RainDiversity, April 18 2019

 Growing innovation from diversity                                 Mind the mindset

By, Zaina Ibrahim

Cultivating innovation

Most organizations agree that it is an extraordinary time now for innovation because the world is shifting to a multi-speed globalisation, where most leaders are gearing up for ‍The Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, in order to innovate, you need to collaborate with a lot of departments, slash silos. Each of these departments has their own team mindset, departmental goals, and diverse individuals. 

In RAIN Diversity, we see individuals in organizations characterized by having various cultural identities with diverse experiences from various backgrounds. This adds to the availability in the diversity of knowledge that can be used to achieve organizational objectives to innovate.

Mind the mindset

However, having diverse mindsets affect the manners in which collaboration occurs within an organization. We have seen that some individuals can be paralyzed by their own patterns of thinking to realize the organizational change efforts. As a matter of fact, research studies from McKinsey and Company shows that 70% of all transformations fail. Some of the common pitfalls include a lack of employee engagement and poor or nonexistent cross-functional collaboration.

From my experience, I see an individual's pattern as a critical roadblock towards change because it is one's safety and stability. Cross-functional collaboration may exist, but other individuals are neglecting the contributions from different departments within the same organization because it is not the normal way of doing things.

In most cases, due to cost pressures or growth, time is not a privilege for some organizations. Thus, cross-functional collaboration in teams is highly dependent on individuals' prioritization. In a limited amount of time, individuals have to focus and solve problems on their own based on their departmental priorities. Furthermore, investment in the emotional commitment the employees has to the organization and its purpose is put aside.

Either way, this can lead to poor business performance.  Indeed it is a challenge to break out of our comfort zone.

An inclusive leader that leads with a purpose 

I would say it starts with leadership. Majority of leaders are constrained by financial and operational demands. Nevertheless, it is also equally important that leaders should be aware that if there is no real ownership from their side, progress often is slow, team members get frustrated and the transformation is poorly led.

The leader's role is to lead with a purpose focus. When that purpose focus is to put the innovative culture into action, then leaders should be inclusive, committedly enhance his or her team's cross-collaboration across the organization and make it a top priority.

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