How can diversity and inclusion create a virtuous cycle that feeds product innovation?

Most organizations aren’t doing enough to make diversity and inclusion (D&I) central to their core values. A strong D&I focus can help you attract a broader pool of qualified candidates who bring new perspectives to your organization. It can also result in greater and more successful innovation: Harvard Business Review found that highly diverse companies had 19% higher levels of innovation revenue than their competitors.

A strong collaborative process with diversity of thought creates a “virtuous cycle,” referring to events that reinforce one another through a continuous positive feedback loop. By facilitating independent thought, you can feed product innovation, which will lead to more critical and creative thinking about how to move forward.

To build this process, it’s important to invite all employees to use a collaborative knowledge sharing solution to ask questions, share ideas, and add to existing knowledge. The discussion threads should be permanently archived so that any employee has the opportunity to search for relevant information so that they can use it to inform their strategies for future projects. 

This open knowledge sharing process fosters a sense of empathy with the end user of the product, because each team member is considering their own role as the end user when responding to questions about the product development process. In the platform, they have a safe space to test out new ideas, question one another’s assumptions, and build trust between teams and departments who might not otherwise talk to one another.

In a typical team meeting, the conversation might focus only on one perspective, with the development team’s user stories echoing the lead developer’s own experiences and use cases. By utilizing a knowledge sharing platform, other employees throughout the organization can offer feedback and their own unique perspectives on the product development cycle, providing the opportunity to collaborate on innovative new features.

While D&I is an important component of recruiting and training disciplines, it’s equally important when it comes to product development. Build a transparent and open communication platform where all voices are welcome, and you’ll be able to take your company’s innovation to the next level.

Sign up to receive helpful content and resources from Stack Overflow