Martin Luther King might have been smiling from the heavens at the flood of people in Davos for the World Economic Forum, eagerly talking about Web. 2.0,online social networks – and all the money to be made when you enable diverse people to create community and, yes, opportunity (aka millions in profits).
King’s dream and the so-called “power of us” enjoyed by us today share at least one trait: support a diverse group in working well together and you can create something bigger and better.
Yes, diversity pays. King’s dream is also good for business, as an intriguing piece on NPR reported last week.
Cedric Herring, Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, looked at data from about 250 large and small companies. He discovered that there was a linear correlation between the diversity of the workplace and critical markers of business success, such as market share and profitability.
Shankar Vedantam covered the results of this Herring Study in the January 15th issue of Washington Post, "Those companies that have very low levels of racial and ethnic minorities have the lowest profits and the lowest market share and the lowest number of customers," he said. "Those that have medium levels do better, and those that have the highest levels do the best."
As my ex-husband says, “Diversity in close proximity with opportunity usually builds bonds.” And a cohesive team that brings greater variety to the table can see a bigger picture faster. That maybe the next benefit, following Martin Luther King's dream (speech that sticks in our minds and hearts today) for a world living and working peacably together.
Here's some excerpts from that speech:
"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
Please note, Davos, the power of social media that facilitates deeper, more diverse connections, can mean more profits. Yes, “diversity is a beautiful thing.”