Simon Fanshawe on diversity and ignorance at Innovate East

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What you get when you value the
difference in the team is you get the meld and the contradictions and the
arguments so it’s one of the people we’re working with at Anglian Water said
to me recently, if we’re prepared to take the time to have the argument and
understand each other’s different viewpoints and why they’re coming
towards what they’re coming towards that will give us the better solutions and
it’s in ignorance where you find innovation it’s not in what you already
know it’s in ignorance it’s the journey from what you know to what you don’t
know – in order for organisations to do this you can do it at a team level, a
department level, you can do it across a grade or you can do it throughout an
organisation and I think what lies at the base of this is the organisation
being clear about what it values about what people bring if you put gay and
straight people in a room together and gay people are open about that and
comfortable the conversation will change if you put men and women in a group
together and they respect each other the conversation will change that’s what
you’re constantly looking for if you’ve got people of different education and
class backgrounds in the same room together the conversation will be
different because the assumptions are different and that’s where you get the
excitement – so when I was after this event somebody said to me it’s like Bake
Off crossed with Glastonbury, what I actually find is nothing like baked off
on Glastonbury actually what it’s full off is people meeting people who that by
and large don’t usually speak to about subjects they don’t usually speak to
those people about and that’s really what you want you want to get people
used to the idea that they look outside their industry outside their sector
outside their own experience and if you can do that even if you have to make
cakes and wade through the mud that’s a good thing

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