In London while on the bus (one of my favourite spots) we recently drove past a large group of people standing outside in a park next to a large office building. It looked like there had been a test fire alarm and about 100 people were standing outside, enjoying the sun and the time off work I am assuming.
What striked me as interesting was how the group looked from above (I was sitting on the second level of the double decker bus). Everyone looked almost exactly the same – predominantly male, and relatively young. They were all wearing light blue shirts and dark coloured suits. Some had their suit jackets on, others had taken them off. They all had brown hair (except one guy with purple hair, not sure how he got away with that). I couldn’t believe it, all 100 of them just blurred together into one person.
When I did my MBA all the discussions usually came back to innovation, how can you be innovative, how can you think outside the box, how can a business do things differently, come up with new ideas. Businesses around the world struggle to do this. But this cannot be easy if all of your employees look, act and dress the same. Do they think the same too? Have you told them what to think and how to think? What happens when one does propose an idea, something completely different, where does that idea go? How is it received? Is it pushed aside and status quo takes back its rightful position.
How do we create businesses that think in different ways in a world where it is increasingly crucial that they do, for all of our sakes?