It's the holy grail of business success--a creative team that can innovate your company into unchartered and untapped markets. There's no shortage of advice about how to foster it, but really the shortest route to creativity lies in one simple ingredient: a diverse team made up of people who spring from widely varying backgrounds. When placed in close proximity, they're like flint on steel, producing sparks that can ignite brilliant ideas. That's according to Victor Rosenman--CEO of FeedVisor, a 45-person, Israel-based algorithmic-pricing and business-intelligence platform--who says a quarter of his employees are from different countries around the world. That diversity, he says, is the secret to his company's success. Here's why:
A global team can get inside the heads of your customers.
Serving customers in Germany is nothing like serving them in Brazil or Australia, and successful global companies understand they need people who understand how to tweak strategies according to local markets. "With the help of these people, we can operate [like] a local company," Rosenman says.
Technology makes it easy to manage a global team.
Whether you use websites such as Elance to find local talent or the plethora of platforms that make online collaboration simple, managing remote workers has never been easier. FeedVisor uses Skype and the cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp to get employees in different locations around the world collaborating with each other.
Diversity means more than just skin color or country of origin.
The key is thinking about the backgrounds of your team members. How can you mold a collection of people who are so different they'll generate ideas that otherwise wouldn't be possible? For example, think about hiring product managers who will ask different questions because of their widely varying backgrounds, such as engineering and customer service. "The first one with an engineering background will better understand the technological challenges, and the other one will better understand the issues customers deal with," Rosenman says. "So I would strongly recommend going for as many different points of view as possible."
Creativity is really just acting outside a comfort zone.
And bumping up against others who don't share the same worldview isn't comfortable. "It's an original way of dealing with issues," Rosenman says. "It creates multiple opinions, and that leads to creativity."