Last month, we discussed barriers to innovation and how to overcome them. This month we’ll discuss how market researchers can use a diverse team to improve their innovation process.

Why is team diversity important for innovation in market research?

A diverse team is crucial for the necessary innovation that gives companies and market researchers a competitive edge. Diverse backgrounds coming together brings a range of different ideas about how to solve problems. This wider range of ideas limits intellectual blindness. Matthew Syed’s work on diversity leads to a better understanding of problems and produces better results.

“New research provides compelling evidence that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.”

By combining frameworks such as Design Thinking and Lean Startup with diverse teams, market researchers can use a diverse team effectively within the framework from discovery to prototyping.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “New research provides compelling evidence that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.”

3 reasons why diverse teams are important for innovation

Below, find three key reasons to cultivate diverse teams.

1. Diverse teams are more likely to create new ideas

People create ideas. And the greater the mix of people, the greater the number of new ideas produced. Having a diverse team also allows team members to draw ideas from unrelated places and combine them with other team members. People from another industry are also able to transfer knowledge of how things work in their industry and use them in another.

2. Diverse teams have a wider skillset to make innovation happen more efficiently

Diverse teams use different skill sets to help them to turn ideas, into prototypes faster and improve on them when needed. Having a wider skill set often means prototypes can be created at a lower cost. This is because fewer items need to be outsourced externally as the team has the skills to complete the idea.

3. Diverse teams have a wider perspective

Diversity can take many forms. These range from age, gender, race, and sexual orientation to work experience, education, and industry background. Diverse teams have a wider perspective, and this ensures that the ideas generated are inclusive to all walks of life.

Conflict in diverse teams

Conflict is one of the biggest reasons why it’s difficult to work in a diverse team. A diverse mix of people with wider perspectives also means many different views exist. This can lead to opposing expectations. This means that knowing how to manage diverse teams is important.

How to manage a diverse team

Next, we’ll cover three tips for successfully managing a diverse team.

1. Consider everyone’s perspective

By making sure you actively listen to everyone’s views in meetings, you can prevent conflict within the team. You can also encourage innovative behaviour as team members feel that their perspective is valued.

2. Create a safe space for the team

People are often unsure if their idea will work, especially in a diverse setting. This means that a lack of confidence can lead to new ideas not being proposed. It is important that individuals feel that they are in a safe space where they can freely share ideas – regardless of how absurd they might sound

3. Find the potential in different individuals

Different individuals have different experiences, expertise, and skills that you can use for your organization’s benefit. Valuing their opinions and helping them expand on their ideas during a conversation can often lead to great innovative ideas.

Next month…

Having a diverse and inclusive team helps you tap into innovative ideas. However, just having a diverse team is not enough. You would need to create a safe space for these individuals to bring out their unique perspectives.

Next month we talk about how to create a safe space for innovation.

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