cognitive diversity

When I meet someone new, I am frequently asked about Emergenetics® and what I do for the company. I often respond by enquiring if they have ever come across a person who they did not understand. If so, were they able to determine why there was an air of uncertainty, and how did it impact their interaction?

In asking these questions, it gives me the opportunity to begin explaining Emergenetics and the concept of cognitive diversity, how people as a result of their genetics and life experiences will think and behave differently. I can also share that knowing the preferences of others is beneficial personally and professionally.

Diversity is a hot topic these days; however, often, when I mention cognitive diversity, I’m met with blank stares. Many people do not know exactly what this concept entails. So, why not make life easy and use a more common phrase? After some thinking, research and asking around I discovered a similar concept – Diversity of Thought, and I now incorporate it in my explanation.

What is Diversity of Thought?

Diversity of thought reaches beyond race, age, background or gender. As the words suggest, it encompasses your thoughts, ideas and solutions. We all have the freedom to think in our own way, and we all decide what we ruminate about, what we share and how we share it.

This is great, right? The answer, of course, is yes! However, if we rely solely on our own thoughts or only those similar to our own and do not incorporate different perspectives, we lack diversity of thought and miss out on the richness and effectiveness it offers us, our families, our workplace and our community.

The solution: identify people who think differently than we do and who bring their own strengths to the table. Be open to their unique insights, data and processes, which may be helpful and create connections to enhance a project.

The Benefits of Diversity of Thought

By creating an environment that welcomes different viewpoints and being open to others’ input, new perspectives, ideas and solutions will emerge. The results of doing so are powerful as Anesa “Nes” Diaz-Uda, Carmen Medina and Beth Schill share in Diversity’s New Frontier. As they state, harnessing diversity of thought in the workplace will allow you to:

  • Guard against groupthink and expert overconfidence. Diversity of thought helps organizations improve decision-making and more successfully complete tasks because it fosters more careful and creative information processing than typically occurs in groups with similar thinking styles.
  • Increase the scale of new insights. To quickly come up with a great idea, we often must connect multiple tasks and concepts in a new way. Cognitive diversity allows us to more easily raise these different and necessary viewpoints. Moreover, technological advances are enabling different methods, such as crowdsourcing, to use diversity of thought to address challenging problems.
  • Identify the right employees who can best tackle their most pressing problems. Advances in neuroscience mean that matching people to specific jobs based on more rigorous cognitive analysis is within reach. Organizations that can operationalize faster ideation can begin to purposely align individuals to certain teams and roles.

The Potential Impact of Diversity of Thought

Diversity of thought is all around, and there are tremendous benefits when we intentionally seek it out, identify it and welcome it. I encourage you to consider:

  • What your strengths are – as well as those of your teammates
  • What differences to be mindful of
  • Whether you have a cognitively diverse team today
  • How diversity of thought can enhance your life, project and connections

Diversity of thought is less visible than age, gender or ethnic backgrounds, which leads me back to what I do and who I work for. Emergenetics is based in neuroscience and uses a validated psychometric questionnaire to reveal an individual’s preferences for four Thinking and three Behavioural Attributes through the Emergenetics Profile.

The Profile is a strengths-based tool that celebrates the innate gifts of each Attribute, and it easily identifies diversity of thought when used in group settings. By establishing a common language using the seven Attributes, Emergenetics helps organizations better communicate and bridge differing preferences to realize the benefits associated with bringing together a collective of team members and utilizing diversity.

After all, Aristotle said it years ago: ‘“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To learn more about how to embrace cognitive diversity at your organization, please fill out the form below.

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