A favorite on my bookshelf is ‘6 Billion Others: Portraits of Humanity from Around the World’. I bought it years ago in a bookstore in Singapore, a small Asian country that values its diversity. Among other things, ethnic diversity is mandated in apartment buildings. Such requirements also apply to business. The country’s pragmatic leaders and citizens see diversity and inclusion as a critical ingredient for economic growth — they know that supporting this social good also creates a force for business growth. This lens on the economic opportunity of diversity is our focus in this month’s issue of Signal360.
Realizing growth opportunities while improving diversity lies in identifying and creating products and services for underserved groups, such as people with disabilities, as well as updating old practices like marketing to reach marginalized communities better. In our lead feature, we explore the opportunity of people with disabilities — 15% of the world’s population, or a size greater than China — by looking at companies such as Apple, which has brought inclusive design to its products. And in a separate piece, we put a spotlight on some of the efforts that are being done at P&G to evolve marketing’s messaging and talent, such as through collaborations with GLAAD and Queen Latifah.
We’re also seeing changes taking place in the broader social and business context. As Twitter’s God-Is Rivera notes in this month’s Signal Archive, #BlackTwitter has brought a historically marginalized community together, and businesses have stepped up in the last 12 months, since George’s Floyd murder, to improve diversity practices. The underlying, implicit bias is changing, too. This “thumbprint on our brains,” as our Signal Conversation guest, Dr. Mahzarin Banaji calls it, reflects the culture we live in. These norms and experiences are baked into unconscious bias and motivate actions, including in business, impacting their talent systems and, ultimately, business results.
Bias is changing around the world. You’ll want to watch Omkar Bhat’s Signal Entrepreneur story of his campaign that featured two young women in India who took over their father’s barbershop — their success inspired new views on gender roles in their rural community.
Diversity and inclusion are essential ingredients for business growth, especially for innovation. There is ample evidence that diverse organizations are more successful innovators with better business growth. For the 10th anniversary of P&G’s annual Signal summit (July 14-15 – reserve your spot now!) we are creating our most diverse program yet, to serve as inspiration and education for you to grow your business. We hope you and many others will join us for this global virtual event.
Stan Joosten & John Battelle,
Editors-In-Chief, Signal360 / Co-founders, Signal P&G