Where do good ideas come from? Diversity. There is a growing body of evidence showing that cognitive diversity can play a powerful role in increasing the ideation and innovation capacity of a group or community. This session unpacks cognitive diversity, shows how it can drive better outcomes and examines some things that can get in the way. As General Patton said; “If everyone is thinking the same thing, then someone isn’t thinking at all.” If a group of people are considering something that matters, there will be some disagreement. Pursuing better solutions requires that we are willing and able to create social spaces where we can surface and recombinate those differences. We often avoid those differences because there is tension there. If you want the benefit that diversity brings, you have to be able to contain the tension that comes with it and that is where a lot of individuals and groups fall short. They avoid or deny differences because it is easier and safer. Even if we have an intuitive appreciation for the fact that different perspectives can be valuable, human nature can still get in the way. Things like stereotypes, assumptions, implicit association, attribution errors, and cognitive biases can have a profound impact on our considerations of others, regardless of our intentions. We can however, reduce the impact of our drive to judge and categorize so that it does not prevent us from creating robust intersections of differing perspectives.
joe gerstandt helps organizations and communities better deliver on their promises. He does this by helping people and groups of people understand the raw power of difference and helping them to build cultures that utilize that power.
joe works with Fortune 500 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He also speaks at numerous conferences and summits each year and blogs at joegerstandt.com. He is a contributor to the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have also been published in HR Executive, The Diversity Factor, The American Diversity Report, the Corporate Recruiting Leadership Journal and numerous other print and on-line journals.
After serving four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, joe spent 6 years in sales management. Knowing that he had not yet found his calling, he made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization doing HIV prevention to high risk populations. Many things then changed for joe.
A few years later he went to work for a national non-profit where he was responsible for several programs focused on social justice, diversity, inclusion, and human relations. He then went back one final time to the corporate world in the role of Diversity Director for a regional healthcare system. Here joe had the unique opportunity of building a plan from scratch to focus on workforce diversity, inclusive organizational culture and culturally competent care.
Upon finishing that work, joe launched his own consulting firm and now works with organizations across the country, across sectors and of all sizes.
joe is a unique and strong voice for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, and believes strongly that we can ill afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century business issues. joe integrates both cutting edge research and insightful stories into his presentations and workshops.
joe lives in Omaha, Nebraska (the middle of everywhere) with his patient, kind and patient wife, two daughters and a brand new baby boy. He sleeps too little, reads too much and is here to recruit you to help change the world.
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