This article is a pretty historic one for Open for Ideas. For a start, it’s the 100th article we’ve published. That’s a big deal for us! It means we’re becoming a pretty hefty resource of smart ideas about smart ideas. Everyone who contributes to the site does it because they believe in demystifying creativity and innovation. And I’d like to take the opportunity to thank every single one of them for being so amazing and supportive.

And to celebrate, we’ve also given the site a little bit of a refresh. Just a little bit. Please let us know what you think.

We’re becoming a pretty hefty resource of smart ideas about smart ideas

The next historic thing is that this article is kicking off our first quarterly Focal Point, which is Diversity and Divergency. Every three months we’ll be looking at a new topic that relates to creativity and exploring it as broadly and deeply as we can. We’ll be hunting down experts to bring you challenging thinking from smart minds. And we’ll be making it as practical as possible to help you put the ideas into action.

We’re really excited about this because it will help us create really powerful online resources in a relatively short amount of time. And it will also give us the content for a series of books that will bring you the best thinking on each Focal Point topic.

So let me tell you a bit more about Diversity & Divergency.

This article is kicking off our first quarterly Focal Point, which is Diversity and DivergencyClick To Tweet

What has diversity got to do with creativity?

It turns out that the simple answer is ‘lots’. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important areas an organisation needs to address if it wants more powerful ideas. Through the years there have been a whole heap of studies showing how diversity has a huge impact on creative output. Both on a personal and organisational level. I’ll be looking at some of these studies later in the week.

Diversity has a huge impact on creative output

What on earth is ‘Divergency’?

I’ll be honest with you, we’ve coined the term ‘divergency’ ourselves. Googling it would be a waste of time, right now! We created it because there didn’t seem to be an existing word to describe the ability of an organisation to embrace the inherent differences of their staff. Maybe because most companies are dreadful at it. We see divergency as the vital next step to diversity. Yes, it’s important to hire and promote to create a balanced and representative organisation. But you kill the benefits of that if you turn all your employees into identical-thinking and identical-behaving work-units. So we’ll be looking at how to embrace people’s differences and allow for constructive conflict. That’s what will create a more fulfilled workforce and a more powerful organisation.

Why are you just focusing on one thing?

We wanted to explore some important topics in more depth and breadth

This is a bit of an experiment. And – as we’ve covered in numerous articles – we think it’s important to try something new even if you don’t have irrefutable evidence that it’ll work. We’re just following our own advice. Over the last few months, we’ve been bringing you a broad range of thinking around the areas of creativity and innovation but we wanted to explore some important topics in more depth and breadth. So everything we publish over the next couple of months will be related to diversity and divergency. This activity will be focused on giving individuals and organisations practical suggestions for addressing the issues we cover. The idea is that it then becomes a valuable resource for anyone wanting to look at the topic in the future. If this experiment works, we’ll be covering a new topic every quarter. And updating our previous Focal Point topics from time to time to keep up with the freshest thinking.

Why is this subject important right now?

Open for Ideas is unashamedly global in its outlook and proudly embraces everyone of every nation, religion and political leaning. We celebrate immigrants. We love people who don’t fit into the ‘norm’. We see value in the free movement of people. And, if you’ve not been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that this attitude is clearly not representative of the political spirit of the age.

We believe there’s a danger isolationist policies could have a negative impact on organisational and personal creativity (as well as causing lots of other personal and international damage). By helping people address diversity and divergency, we’re attempting to counter the negative impacts of government decision-making. There’s no time to do that like the present.

We believe there’s a danger isolationist policies could have a negative impact on creativityClick To Tweet

How is this going to work?

Over the next two months, we’re aiming to publish two to three articles a week – all of which are focused on the topic. These will be written by existing Open for Ideas contributors alongside business thinkers, HR specialists, academics and other big brains. We’re aiming to help you think differently about the situation and see it from fresh perspectives. And we’re hoping to introduce some new thinking that will generate debate. Please join in with the debate, if you’ve got an opinion.

We’re hoping to introduce some new thinking that will generate debate

Quarterly? You’re only talking about two months.

Well spotted! The first two months are about exploring the topic with lots of content. The third month is an opportunity to put the thinking into action. As part of that, we’ll be running workshops and offering talks to help organisations benefit from our exploration. We’ll be telling you more about that shortly.

How will it become a lasting resource?

We’ll shortly have a new tab on the menu up there that will list the quarterly Focal Point topics we’ll be covering. The first on the list will be ‘Diversity & Divergency’. It will take you to a dedicated page that collects all the articles we publish on the topic. We’ll also be taking the best articles and publishing them in a book. This will be a handy resource for anyone who wants to make a change in their own organisation.

What will you be covering?

We’ll be looking at a different facet of the topic every week (with a little bit of flexibility built-in). Here is our run-down of what you can expect us to cover at what time:

  • Week 1 – tolerance and acceptance <<< You are here!
  • Week 2 – the psychology of difference
  • Week 3 – sexual (and sexuality) equality
  • Week 4 – conscious and unconscious prejudice
  • Week 5 – embracing outsiders
  • Week 6 – positive conflict
  • Week 7 – harnessing the crowd
  • Week 8 – managing difference
  • Week 9 – summary and action points

Who’s helping you do this?

Thank you, Aran. You’re a superstar!

The original idea for these quarterly Focal Points came from our regular contrarian, Aran Rees. (I believe you should always give credit where it’s due and Aran deserves A LOT of credit here!) As well as suggesting the idea, he’s been putting in a lot of time and effort to help make it happen. So you’ll be seeing a little shout-out to his company, Sabre Tooth Panda, at the bottom of each article. This wouldn’t have been possible without his hard work and passion. Thank you, Aran. You’re a superstar!

Oh! I’ve got something to say about this topic!

Do you? That’s good because we’re always interested in hearing from people with interesting things to say. We’ve got some storming contributors already working on the topic but there’s always room for more. Especially if you’ve got fresh thinking on the matter or valuable experiences to share. The contribute button on the menu up there is just waiting for your cursor. Or if you’ve got something to say about an article, leave a comment and start a discussion.

So that should hopefully give you a pretty thorough understanding of what we’re up to. I’d love to know what you think. Because, you know, we’re always Open for Ideas.

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This article is a pretty historic one for Open for Ideas. For a start, it’s the 100th article we’ve published. That’s a big deal for us! It means we're becoming a pretty hefty resource of smart ideas about smart ideas. Everyone who contributes to the site does it because...
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Dave Birss
Founder and Editor at OpenForIdeas.org
Dave is obsessed with creativity. He's been a musician, illustrator, stand-up comedian, poet, radio DJ, television presenter and advertising creative director. He also wrote A User Guide to the Creative Mind.
Now he runs Open for Ideas and helps individuals and companies become more creative.
You can find him speaking at conferences all over the world. And sharing his thinking in boardrooms, universities and dimly-lit pubs.