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Innovation is key to becoming a ‘people-centric’ business

When I think of “Inclusion and Diversity”, I automatically think about creating a diverse and inclusive workforce environment: providing all employees with learning and development opportunities, ensuring employees with disabilities have the right tools and resources and educating all employees on how to work with people with disabilities, sending out regular communications on techniques for how to strengthen inclusion and diversity in the workplace and so forth.

Reading this article from UTalkMarketing.com this morning over a cup of coffee made me question my own definition of “Inclusion and Diversity.” I came to the conclusion that my view on this subject was far too narrow – I was focussing on it from a purely internal perspective and needed to think outside of the box and include an external perspective too. Inclusion and Diversity isn’t just about making your diverse workforce feel included; it’s also about ensuring that your customers feel included AND that their voices and their business needs lie at the heart of your business.

The author of this article, Chris Beswick, argues that businesses need to develop a relationship with their customers, look at the world from their perspective and appreciate the problems they face and the things they aspire to. Instead of focussing on their own products and services, businesses need to put greater focus on their customers’ problems and tensions – it’s not “what you do”, i.e. what you sell; what you provide, but rather “how you do it”, i.e. how you fuel innovation and differentiation.

Yet Beswick argues that true customer-centricity is only possible if you first become people-centric. In his words the only way you can provide an exceptional end-to-end customer experience is to ensure that everyone in your organisation understands how to collaborate on solving your customers’ problems.

How do you extend Inclusion and Diversity to your customers? Share your thoughts below.

Do you have an Inclusion and Diversity story to share? Please send it to idblog@cisco.com.

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Innovation through Diverse Perspectives

“It’s the female trend and it’s the sustainability trends that are going to create some of the most interesting investment opportunities in the years to come.  The whole thing about the female trend is not about women being better than men.  It is actually about women being different from men—bringing different values and different ways to the table.  So what do you get?  You get better decision-making and you get less herd behavior and both of those things hit your bottom line with very positive results.”   Holla Tomasdittor, co-founder of Audur Capital.

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Diversity is a no-brainer, says Bank of America

“I can’t emphasise enough just how important – and real – diversity is at Bank of America. Everything we do in the company supports one of our core values: inclusive meritocracy. For us, diversity is all about inclusion. It is not just about gender. It’s not just about ethnicity. Here, diversity and inclusion mean respecting and valuing all nationalities, cultures, religions, sexual orientation, economic and social backgrounds and disabilities. By working with our differences, we can develop innovative products for our customers and a unique environment for our associates.” Geri Thomas, global diversity and inclusion executive from the Bank of America Read More »

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Valentine’s Valentine is Inclusion and Diversity

Valentine’s Day is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.

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Can manners make us more innovative?

  • The top meeting etiquette blunder is multi-tasking whilst in face-to-face meetings.

As discussed in my previous post “What will your working environment look like in 10 years?” the business environment is set to change rapidly in the coming years. Many people have already seen some changes in their workplaces with technology such as WebEx and TelePresence enabling virtual workplaces. There are many financial, business and environmental benefits to these technologies, but one of the side-effects that seem to be appearing is bad business etiquette. Read More »

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