One of the main competitive edges for a company in our fast-changing world is innovation and you’ll be surprise how they can find it. Researchers have been able to identify the social and psychological factors that influence innovation and one of them is multicultural experiences – aka diversity.
A diverse workplace is characterised by people from different backgrounds who each have different perspectives of the world, and this is essentially a catalyst for creativity, according to a study by Carmit Tadmor, a Senior Lecturer at Tel Aviv University. In her study, bi-cultural individuals who were able to identify with both their home and host cultures showed enhanced creativity because they could consider and combine multiple points of view.
With an innately diverse demographic, South-Africa has a great opportunity to embrace differences across race, religion, gender, culture and sexuality to improve innovation and equality in the workplace.
An example of a driver of diversity is 29-year-old Sibusiso Nqunqeka from Khayelitsha. As a gay black man, Sibusiso grew up being beaten and having stones thrown at him. “Gay people have a lot of challenges in their homes and within their families because of their sexuality,” he says. “There was a need for someone to advocate for acceptance in the community.” In 2008, Sibusiso decided to be that voice for the voiceless and co-founded the Khulani Khayelitsha Queer Hub as a safe space where people would meet and discuss their challenges and support each other as they are ostracised by their communities.
Today, Sibusiso’s is not only a LGBTI activist but also one of News24’s 100 Young Mandelas nominated in the resilience category and one of HP’s change makers for their Global Citizen campaign. He promotes LGBTI rights and sexual health by talking on the radio and working with well-established organisations like the Triangle Project, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and Health4Men.
But Sibusiso’s social awareness and involvement stretches further than just the gay community. At this year’s National Gender Based Violence Summit in Pretoria, Sibusiso told SABC news that men from all walks of life, gay or straight, should be more engaged in tackling violence against women. “What I’ve learnt at this summit is that we men tend to think we own women’s bodies. Patriarchy is totally not acceptable,” he told journalist Sipho Stuurman.
For their Global Citizen campaign, HP identified Sibusiso as one of the change makers that represent their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.
As an organisation, HP is also reinventing their standard for diversity and inclusion through how they operate as a company and impact society. They call this new journey “Reinvent Mindsets” and it comprises ongoing internal training, new measurement tools and other efforts to tackle unconscious bias and make these new mindsets part of their DNA as a company.
“We are not merely correcting the underrepresentation of women, people of colour and other minorities in our workforce and among our partners and suppliers, we are creating models of behaviour,” says Lesley Slaton Brown, Chief Diversity Officer at HP.
While we have your attention…
Our world is facing increasingly difficult challenges including inequality, climate change, inadequate access to quality education and healthcare, among others. To overcome these challenges, we must raise the bar, challenge ourselves, and reinvent the industry standards for sustainable impact including driving lasting improvements to the planet, people and communities where we live, work and do business.
As part of their partnership with Global Citizen, HP has launched a campaign to amplify awareness of creating a sustainable impact. Please join the movement in reinventing mind-sets of citizens of the world and be the generation that pushes for a sustainable change.
Visit the campaign page here to learn more, share the stories and challenge your friends to take the pledge to be Global Citizens.