Orignally shared in the first Rainforest Alberta Pulse in February 2018, the following post discusses the value of Diversity to cultivating and supporting Innovators.
Why is Diversity important to an innovation-based economy?
Diversity can mean a number of things, from age, race, religion, skillset, gender, career experience, educational training, personality, sexual orientation, and a number of other factors.
In the book "The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley", authors Hwang and Horowitt discuss diversity as an axiom, or prerequisite condition of creating a thriving innovation ecosystem. They state that "the greater the diversity in human specialization, the greater the potential value of exchanges in a system". That is to say that increasing diversity among an ecosystem will increase the value of collaboration or business ventures created within that ecosystem.
But why is this the case?
As individuals with highly differentiated abilities, worldviews, networks, and social backgrounds connect, they are able to build teams which can benefit from the specialized insights of each member to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. As the authors put it, "diversity trumps raw ability for problem-solving in groups."
This is why it is important for the Rainforest to embrace diversity, in all of its forms, and why it is a core value expressed in the Social Contract.