Betting on the Crowd: The Intelligence of Diversity

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The power of diverse groups to make better decisions than non-diverse groups is one of the most potent ideas to come along in a generation and is currently in the process of upending the way business is conducted. From Google to Procter & Gamble – and much of the Fortune 500 in between – the collective wisdom of the diverse crowd is being applied to everything from search engines to R&D, and this only the beginning. Nowhere is the application of this notion more meaningful than in the area of organizational diversity. This paper will explore how the diverse-group decision-making idea (as described by Surowiecki in the Wisdom of Crowds and Cass Sunstein in Infotopia) allows for a radically different approach to getting diversity integrated in the organization. Instead of a moral-based rationale for diversity, this approach provides a rationale based purely on business considerations while bringing diverse voices into the organization. Its implementation in companies such as Daimler-Chrylser and ANZ Bank, will also be explored.


Keywords: Activating Diversity, Wisdom of Crowds, Decision-Making, Business Case
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


James Borwick

Managing Director, Diversiteria
Santa Fe, NM, USA

I have worked for two decades implementing communications and education programs in large organizations. Over the last several years, I have narrowed my focus purely to diversity education and implementation programs, and have created a company - Diversiteria - that specializes in these programs. My interest, as reflected in our programs, is to bring a fresh approach to diversity. An approach that differs from the traditional moral-based view of diversity, and instead focuses on changing the role and relationship of people to diversity, giving them a voice and a stake in the organization while improving decision-making and innovation within the organization. We have successfully achieved these goals in companies around the globe.

Ref: D08P0419