Diversity Drives Innovation
Diversity drives innovation. According to HBR, employees of firms with diversity are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market. But companies have driven for this goal for a while attempting to do the same things to make change. Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity.
And change is needed. While over 50% of today’s consumer purchases are made by women, where products are designed and funded, women are underrepresented. Only 6% of venture capitalists and 16% of founders and their teams are women today.
What should we do differently to drive a change?
Women have been supporting each other since the early days of quilting circles to lean in circles from Sheryl Sandburg. And while these groups are important and valuable (I am on the board of Girls in Tech, and WITI as well as on the advisory board of GSV Reboot), we need to do some things differently to drive change. To move to the next phase of driving more women into leadership roles in enterprise, startups and venture capitalists, we need women and men working to change structural circles by co creating together.
Dads of Daughters – Secret Weapon for Diversity in STEM
I have successfully run diversity groups in large organizations. Companies often ask me the secret of the success and while there are a few, one of the biggest was bringing in dads with daughters to play a role. Why?
Every movement must have a personal passion. Dads of daughters have the passion for making progress as they do not want their daughters to face what women today face. Daughters encouraged by their dads are twice as likely to graduate from high school, and score higher on STEM subjects.
By having dads of daughters and women and girls coding, designing, and disrupting around healthcare, safety, wearables, financial services, and more, we can showcase talent to corporations and startups, and really start the movement of change. I have dads of daughters in the advisory board positions of diversity groups and on my teams.
For one project, I carefully selected my partner in the work effort based on his background. He was a dad with a daughter. Once I explained our work to hire more diverse candidates in tech, he got it intellectually but more importantly, he got it emotionally. He did not want his daughter earning less or not feeling included just because she was a woman. Winning his mind and his heart showed in his passion and preparedness for our meetings.
If a startup begins with 10 people and 3 of them are women, the ratio as the company grows remains the same. We are going to fix the gender diversity epidemic in Silicon Valley engaging 100% of the population. We know that gender diverse companies outperform those who aren’t…so it isn’t charity. And we know if at least 3 of the first 10 folks in a company are women, it will mean hundreds more women when the company hits 1000 employees.
DoDs: Dads of Daughters
So what do you do? If you are a start-up, start early hiring a diverse and talented team. If you are an enterprise, engage dads of daughters in your efforts for inclusion, hiring, and promotion. You will be surprised at how much having 100% of the team on the field makes a difference!
Women Rock! Paper Scissors! TedX Talk!