Cognitive Diversity

Learning from the very first session ! That’s what happens every single day at ISB. Dean Madan Pilutla kicked off the proceedings at the PGPMax Leadership Summit 2021 – Join us now !. In his session with Dibyendu, he mentioned this word “Cognitive Diversity”.

Cognitive Diversity

The definition of Cognitive Diversity is inclusion of people who solve things differently by basically thinking differently.

What a beautiful term ! I would always say that if everyone in the team thinks alike then we don’t need a team – one person is enough. The term Cognitive Diversity is what I was looking for. Demographic diversity is so easy .. its numbers and we always manage to get numbers right. Accepting people who think differently and including them in the decision making process is so difficult.

I know several people who have lost their jobs or have moved into less important roles because of their thinking being different. The attempt is to have everyone think alike, look alike, eat alike !!!

Found this beautiful infographic that clearly explains the differences between demographic and cognitive diversities. Please read the entire article – The case for building true organizational diversity.

Cognitive Diversity

Our differences in values, attitudes, beliefs and priorities is what makes us unique and very interesting people. If everyone thought alike, that’s robotic ! Variety is the spice of life so we should learn to embrace it at our workplace too.

Differences must be valued and we have to strive towards building teams that are cognitively diverse. That’s the survival tip to deal with large scale disruption !

Suggested reading – The Benefits Of Cognitive Diversity and an earlier blog of mine – Do You Have a Contrarian on Your Team?.

2 thoughts on “Cognitive Diversity”

  1. Sounds interesting ans surely will bring in wider decision choices – something like using the Thinking Hats of DeBono. The big challenge in team configuration could be forcing this diverse value systems into one unit- which is a lot tougher than demographic diversity. Also being able to map the traits of individuals could be an effort.

    • Yes Vish. It basically means we set aside our egos and genuinely listen to others who think differently from us. Extremely tough. I think the reverse mentoring concept is similar and it helps in keeping an open mind.


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