The Key to Innovation? Inclusion
It is human nature to surround ourselves with like-minded people who think like we do, come from similar backgrounds to ourselves, have a similar education, and support and endorse our actions. Yet interestingly, we thrive when we come up against opposition. “Creative abrasion” – that is, being challenged – sparks our creativity and makes us more innovative. This is why, for businesses to thrive, EVERYONE, no matter how different their outlook on lives, their working method or their mentality, should be included in the workplace. INCLUSION is the secret to INNOVATION.
Let’s look at the facts; research conducted by Catalyst – the leading non-profit organisation that looks to expand the number of opportunities for women in business – which involved 1,512 employees from six different countries (Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States) showed that:
- Chinese participants reported a 71% feeling of inclusion and an average 78% report of innovation in the workplace
- Mexican participants averaged a 60% feeling of inclusion and an average of 51% reporting innovation in the workplace
- The US participants averaged a low 29% feeling of inclusions and just 19% reports of innovation in the workplace
There is a STRONG correlation between a feeling of inclusion within the workplace and innovation! In fact, countries that reported a strong feeling of inclusion averaged 40% more reports of innovation in the workplace than those with low feelings of inclusion!
The facts speak for themselves, but why do they matter?!
Because innovation is the key to business growth and development. In further research conducted by Catalyst, more than 70 per cent of Senior Executives interviewed listed innovation as one of the top three driving forces of their businesses and as factors that are going to help their business grow in the next three to five years. In the same research, further executives cited innovation as the most important feature to help their business keep up with the pace of today’s ever-changing global business market.
So we know that innovation is important, so are we achieving it?!
As the research shows, the only real countries that are harnessing the power of innovation are those who are extending the feeling of inclusion. It is now surprise that China, the country reporting both the highest levels of feeling of inclusion and the highest levels of innovation, is the leader of the business world!
It’s funny, while innovation is clearly thought to be one of the most important qualities among businesses and their employees, when asked how innovative they felt they were on the job, 65% of the Senior Executives Catalyst interviewed did not answer ‘yes’ or ‘definitely’; they said ‘a little’; they reported feeling just ‘somewhat’, ‘a little’, or ‘not a lot’ confident in their abilities to make a decision!
So why the lack of confidence?! Why aren’t Senior Executives practicing what they preach?!
It’s because they don’t know HOW to be innovative. They are being told, ‘you MUST be innovative’ without being given the skills and the knowledge – and more importantly, the confidence! – to do so.
So how do we fix this? How do we make sure that our Senior Executives – and all other employees for that matter – are able to execute innovative thinking more successfully? By ensuring that every voice feels heard, that every opinion is made to matter. By feeling included and valid, employees are likely to feel more comfortable in their ability to innovate. Just look at those statistics again! It is clear; inclusion is the key to innovation, and therefore the key to driving business growth!
By making sure all of our employees feel a sense of inclusion we can help our business grow, develop and become more profitable. It’s really that easy.
If you require expert advice on how to make your workplace a more inclusive and innovative business, get in touch with our team here at emberin. With our help, you can help create a more supportive and successful workplace for all of your employees.