Lesson 1.9

Identifying Relevant Differences To Include

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations below:

Key Concepts:

  • Sometimes the most relevant differences are right in front of our noses.

  • Digging into the stories of those we already work with help us suss out where different perspectives and heuristics are already here—and give people permission to express them.

  • Often, though, we need to hunt for people who see things differently than us—especially when we’ve been working together with the same people for a long time.

  • Gathering more perspectives—even incorrect ones—is always ultimately useful, either to show us what we don’t see or to point us in a new direction.

  • Even less-relevant cognitive diversity helps us explore more of the mountain range, because in between good and bad ideas are often ideas we’ve never considered.

  • But if we’re short on time, or trying to be targeted about finding relevant cognitive diversity, there are a couple good rules of thumb:

    • Always tap into the perspectives of any group that will be affected by the solution to the problem we’re trying to solve.

    • Search for honest dissenters, people who legitimately disagree with you, and invite their perspectives. We’ll talk more about this later.

  • Pro tip: It’s often more effective to tap into different thinking in 1-on-1 settings vs group settings (1 on 1 you can potentially go deeper, safer; group settings you can potentially give others confidence to participate from their unique perspective).

Think About This:

  • What proxies of cognitive diversity should you be considering in a person who you may want to get input from in your project? Think about the potential relevance the following individual attributes of a person might have to perspectives and heuristics that broaden your cognitive diversity for this project:

    • Where on the economic or social totem pole the person is, compared to others who will be giving input to or affected by this project

    • The possible extreme life situations the person may have faced, relevant to this project or a generally unique perspective as a result

    • The generation the person grew up in

    • Place and culture the person grew up in

    • Family: parents, siblings, partners, kids, and the different journeys that these people close to them have lived

    • All the possible identities that the person has: cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, vocational, industrial, political, sexual, personality, groups they belong to, and pursuits and passions that they identify with

    • The physical traits the person has which may result in different perspectives

External Exercise:

  • Some of the most relevant differences in a collaboration have to do with “how we roll”—which is another way of talking about our perspectives and heuristics.

  • The groundbreaking leadership consulting firm SY Partners uses a particularly fun exercise to help its team members learn how they roll, called What’s Your Superpower? It costs a couple bucks in app form, and a few more to get a physical deck.

  • To get a preview of the Superpowers App, or a Superpowers card deck of your own, click here.