Design Thinking is a malleable tool that enables businesses of all sizes to navigate through the uncertainty and complexity of competitions toward the “latest and the greatest” innovations. With all the upheaval of today’s frenzy to be the best, Design Thinking offers an assuring calm that equips leaders and innovative companies an advantage – the power of empathy and understanding to bring people together as a unifying whole through the magic of diversity and inclusion.

For corporate innovation and growth, diversity is indispensable not just for survival but for business ranking in the race to the top. A McKinsey[1] study showed “that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.” This is correlational, not causal; nevertheless, diversity does matter.

Along with diversity is inclusion, which is the flip side of diversity; no matter what the make of the cohort, every member enjoys a sense of belonging and the security that supports each colleague’s role in the organization. When a person feels estranged within a group, there is a tri-level neurological suffering, the first level of pain equivalent to physical pain. As the pain continues, the person copes by trying harder with more engagement; finally, the excluded individual becomes sadly resigned, possibly showing anger and alienation with depression and even passive aggression (Kipling D. Williams[2]).

In a 2020 conference on leadership, David Rock’s[3] address, The Science of Inclusion, stated that “Diverse and inclusive teams are smarter, more creative, and make better decisions. … Humans have a biologically based need to belong—to feel included, supported, and valued by others socially.” The Neuro Leadership Institute, of which David Rock is CEO and founder, published an excellent e-book on inclusion, NLI Perspectives, Cultures of Inclusion[4], that is an excellent treatise on this topic.

Leeza Erfesoglou[5] wrote a brief review of Shannon Murphy Robinson’s book, the Neuroscience of Inclusion, for Cultural Awareness International, Inc., in which she outlined our unconscious biases that lock us into a “them vs us” mindset stereotype, keeping us from trying new ventures –

“our brains are one place we should turn to understand culture and inclusion. … Robinson describes how advances in neuroscience and technology now provide unparalleled access and insight into the wiring of our minds. … Modern-day science further reveals that we have a conscious brain that is cognizant of the importance of diversity and inclusion.”

Design Thinking methodology begins with the process of understanding the initial challenge of a proposal or question through the human agile capacity of empathy – “How might we ???” Listening to multiple perspectives of an initial question opens our minds to endless possibilities. With the diversity of varied members of a company who have the security of the safety of inclusion, the power of a growth mindset propels the whole group toward surprising and rewarding outcomes previously unforeseen.

Diversity and inclusion become an unstoppable force that an agile company employs for corporate growth. Diversity and inclusion are unbeatable.


[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters
[2] https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110510WilliamsOstracism.html
[3] Rock, David, https://www.hci.org/session/science-inclusion-how-we-can-leverage-brain-build-smarter-teams
[4] https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/1927708/NLI%20Perspectives%20Cultures%20of%20Inclusion.pdf
[5]  https://culturalawareness.com/the-neuroscience-of-inclusion/

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