Diversity….brilliant minds working together….

The article “How Diversity Makes US Smarter” was a real eye opener. Having never studied diversity per se, it was great to read through many of the previous case studies and experiments.

When people are brought together to solve problems in groups, they bring different information, which is why it’s important that the groups aren’t homogenous, otherwise they would only be rehashing ideas from common comfort zones. I don’t question that comfort is part  of why homogenous groups exist, because humans tend to flock with those we identify with most.

The case study regarding democrats and republicans was fascinating.   When told they would have to prepare an argument for a) someone from the same political affiliation, or b) someone from the opposing political affiliation; the results were similar in that those preparing for scenario b worked much harder at the defense!   Having to prepare something for a diverse group, rather someone not like ourselves, compels us to think of creative ways to get the message across.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

 

13 Comments

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13 Responses to Diversity….brilliant minds working together….

  1. erinleighvt

    I found that article very interesting as well! It makes sense we would put more effort into trying to convince people who look different from ourselves, as we naturally association appearances with beliefs, personalities, etc. That is, you have to work harder to convince someone with a different perspective than someone with the same perspective. It is really important to have heterogeneous groups of people involved in meetings etc, because you are right, the more opinions there are, the more creativity abounds!

    • nordicgod

      Good evening Erin,

      You are absolutely correct! Seriously, how boring would meetings be if we all thought the same way?

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  2. baileyfood

    I also enjoyed this article. I feel that most often we are told that ‘two heads are better than one’. However, I have not before read research that analyzed group diversity. I agree, the results are so interesting and I look forward to following the work of diverse groups that solve great problems.

    • nordicgod

      Yeah, now that you mention it I guess the “two heads” saying would be much more amplified if they were from diverse backgrounds! LOL!

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  3. saloumeh

    I really enjoyed that article as well, and specially the “democrats vs. republicans” example. I think it is totally true. As a personal example, one member of my Ph.D. committee is not from my department (not even in academia), and since he has a totally different perspective, I always feel that I need to be more prepared to convince him.

    • nordicgod

      Good evening Saloumeh,

      I am still putting my Ph.D. committee together but I’ve already decided the alternate or “other” member will not be from VT. Although not exactly the same thought process, that’s how much diversity needs to happen for me to trust their opinion. It seems a lot of professors here are like the Stepford Wives. LOL!

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  4. jschlittepi

    This diversity of group intelligence seems one of the easiest, non-altruism requiring ways of promoting inclusivity. 2008 was a horror show of what can happen when you have corporate executive boards populated with largely the same person (older caucasian males born into wealth). Beyond just increasing the intelligence of a group by diversifying it’s members, stability against awful decisions is likewise enhanced by the addition of potential naysayers.

    • nordicgod

      Good lord please don’t mention 2008 again. LOL….I know not much but I lost $8K in the market. I’ve never put a dime back in after that. You realize how much of the world as we see it is built upon smoke and mirrors. Stability is a great way to put the topic into context.

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  5. Amy Hermundstad Nave

    Thanks for your post! I really enjoyed reading it. In addition to thinking of ways to get our points across in diverse groups, I think it is so important to listen to and consider the perspectives of other people in the group. When we do, we can begin to move from convincing others to collaborating with others. Thanks for the post!

    • nordicgod

      Good evening Amy,

      Absolutely! The listening piece is critical as we’ve learned this is a very difficult task to master. I love the description of moving from convincing to collaborating.

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  6. Shaun Respess

    Great post Lehi. I always wonder how many people cannot be inconvenienced to even consider communicating to audiences beyond their immediate circles. This problem is likely increasing with the growing plurality and focus of divisions that one may use to separate themselves and the like-minded from others. These are why labels such as “liberal” and “conservative” are so appealing: we no longer have to explain or defend ourselves when we can position outsiders as an “other” which either cannot understand or “suffer from some defect” which makes them consistently wrong or inferior. As troubling as this language sounds, these practices make values such as diversity, community, and collaboration more difficult. Solving problems collectively has been proven to be a massive success in a majority of situations but the problem is, as you mentioned, that it’s uncomfortable. It requires patience, effort, sensitivity, and even the outlandish possibility that one may be vulnerable or wrong. I agree with you that we should prize and appeal to these solutions which are more creative and collaborative; hopefully we can get there sooner rather than later despite this growing culture of ideological isolation.

    • nordicgod

      Good evening Shaun,

      Hahahaha….the position of “other” was brought up to me over the summer while I was home in Oregon doing volunteer work. Literally, I was volunteering at an animal shelter, driving meals on wheels, and helping the homeless (mostly made up of vets and LGBT youth). My oldest brother couldn’t comprehend how I was able to do such diverse work and when I’d talk about helping vets and LGBT youth he was aghast, as in, how could those two groups even get along. Let’s just say he’s super pro Trump. At one point he asked me if I had been converted to a communist or Muslim, yeah no joke. That was a fun dinner! LOL! Anyway, you are right we should prize and appeal to solutions that creative and collaborative. We’d get a lot more done!

      Thanks!

      Cheers, Lehi

  7. britthip

    Hey man,
    I sometimes wonder where these lines were originally drawn, and I keep coming to the idea that we have lived in a divided world because of our social constructs. Science says that our DNA is the same no matter what race, ethic origin, or background. We however did not start as a scientifically minded civilization. We were originally built on religion and geographic area. Once people began to move around, migrate, travel long distances did we use technology or religion to divide people. We still today use our differences in our ideas of ourselves in order to classify people. We are one species, one human race, and the only way to advance ourselves further away from our animal status is to develop a world community that is no longer out to prove that they are better than a group of people. See ya in class this week.
    -Britton

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