People naturally gravitate towards others who share similar values, culture and ideas. Since kids are young this natural segregation along familiarity develops. The problem with this, however, is that groups begin to develop insular views due to their lack of exposure to the rich and diverse backgrounds of the others groups around them. One need only look to politics to see that partisanship has only solidified over the past few decades. Studies have shown that as people age their tendencies to listen, adapt and change their views based on new evidence or exposure to new people is constantly dwindling. In society today it has become deplorably common for people to externalize blame for any given event on some “other group”. We let stereotypes and archaic generalizations guide our perception of groups that we often know very little about. So how is this related to business and entrepreneurship?
The more expansive and diverse your network is the higher your likelihood is to create innovative and groundbreaking products. If you always surround yourself with a mirror of your demographics, your ingenuity will be substantially hindered. Many of you probably understand that when launching a company, it is imperative to have partners that compliment your skills and abilities. What fewer people spend due diligence on, however, is working collaboratively with diverse groups during the ideation stage. To understand and effectively connect value with customers, people needs to build off a platform that encompasses the wide array of customers that exist across different markets. In an article on Forbes by Michael Simmons (http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelsimmons/2015/01/15/this-is-the-1-predictor-of-career-success-according-to-network-science/), it is stated that having an “open network” or a network in which you are the connection between multiple disparate groups is the number one indicator of career success. Having people from a range of fields and backgrounds, as well as bringing together people who don’t have any former association is key to subjecting whatever product or service you provide to the utmost scrutiny and comprehensive analysis. In regards to personal success, it also allows you the maximum amount of learning through exposure to conflicting or just different avenues of thought. In order to find success in business you must be able to anticipate and predict and having a diverse team will allow you a wider lenses under which to calculate potentials hurdles or trends.