We Need To Learn How To Bridge Difference To Drive Creativity And Innovation

Greg Satell
6 min readApr 29, 2023
Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay

I have a friend who was once ambushed on a TV show panel. Being confronted with a clearly offensive remark, she was caught off-guard, said something that was probably unwise (but not untrue or unkind), and found herself at the center of a media-driven scandal. It would cost her enormously, both personally and professionally.

I often think about the episode and not just because it hurt my friend, but also because I wonder what I would have done if put in similar circumstances. My friend, who is black, muslim and female, is incredibly skilled at bridging differences and navigating matters of race, gender and religion. If she fell short, would I even stand a chance?

We are encouraged to think about matters of diversity in moral terms and, of course, that’s an important aspect. However, it is also a matter of developing the right skills. The better we are able to bridge differences, the more effectively we can collaborate with others who have different perspectives, which is crucial to becoming more innovative and productive.

The Challenge Of Diversity

There is no shortage of evidence that diversity can enhance performance. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that diverse groups can solve problems better than a…

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Greg Satell

Co-Founder: ChangeOS | Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Wharton Lecturer, HBR Contributor, - Learn more at www.GregSatell.com