Best of 2016: “Diversity Is the Engine of Invention”

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“Diversity isn’t just sound social policy. Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world.” — Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada

If there was a poster baby for “Diversity 2016,” it might be Justin Trudeau. At the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the Canadian prime minster reminded delegates of one thing that lecturers and others have been saying for fairly a while: Diversity results in innovation and creativity.

Just two months earlier than his speech, Trudeau had named the most various authorities in his nation’s historical past, with an equal quantity of women and men. It was a cupboard, he mentioned, that resembled Canada.

With his phrases, Trudeau joined a refrain of voices calling for extra range in the office, whether or not that be in authorities or in the non-public sector. Over the previous 12 months or so, these voices have reached a crescendo: Hardly per week goes by with out one other article on range or unconscious bias. Moreover, the physique of analysis, on the impact of range on the backside line and the constructive advantages throughout organizations and groups, continues to develop extra strong, with a number of new research launched this 12 months.

It’s more durable than ever to dispute that extra balanced groups ship higher outcomes.

But the monetary trade nonetheless has a methods to go. Using CFA Institute as a proxy, simply 18% of members globally are ladies. Similarly, Oliver Wyman’s complete report “Women in Financial Services 2016” notes that worldwide solely 15% of portfolio managers are ladies.

These are numbers we have to change if we actually wish to enhance range in the monetary trade.

About 18 months in the past, CFA Institute launched the Women in Investment Management (WIM) initiative to enhance investor outcomes via range. We set ourselves three broad targets over the subsequent decade:

  1. Increase the quantity of ladies who be a part of the career and earn the CFA constitution.
  2. Retain ladies in the career and affect tradition from inside.
  3. Create demand for range as an trade crucial.

As half of this endeavor, my colleagues and I attempt to hold a glance out for considerate articles and compelling new analysis.

In a 12 months that many would name an annus horribilis, I’m inspired by the quantity of articles revealed and the ongoing discourse on the advantages of range. Here are a couple of of my prime picks for 2016:

  • In “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” David Rock and Heidi Grant of the Neuroleadership Institute, have an awesome line: You might really feel extra relaxed working with individuals who share your background, however you shouldn’t be fooled by your consolation. They argue that having a various worker pool “is key for boosting your company’s joint intellectual potential.” Moreover, “Creating a more diverse workplace will help to keep your team members’ biases in check and make them question their assumptions. At the same time, we need to make sure the organization has inclusive practices so that everyone feels they can be heard. All of this can make your teams smarter and, ultimately, make your organization more successful, whatever your goals.” Harvard Business Review revealed a number of articles on range this 12 months, and reasonably than spotlight them every individually, I encourage you to go to HBR‘s Diversity section for a complete record. Two extra stood out from the HBR‘s July-August subject: “Why Diversity Programs Fail” and “Designing a Bias-Free Organization.”
  • Therese Huston, writer of How Women Decide, is aware of there’s a double standard relating to how women and men are perceived as resolution makers. Earlier this 12 months she spoke with Forbes about ladies’s management and resolution making, why she has reservations about the phrase “women’s intuition,” and (a private favourite of mine) how ladies, via social sensitivity, have a tendency to boost the collective intelligence of a gaggle that’s attempting to unravel an issue.
  • One of the pioneers of the collective intelligence analysis that Huston references is Anita Williams Woolley of Carnegie Mellon University. Woolley spoke at the current Alpha and Gender Diversity: The Competitive Edge convention, sponsored by the WIM initiative. There had been heaps of nice classes: You can make amends for the highlights and access links to published content from the event, together with two archived video webcasts.
  • Some days it could actually really feel as if we’re drowning in a sea of data and recommendation. And typically we really feel powerless to take motion. In this brief article, Amanda Parker, CEO of MerelyInsight, a Toronto-based tech firm, talks about some simple steps we can take to challenge the status quo: (1) Be acutely aware that unconscious bias exists; (2) name out gender bias if you see it; (3) create a plan on your workers; and (4) create a tradition of mentorship.
  • If you’re in search of extra onerous information (proof!) on why we ought to care about range, I encourage you to scroll via the newest analysis, from Morningstar, McKinsey & Company, Credit Suisse, and Mercer, amongst others, that we’ve curated and posted to the WIM homepage.
  • Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t embrace the largest ever survey of investment management professionals on the subject of gender diversity, which was revealed by CFA Institute in September.

If you will have learn one thing associated to range that you simply assume we must always share extra broadly with members of the WIM LinkedIn network and readers of Enterprising Investor, please depart a remark in the part beneath.

If you preferred this publish, don’t neglect to subscribe to the Enterprising Investor.


All posts are the opinion of the writer. As such, they shouldn’t be construed as funding recommendation, nor do the opinions expressed essentially mirror the views of CFA Institute or the writer’s employer.

Image credit score: CFA Institute

Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster is managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Previously, she labored as a contract author for Barron’s and the Financial Times. Prior to her freelance work, Foster spent almost a decade on workers at the FT as a reporter and editor based mostly in the New York bureau. Foster holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

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