Two heads are better than one. But do you know what’s even better than two heads? Two heads with different experiences, perspectives and skillsets. And maybe even more heads.
If you want to make your community stronger, smarter and kinder, give it a booster shot of diversity. Researchers have discovered that embracing diversity increases creativity and makes us better at making decisions and solving problems.
Now more than ever, it’s up to us to spread the word about the benefits of diversity. Here are three reasons we’re thankful for it.
Diversity is Good for Business
Academic studies of the world’s most successful companies show that the ones who prioritize gender inclusiveness are more valuable than those who do not — $44 million more valuable. Based on these studies, The Washington Post reported that investors would be better off writing checks to companies that have women on their boards.
The same goes for racial diversity. Wall Street traders set more accurate prices when they work in ethnically diverse groups. And it’s not just that more diversity pushes us to be better. It’s that less of it allows us to be worse. With no one there to challenge their ideas, homogenous groups have been found to make more mistakes.
Diversity Makes Us Smarter
When academics from different ethnic and geographic backgrounds run tests and write papers, they make a bigger splash than less diverse groups. This means when we work with people who don’t look or think like us, we come up with higher quality work and better scientific advancements. And why wouldn’t we want that?
Experts think this is because we take disagreements more seriously when they come from people who bring differing perspectives. This lengthens the discussions that lead to more accuracy and more innovation.
Diversity Increases Empathy
In 2015, scientists used fMRI technology to investigate empathy in Chinese immigrants to Australia. They showed test subjects a video of people — some Chinese and some Caucasian — experiencing mild pain. Most had greater empathy for people who looked like them. But the immigrants who’d had greater exposure to Caucasians reacted with empathy toward both groups, proving that if we truly want to eliminate our inherent biases — to show that we are not sexist, racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic — we can’t to it by shutting people out. We do it by letting them in.
There’s a not-so-secret trick to creating healthy, strong, compassionate communities: other people. When we show our thankfulness for others, their ideas and their perspectives by making room for them at the table, they will make room for us, too. And if we want to continue to improving, expanding and innovating, it won’t be by doubling down on the same old ideas and habits…it’ll be by inviting new ones in.