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Want new ideas? Diversify your team

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You probably know that a diverse group is likely to yield the most creative work. But you may not realize just how diverse a team should be, particularly if it needs to come up with new, innovative ideas.

“Diversity guarantees the best project result and usually some layer of innovation,” says Gary Curtis, a managing director at the technology consulting firm Accenture.

Your team needs diversity in three areas:

1. Job function:
“You need people who can see things differently and not get trapped in their own disciplinary assumptions,” says Robert I. Sutton, a Stanford University engineering professor. “People from different disciplines will have different points of view.”

2. Age:
Younger employees, or “millennials,” for example, come to the workplace with “a whole different life experience, especially with regard to technology in their personal lives,” Curtis says.

3. Gender:
“A team of all men is generally going to work in a hierarchical way. If it’s a big team, men are more comfortable taking their part of the problem and going off and solving it,” Curtis says. In comparison, a team of women tend to work in a more communal way.

— Adapted from “Building a new-age workforce,” Julia King, Computerworld.

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