Why Diversity is Making Us Smarter

From Harvard to personal experience, diversity is improving our population, but how? Here we give you all the details.

On a recent visit by family friends who are a Japanese and Czech couple, I couldn’t help but notice how ahead of his years their three-year-old son was. 

His knowledge for that age, the ability to perceive, observe and the way he grasped and processed new information was remarkable. 

He inspired me to explore how diversity, over the recent decades, has been a boon for society.


Taller and Smarter

While it has always been known not just to humans but instinctively also to animals and birds that a diverse gene pool contributes to healthier offspring.

During a 2015 study, scientists found that genetic diversity is not only leading to a more intelligent population but also taller. 

They hadn’t foreseen that height was also associated with diversity. The study was carried out on a large scale involving 350,000 participants from across the world. 

The conclusion was that diverse genes contribute to cognitive ability, height, lung capacity and even educational attainment. 

Briefly put, modern society is growing smarter due to diversity.


Building Bridges

While some build tensions and create negative trends in certain countries, facts clearly point to ethnic diversity, contributing heavily to social capital from something as straightforward as building friendships and bonding. 

Alongside this there is also greater trust and the building of bridges among nations.

Insights based on science are meaningful and necessary. Katherine W. Philips of the Columbia Business School has this to say: “The fact is that if you want to build teams or organizations capable of innovating, you need diversity. 

“Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. 

“Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Even simply being exposed to diversity can change the way you think.”.


Free Thinking

McKinsey, which is a top management organisation, according to their report, studied 366 public companies. 

The findings were clear that when there is racial diversity within an organisation, financial returns are likely to go higher than the mean level in industries.

There have been several studies that go on to prove that when people from diverse backgrounds meet the behavioural tendencies change for the better and lead to thinking that gets upgraded. 

Harvard Business Review, in its publication and article, on why diverse teams are smarter talk about a study conducted by a team of scientists that involved financially literate people. 

Reviewed: Harvard is just one organisation that has studied the positive impact of diversity

The team that was more ethnically diverse was 58% more likely to price stocks correctly compared with homogenous teams.

Travel, tourism, schools, universities and the internet have had a profound impact on diversity with great involvement of young people. 

Many organisations, including UNESCO, play an important part promoting diversity while at the same time it must be said, it is young people, who are the true ambassadors that have been instrumental in the elevation of diversity to levels previously unheard of. 

The changes they have brought about, cover the entire spectrum and we see diversity in culture, university life, industry, you name it. 

They are the ones who will go on producing generations that are smarter and sensitive.

Photos: Shutterstock

Empowering people is all part of the drive for diversity – here is one organisation doing just that.

Global Changemakers: A Driving Force in Empowering Young People

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