This summer has been significant for diversity in the UK. First, there was the appointment of Sadiq Khan – the first directly elected Muslim mayor of a western capital city. Then, just a few months later, we witnessed Theresa May’s rise to power and the ensuing appointment of a string of female cabinet ministers.
A few days before May’s appointment, I attended a BIMA Breakfast Briefing that highlighted the importance of diversity within creative teams. The case for diversity in the workplace was not something that I felt needed to be made to me, but I soon discovered that it was something I needed reminding of.
Diversity is something that Wardour, like so many businesses, takes very seriously. After all, diversity fosters creativity – and creativity is the bedrock of our agency. But because I’m lucky enough to work with relatively diverse teams on a daily basis, the subject is not something I’d given a great deal of thought to in the context of the wider industry.
The speakers at BIMA’s ‘How to do diversity’ breakfast, however, reminded me that, in an industry that relies so heavily on a daily fusillade of creative genius, we cannot afford to be complacent.
Firstly, as Nadya Powell, Managing Director of Sunshine and Co-founder of The Great British Diversity Experiment, explained, diversity allows authenticity. If you don’t feel you can be your authentic self, your ability to work creatively can be hampered. If, on the other hand, you’re part of a team that incorporates different ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities and genders, you can let your true personality shine.
Problem solving is another important part of the equation. All businesses need problem solvers. It’s a prerequisite for almost every job going. But if your colleagues come from similar backgrounds to you, their solutions won’t be all that different to yours. In contrast, if you work with a group of people from different walks of life, you’ll likely have a wealth of ideas to choose from, and therefore stronger solutions to business problems.
Not only does diversity create more opinions, it also allows these ideas to be taken forward through merit, rather than cultural consensus. When you bring people from different backgrounds together, you also bring the opportunity for debate. You’re not all coming from the same vantage point, and therefore your views on others’ opinions will differ.
Of course, these benefits aren’t limited to our industry. At Wardour, we’re grateful to be able to work with clients from a number of different industries – and innovative teams are integral to each and every one of them. This BIMA session may have been directed at creatives, but its message had a much broader reach, and we can (and should) all take something from it.
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