sleep Outs. Covenant House utilizes these Sleep Outs to raise funds and help shine a light on the injustice of youth homelessness, inspiring communities to step up and protect the vulnerable. We are proud to support Covenant House’s programs, which are designed to empower young people to overcome and rise above adversity, today and in the future. Learn more about Covenant House at www.covenanthouse.org

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