Identifying Relevant Differences To Include
Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations below:
Sometimes the most relevant differences are right in front of our noses.
Digging into the stories of those we already work with help us suss out where different perspectives and heuristics are already here—and give people permission to express them.
Often, though, we need to hunt for people who see things differently than us—especially when we’ve been working together with the same people for a long time.
Gathering more perspectives—even incorrect ones—is always ultimately useful, either to show us what we don’t see or to point us in a new direction.
Even less-relevant cognitive diversity helps us explore more of the mountain range, because in between good and bad ideas are often ideas we’ve never considered.
But if we’re short on time, or trying to be targeted about finding relevant cognitive diversity, there are a couple good rules of thumb:
Always tap into the perspectives of any group that will be affected by the solution to the problem we’re trying to solve.
Search for honest dissenters, people who legitimately disagree with you, and invite their perspectives. We’ll talk more about this later.
Pro tip: It’s often more effective to tap into different thinking in 1-on-1 settings vs group settings (1 on 1 you can potentially go deeper, safer; group settings you can potentially give others confidence to participate from their unique perspective).
Think About This:
What proxies of cognitive diversity should you be considering in a person who you may want to get input from in your project? Think about the potential relevance the following individual attributes of a person might have to perspectives and heuristics that broaden your cognitive diversity for this project:
Where on the economic or social totem pole the person is, compared to others who will be giving input to or affected by this project
The possible extreme life situations the person may have faced, relevant to this project or a generally unique perspective as a result
The generation the person grew up in
Place and culture the person grew up in
Family: parents, siblings, partners, kids, and the different journeys that these people close to them have lived
All the possible identities that the person has: cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, vocational, industrial, political, sexual, personality, groups they belong to, and pursuits and passions that they identify with
The physical traits the person has which may result in different perspectives
Some of the most relevant differences in a collaboration have to do with “how we roll”—which is another way of talking about our perspectives and heuristics.
The groundbreaking leadership consulting firm SY Partners uses a particularly fun exercise to help its team members learn how they roll, called What’s Your Superpower? It costs a couple bucks in app form, and a few more to get a physical deck.