Why worry about diversity in the IS Field?

Alpha Trade Finance is a publication that I never read. However there was a link in a Mentoring newsletter that caught my attention: “Ten Things Companies – and Women – Can Do To Get Ahead.”  As advertised, it really does identify 10 things companies can do and then 10 things women can do to get ahead.

Many of them are things we all have heard before. However, the first item needs repeating:

Work toward “Functional Diversity”: Professor Scott Page of the University of Michigan uses this term to capture the idea that we need people with diverse ways of perceiving problems, rather than groupthink, in order to devise better solutions. As a recent Ernst & Young report points out, a group of intelligent problem solvers chosen at random will outperform a homogenous group of even the best problem solvers, under the right conditions.

    That caught my attention because it identifies the primary reason I believe we need to increase the number of women (and other minorities) in the Information Systems field. The field suffers from terribly high failure rates for systems. Study after study has shown that diversity leads to better products. So, it is in everyone’s interests that we increase the diversity of the IS field. Don’t think of it as a “women’s problem” …. think of it as a “better technology problem” that belongs to all of us!

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