Diversity, difference & disruption

Some of us come from learning environments that labelled students who challenged teachers or their learning process, as be-ing different, disruptive  & rebellious. These students were often punished, threatened, or ignored until they complied with the accepted “norm” and the opportunities of maximizing diversity, difference and disruption, as catalysts for change and creativity in the classroom were diminished.  As a consequence, some of us developed “negative anchors” around being labelled as be-ing different and disruptive and learnt what to do & say to avoid their teacher’s displeasure & disapproval. Doing this caused many of us to either rebel or to develop more compliant behaviors that effectively kept us out of trouble. Those of us who rebelled often missed the opportunity to benefit from the diversity and inclusion available in the classroom, and from traditional and conventional education processes. As a result, real opportunities for maximizing diversity and inclusion, difference & disruption, as catalysts for change & creativity in the classroom, were also punished as well as diminished.

Only exceptional teachers and educators were curious and questioned as to why they were thinking or behaving “differently” to “the pack”. Often identified as “trouble makers” we tended to be alienated from the rest of the more compliant students, causing many of us “disruptive” students to fall by the wayside,  unable to move on and achieve our full potential. Many of these “deviants”  found alternative means of becoming socialized & educated whilst others continued  lives of exclusion, social and intellectual alienation.

Finding courage to rebel

Alternately many of us found the courage and resilience to continue our rebellion, and continued to challenge the status quo. By be-ing different, disruptive and deviating from the norm,  many of us changed both our game and ultimately, the world! We did this by thinking what no-one else was thinking and doing what no-one else was doing, by taking conventions and turning them on their head and by making the ordinary unexpected.

Research now provides evidence of a range of contributing factors including AHDI, as well as a range of learning or brain processing irregularities, plus a variety of social and environmental issues that impact young people’s learning behaviors. Fortunately many parents, teachers and educators have learnt to read the signs and become more flexible and adaptive in their learning methods. This has enabled many of these often exceptional rebellious, different, disruptive and deviant students, to more appropriately accept and express their brilliance & creativity, by adding diverse and different perspectives to the situation.

Some of the more compliant and conventional students completed college and university, and then joined big organisations where they became part of the status quo and slowly moved up the hierarchical corporate ladder. Exceptional high performers competed successfully for extrinsic rewards, status and power, as this became a globally accepted way “of doing things around here”. Others, whilst very competent in their corporate roles, adhered to the implicit “rules” and remained conventionally comfortable, dependent on others to guide their way, whilst avoiding punishment or retribution for “rocking the boat”.

Maximizing diversity, difference and disruption

This way of working is no longer viable or sustainable in our globalized, competitive, commoditized and connected corporate world.  Complacent, inwardly focused, conventional ways of doing business results only in incremental change, whilst deep transformation is required to change the business game;

Diversity and inclusion, difference and disruption are key tools for shifting the business game!
• Deviants & diverse teams who are willing “to boldly go” and challenge the status quo, to think the unthinkable and surprise the world with new inventions and unexpected solutions through their disruptive, collaborative and creative thinking strategies, are key to innovation success.
• Organizations that focus efforts on creating innovative cultures enable leaders to be intentionally disruptive and maximize diversity will flourish in the 21st century.

Risk adversity and fear of failure typically get in the way of organizations embracing difference, disruption, diversity and inclusion as the basis for experimenting and catalyzing innovation as an inherent game changing tool.

The old labels and negative anchors around be-ing different & disruptive” have been embedded in the organizational psyche through schools and educational institutions. These still create paralyzing fearful responses to change and innovation,  often inhibiting organizations from embracing and maximizing the possibilities and creativity that disruption, diversity, inclusion and difference offer.

At ImagineNation through our extensive research and development process carried out over the past 2 years, we have identified how to successfully enable people how to be creatively rebellious; by teaching them to be confidently and intentionally disruptive to successfully deviate from the norm.

The intent is to create the safe space for the disruptive collisions that catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship.

Adopting an innovation management process 

This can be achieved by developing an organizational innovation management process that leverages and maximizes your talent:

1. Adopts a whole systems approach that focuses on building an innovative business eco-system that embodies and enacts the attributes of emergence, passion, experimentation and courage.
2. Ignites people’s intrinsic motivation for innovation by balancing the need for innovation with the possibilities that creative ideas and solutions potentially offer.
3. Teaches people how to generate ideas and solutions by embracing experimenting and practicing the mindsets of not knowing, challenging the assumed boundaries and conventions, permitting failure and embracing difference, deviance and diversity.
4. Gives people permission to adapt and collaborate, inquire and debate disruptively rather than destructively, experiment and improvise whilst keeping the pot of differences and deviance simmering.
5. Embeds the intrinsic motivators, mindsets and behaviours into daily activities and habits, processes and systems.

Being courageous and adopting a rebellious instinct, though inclusion and diversity, difference and disruption, by discarding old business habits and safety nets, cliches and organizations can remake the market landscape.  It also shifts the needle and increases the possibilities for game changing re-inventions and innovation that can restructure the very way we approach customers, markets, communities and the world as a whole.

At ImagineNation™ we provide innovation coaching, education and culture consulting to help businesses achieve their innovation goals. Because we have done most of the learning and actioning of new hybrid mindsets, behaviors and skill-sets already, we can help your businesses also do this by opening people up to their innovation potential.

Contact us now at janet@imaginenation.com.au to find out how we can partner with you to learn, adapt and grow your business in the digital age.