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This Diverse Thinking Capability Audit is a global first and seeks to fill a gap created by the lack of tools to measure diverse thinking on Boards. Yet the importance of diverse thinking to enhance the quality of Board decision making and performance is so great that this gap must be filled.
Currently, the gap appears to exist because diverse thinking has been elided with gender equality, so that some Chairs and Directors think that getting women around the Board table is all that is needed. The number of women, or people with other demographic characteristics like ethnicity or age, is also easy to measure. You can literally see the diversity.
Although diverse thinking may leverage off gender equality, it is a broader concept. Getting all of the talent pool around the Board table that can contribute to the success of the company/ organisation is just the first step. The next is to ensure you are actively recruiting Chairs and Directors who can think diversely about risks, problems and solutions. Demographic characteristics may be one group of predictors of diverse thinking but there are many others. If we do not get beyond the stereotypes of what diverse thinking is, who are diverse thinkers and how best to encourage them to challenge and have different views and perspectives, we will not reap the benefits of diverse thinking.
A global literature search (see Appendix A) shows that there is an overwhelming focus on gender diversity and to a lesser extent ethnic diversity in Boardrooms, and how to attract and retain diverse talent. However, there is little research specifically on how to increase diverse thinking in the best interests of the company/organization, the predictors of diverse thinking beyond gender and ethnicity, and how to create a Boardroom culture and governance practices which will encourage diverse thinkers to contribute challenge or offer different insights for better decision-making.