The Power of Inclusion and Diversity

                      Inclusion and diversity have moved from being simply a social issue to being a business imperative, especially for STEM companies in need of ongoing innovation.

                      How do you see the unseeable? Despite the apparent paradox, the Event Horizon Telescope team managed to do exactly that, capturing an image of the supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy called M87. The Event Horizon Telescope deployed a network of eight radio telescopes to create a virtual telescope as big as the earth itself, but it took the unique, sophisticated algorithm created by Dr. Katie Bouman to turn all that raw data into an image that transfixed the world.1

                      The Event Horizon Telescope showcases the power of inclusion and diversity in action. Not only is the telescope itself the product of eight different points of view, but the key scientist—a young, female computer scientist—epitomizes the great strides diverse teams can make with full participation  and engagement of its members. As Bouman herself said to CNN, “No one of us could’ve done it alone. It came together because of lots of different people from many different backgrounds."2

                      Diversity Matters

                      Bouman isn’t just parroting some politically correct line. Organizations of all types have come to realize that diversity is about more than reflecting the makeup of the communities in which we operate, or the customers we serve. When fully integrated and leveraged, it’s also a competitive advantage, as many analyses and resulting data sets have shown. Big companies with at least one woman on the board dramatically outperformed those without in terms of stock price and profitability.3 In its latest diversity report, McKinsey found that companies with executive teams in the highest strata of ethnic and cultural diversity are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than peers in the bottom quartile.4

                      For companies in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, an inclusive and diverse workforce that engages all its employees can be the secret to finding the next society-changing  innovation. Susan Kelliher, SVP, people and health services at The Chemours Company says that, “To solve the challenges of the future and innovate solutions that will change the world, we need the power of differences and the uniqueness of each person. We cannot rely solely on the people who are already a part of our industry; we need people representing different geographies, race, gender, experiences, lifestyles, and all our differences that can spark fresh perspectives to problems we need to solve.” 

                      1 Temming, Maria. “How Scientists Took the First Picture of a Black Hole.” Science News, 10 Apr. 2019, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/event-horizon-telescope-black-hole-picture.
                      2 “Katie Bouman: The Woman behind the First Black Hole Image.” BBC News, 11 Apr. 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47891902.
                      3 The CS Gender 3000: The Reward for Change. Credit Suisse Research Institute, 2016.
                      4 Hunt, Vivian, et al. Delivering through Diversity. McKinsey & Company, 2018.
                      5 Diaz-Uda, et al. Diversity’s New Frontier: Diversity of Thought and the Future of the Workforce. Deloitte University Press, 2013.
                      6 Frey, William H. “The US Will Become ‘Minority White’ in 2045, Census Reports.” Brookings, 14 Mar. 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-will-become-minority-white-in-2045-census-projects/.
                      7 “The US Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST04218 . 8

                       

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