NC State researchers find causal link between diversity and innovation
- A new study out of North Carolina Sate University found that diversity can be a financial boon for businesses. A diverse workforce in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation performs better at developing innovative products and services, according to the authors of “Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?”
- The researchers analyzed diversity policy data from 3,000 large, publicly held U.S. companies; patent data; and new product announcement data. Diversity policies won’t lead to overnight improvements in innovation, the authors said, but a diverse company will see about two new additional product announcements over 10 years, they added.
- “To be clear, we found that there is a causative link – it’s not just a correlation,” one co-author said, announcing the findings. “And the finding extends across a broad range of industry sectors.”
The paper's findings may be particularly eye-opening for the tech industry, which has long struggled with diversity but also places a premium on innovation and new products.
Policy changes, however, aren't a silver bullet. Corporate culture is cited as one key barrier to inclusiveness in the tech industry. Some have recognized this, and made major strides in creating a culture of inclusion.
Tim Ryan, PricewaterhouseCooper's CEO, is leading an effort to get company heads nationwide to commit to diversity. More than 330 CEOs have signed on. HR, however, can play a major role in shaping internal company culture.
- N.C. State University Study Finds Diversity Boosts Innovation in U.S. Companies
- HR Dive What you need to know about company culture