- While regions hoping to boost innovation often focus on economic incentives, new research published in Harvard Business Review says that social policies may matter just as much, or more.
- In states with liberal social policies, like legalized gay marriage and marijuana, diversity is improved and innovation flourishes, according to the study.
- The findings can be applied to workplaces, the author notes: "Building a workplace in which employees have the chance to routinely meet new people and freely share their ideas can truly unleash their innovation potential."
This research supports what another recent study found — that diversity has a causal link with innovation.
Innovation comes from freedom of thought and interaction with others, the studies say. Performance and engagement are highest when employees feel they can be themselves, and when they have a diverse group of coworkers with whom to brainstorm.
But even the most innovative ideas have little chance of succeeding without buy-in from leadership; this means that organizations that have policies and values that support a diverse culture and foster collaboration can gain a competitive edge.