“84% of executives consider their future success to be very or extremely dependent on innovation.” reported a survey by Accenture. On the same lines, according to a McKinsey report, “only 4% of executives have not defined innovation as a strategic priority”. It is more than clear at this point that organizations all across the globe consider innovation as one of the crucial ingredients for success. This is especially true for the startup economy. Startup innovation often determines the fate of organizational success. In fact, studies report that 92% startups fail due to lack of innovation. While we have established that startup innovation directly translates to startup success, the recipe for innovation is still shrouded in mystery.
Technological upgradations, new forms of doing business, etc are some of the most common answers to the question “How do we innovate”? While there is no second opinion about the integral role of technology and new business process towards startup innovation, we often tend to overlook one secret ingredient, that of ‘Inclusion’. Don’t believe us, it is the numbers that state it for you. According to a study by Deloitte, inclusive organizations rate themselves as 170% better at innovation. Let us look at a few ways that inclusion drives startup innovation-
Out of the Box Solutions
Take 5 men from the same age group, cultural and social background, who are similar in every way possible and present them with a problem. Invariably, you will get very similar solutions. Now just expand your pool of participants to come from different genders, backgrounds, qualifications, etc. Voila! You will have a hefty bouquet of solutions. That same goes with startup innovation too. The basic rule for innovation is creating new products or processes. Startups, or any organization for that matter, can only achieve this by having minds that don’t think alike.
You can’t put the same ingredients and expect two different cake flavours, can you? Well, inclusion helps startups brainstorm on out of the box solutions and ways to implement the same. Simply put, when you have different minds that think differently, work on the same problem, your effort to startup innovation will bear fruit.
Inclusion Attracts Top Talent
While we know now that different people bring in innovative solutions, the question comes how do you bring in this top talent. Well, the simple answer is that diversity and inclusion attract the best talent. In fact, according to a Glassdoor survey, “2/3rd job applicants consider diversity to be an important factor in deciding where they want to work”. This means that the greater inclusion you foster, the better talent you attract and consequently, the greater innovation you strike.
As startup innovation is directly proportional to the talent it attracts, diversity and inclusion invariably becomes a determinant of success. A DDI report suggested that “More than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity”. If you’re able to bring about that sort of inclusion in your startup, you will be on the highroad to innovation.
Tap Newer Markets with Inclusion
The objective of innovation is not only about serving the existing customers and markets better. It is as much about tapping into new markets via new and innovative strategies. This is where inclusion comes in. Statistically, companies with “two-dimensional” diversity are 45% more likely to capture a larger portion of the market. Diverse and inclusive teams are able to drive startup innovation to tap into new markets seamlessly. In fact, inclusion enables startups to be 70% more likely to enter a new market within a year.
Inclusive workforces can not only generate new ideas and services to serve the customers better. They also assist in greater market capture by understanding different consumer needs, rather than viewing them as a homogenous whole. According to Catalyst, teams are >150% more likely to understand target consumers when they have at least one member who represents their target’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or culture. Still debating whether inclusion will help you breed innovation and act as an inlet to newer markets?
Disagreements Breed Innovation
The golden rule of innovation that we tend to overlook is that innovation doesn’t happen where everyone is in agreement and there is group thinking. Innovation thrives upon disagreements, arguments, differing points of view and distinct opinions. However, unless you plant the seeds for diversity and inclusion, real and meaningful conversations to drive innovation will be a distant dream.
This simply translates to the idea that disagreements only take place when there is a diversity of thought and opinion, which is voiced. And, this difference of opinion can come to the table only in a safe and inclusive work culture. Therefore, startup innovation sees disagreements as a prerequisite, which in turn requires the inclusion of diverse thoughts, beliefs and experiences.
Startup Innovation: Just a Hype?
At Recro, we believe that the idea inclusion drives startup innovation has deeper roots than being just a fad. It comes with some real value that startups like us are realizing today. Invariably, startup innovation is no longer a feel good factor, to give you a competitive edge. It will define your survival or decline. And, diversity and inclusion is a sure shot route to accomplish that goal and strive towards success.