This is content archived from our old website. Our new blog is Trendlines.

CEO Insights: Diversity in teams means everything (but what does diversity mean?)

DIGIVIZER CEO Emma Lo Russo shares lessons learned in taking a company from a great idea to one delivering business benefits centred on real-time social analytics, in five years.

Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum at Davos-Klosters, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now-famously said: ‘Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world.’

He was talking at a social, national, political and national security level, in the context of opportunities for those living and seeking to move to Canada.

And International Women’s Day prompted me again to consider diversity in the workforce, often debated and much misunderstood: what it means, how it delivers, what responsibilities we have to a global workforce, how we balance new entrepreneurs with deep experience.

I attribute the success we’ve had at DIGIVIZER to date to how we’ve gone about building our team and culture.

DIGIVIZER diversity

The outcome is a remarkably diverse group of employees, but the goal was to never set out to be “diverse”.

So why is this the natural outcome?

Further to Trudeau’s remarks, I have realized that meaningful diversity comes from opportunity, and from hiring the best-possible skills that we can, from wherever we can.

By focusing beyond technical skills, to things like offlineand online experience, attitude, and personal and behavioural attributes like entrepreneurial spirit, preparedness to embrace uncertainty, and being prepared to commit to a cause, we have a team of men and women, young and old, from ethnic backgrounds as diverse as Chinese, Korean, British, Fijian, Tongan, Sri Lankan, Indian, New Zealand, American, French and Australian.

Vision, and that elusive great idea, might provide the spark, but the fire that follows will only be kept alight by great people doing clever things who are prepared to collaborate, learn, teach, apply.

We’ve created our own success by hiring great people at DIGIVIZER, and true diversity has been the result.

We’ve not had to adopt forced quotas or a window-dressed facade masquerading as diversity.

Everyone is bound together by the commitment, investment and sacrifices they all make in choosing to stay with us, and we’re extraordinarily proud of them.

It’s a very special moment when a group of people with a number of options at their fingertips choose to go with you.

What’s been tremendously exciting in our first five years is seeing this diverse team sharing our vision with our customers and the market, helping them make brave decisions to change the status quo about how they market and sell to, and more importantly engage with, their customers and prospects.

Helping our clients break free from constrained thinking and convention about what’s best for their customers.

Creating market-defining technology that rewrites how marketing and selling are done.

Defining – and delivering – new-style influencer programs, and active audience paid targeting, underpinned and supported by real-time data, that deliver measureable increases in sales, brand reach, market awareness, and more (with the data to prove it).

Any start-up and early growth company measures progress by the milestones it passes. They lend substance to what you seek to achieve.

More importantly, our team holds me accountable for real progress, not just some illusion of progress. Behind that accountability sits meaningful, wonderful diversity.

It keeps me firmly in a learning mindset, which serves our company well.

A version of the post was original published on LinkedIn.

Emma Lo Russo: Emma is CEO and co-founder of DIGIVIZER.