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Older = Diverse

(May 18, 2006)  Beneath all of the PC BS, Diversity is a really, really good idea. The more different kinds of minds and backgrounds you can apply to a problem, the better the solution. It's a solution whose problem arrived just in time.

A large component of the demographic changes that are shaping our world is a numeric change in the composition of the populations of most (India and the rest of Asia are exceptions) industrial countries. You could argue that border transparency is an attribute of a developed country. Only Japan sets a different example.

Diversity implies a willingness to allow your definition of "normal" to evolve consciously. Although the political energy behind much of the diversity movement makes things feel forced, it is really just a recognition of demographic reality. The world has shifted and, as usual, we are a little slow to catch up.

The single largest risk companies and cultures face is the myopia that comes from success. A broad spectrum of opinion and cultural insight allows us to reach beyond our individual limitations to a more comprehensive view. Freedom from discrimination on the basis of genetic characteristic helps inoculate us against the smugness of the status quo. The broader the range of perspective you have within the organization, the more immune you are to arrogance.

It seems to us that the universe of older people are now becoming a facet of diversity. It used to be hard to imagine equal workplace access for women, ethnic minorities, immigrants, gays, handicapped and other groups. It is still hard to imagine a "senior-friendly" environment.

Funny. In many other cultures, the parental and grand parental demographic (ancestors), take a prominent and important place in the working of the society. Only the Western, youth driven culture actively discriminates against age in the workplace. We're imagining a strong trend to change this dynamic.

 John Sumser . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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