Here's the premise, having diverse groups leads to better decisions.
Here's the logic behind the premise, courtesy of Northwestern University:
"Diverse groups outperformed more homogeneous groups not because of an influx of new ideas, but because diversity triggered more careful information processing that is absent in homogeneous groups."
The article continues
"In diverse settings, people tend to view conversations as a potential source of conflict that can breed negative emotions, and it is these emotions that can blind people to diversity’s upsides: new ideas can emerge, individuals can learn from one another, and they may discover the solution to a problem in the process."
Emphasis added. Link to the article here.
Sometimes the choice is simple.
Do you want to feel comfortable, or do you want to progress?
Let's be clear that the world has made it's choice already, it's progressing. It's becoming more connected. It's becoming more complex.
That decision has been made. The real question is whether you in the specific, and the arts industry in general, wants to move with the world or against it.
Moving with the world means allowing people with different worldviews, different apperances, different ages, different backgrounds to become meaningful parts of the discussion.
That's the difference between being stuck and being unstuck.
If you stop by my office on a Wednesday afternoon, you would notice what appears to be a marketing meeting.
I say appears, because what you may see is chaos. Lots of people in the room. Some of the them don't even work in the marketing "department".
You may not even be able to tell who is in "charge" of this meeting. You would see interns offering suggestion that actually get acted upon. At that moment, they are in charge.
You would see different points of view and different perspectives.
And you would see moments of genuine discomfort. Real stress.
It would be easier for the guy at the top of that particular piece of the organizational chart (me) to have a nice, comfortable meeting where I do the talking the team does the listening and that's it.
It would be easy to fill the room with people who thought exactly like me.
But there would be no progress.
No matter what your job description says, we all have the same task . . . to move this thing forward. The alternative is to be caught in a doom loop in which the same people offer the same ideas. That was unacceptable when the world was simple. It's really unacceptable when the world is complex.
So here's what I want you to consider . . .
What if the idea that could revolutionize your organization was in the heart and mind of a person you overlooked because she was at the bottom of the org. chart?
What if the energy and spirit you need to move the art forward could be provided by an audience that looks a little different then the one you have now?
What if you missed all of that because you valued comfort more then progress?