Why diversity is good for your product teams





Diversity & inclusion are hot topics in the business world and are becoming increasingly important as more cultures and organisations are opening up to diverse perspectives and thought. The benefit of diversity in business has been proven, with PwC stating that businesses with a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. Further research from NEW online also shows that there are positive correlations between customer satisfaction and diversity:

  • Multiple viewpoints and experiences lead to innovative decision making and development
  • Insights from team members who understand cultural nuances first hand result in more relevant products, marketing and experiences that directly impact the bottom line

So, how do you embed diversity when creating your product team?

1. Think outside the box when creating your team

If your team consists of people with similar genders, backgrounds, professional/life experiences and perspectives, you’re never going to get the best product. The risk is that commonality between the individuals in your team could result in decisions make by consensus, impacted by unconscious bias, ultimately settling on an inferior solution without realising it.

You need diversity to go in different directions, to stretch your idea of what’s possible and take your product from good to great. Diversity is inherent but diverse skills can be acquired through experience: platform experience, language fluency, generational insight, social media skills, cross-functional technical knowledge and more.

2. Supercharge innovation with customer understanding

Understanding the behaviours and needs of your customers is a pivotal factor in creating successful products. The deeper insight you have into the hearts and minds of your user the more personalised and satisfying your product will be. Research from HBR shows that diversity has a direct impact on innovation.

When at least one member of the team has traits in common with the end user, the entire team better understands that user. A team with a member who shared demographic data such as ethnicity with the customer is 152% likelier than another team to understand that customer.

3. Empower inclusion through great processes & communication

So we’ve got our diverse team in place, great! Inviting people from different backgrounds with common traits to your customers into the team are effective tools, but it’s the inclusion of those people that gives them your team members a voice. And it’s that voice, that can make the difference between a good and great product. How can you ensure your project is truly inclusive for all your team members? For us, we start with an innovation sprint.

Our sprint helps our clients rapidly solve problems and answer critical business questions in an intelligent 5-day process. The sprint format enables your team to work collaboratively, shortcut unstructured discussion which limits bias but also ensures all the voices and ideas of your team members are heard. Then the best ideas are voted on and contribute towards creating your product, enabling you to realise all the benefits a diverse team have to offer.

Agile ceremonies also have a role to play here, from your daily stand-ups to your planning meeting, regular open communication during production ensures that the diverse ideas and perspectives of the team are well represented as the project progresses.


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