Why cognitive and demographic diversity matters

Published: 5 March 2024

#CuriousMoments with Advita

Solidarity with all the comms folks in organisations who are no doubt having to battle with how to share some of the narratives coming out from the party conference [October 2023].

For those feeling despair and hurt over some of the proposals being shared – remember people are fighting for positive change – even though it may not feel like it.

To the allies who don’t know what to do to help, keep speaking up for those whose voices are being silenced. It matters.

But this is an excellent example of why cognitive diversity must be considered alongside demographic diversity. You need people who can challenge you fairly and ask curious questions from the point of view no one else would have considered. If leaders have all been educated by the same/similar lecturers and grown up in the same city – their thought processes will be similar. Therefore, leaving huge gaping holes in recommendations and suggested policy changes.

In our latest book, Building a Culture of Inclusivity, we said:

“The error often made by senior leaders across various organizations and institutions is mistaking diversity for inclusion. Both terms are often clumped together but they are not synonymous. Diversity equals representation, which can be measured through quantifiable data, which organizations often use as a mark of success. Inclusion, on the other hand, is how we make people feel about their contributions and values. Without inclusion, you are at risk of creating an environment that isn’t safe, doesn’t consider participation, limits innovation and builds on groupthink.”

We live in a polarised world, but I choose to follow hope over fear – because, ultimately, that’s all we have.

Originally posted on LinkedIn, Follow me for more curious moments. 


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