We are in an age of disruption, where the ability to continuously innovate is an undeniable strategic imperative. In the effort to stay ahead of the competition by providing innovative experiences, products and services, firms focus a lot of attention on acquiring the best and brightest talent. While that’s important, it’s not enough. Even the most talented employees will underperform if they’re not in an environment that’s highly conducive to fostering innovation. Simply put, the ability to successfully innovate, time and time again, depends on having the right culture―a culture of equality.

A recent Accenture report reveals that a culture of equality creates the right foundation for exponential innovation and growth. I’ve talked about “getting to equal” on this blog for the past few years and have shared how gender parity of all types in the workplace benefits both men and women as well as the firms they work for. Accenture’s report takes this premise a step a further by making the case that equality across the board is essential to creating a culture that enables ongoing innovation.

The power of a culture of equality

According to the report, equality is an extremely powerful motivator and has tremendous influence over employees’ innovation mindset―which drives their willingness and ability to innovate. In fact, the report shows that equality is a more important factor in influencing an innovation mindset than either age or gender. This is true across industries and geographies.

The following findings from the report support the power of a culture of equality in accelerating innovation:

  • Employees in equal work cultures have a six-times-greater innovation mindset than those in organisations where the cultures are not equal.
  • Global gross domestic product could potentially increase by up to $8 trillion by 2028 if every country was able to improve workplace equality and therefore increase its innovation mindset by 10%.

Anywhere in the world, in any job function, employees who feel valued and have a sense of belonging also feel more empowered to innovate―and they do. There are tangible results.

For example, Mastercard is deeply committed to a diverse culture of equality and has twice as many women in leadership as its S&P 500 counterparts. This year, the company’s stock value increased by 35% over the previous year, providing strong evidence of the value of a culture of equality. Mastercard is leveraging the power of equality in its mission to usher in a cashless society. This is just one of many examples of how companies are driving innovation by getting to equal.

In this series, I’ll share what a culture of equality and an innovation mindset are, how they can make a difference in your business, and steps you can take to build a culture that allows employees to thrive and create. In my next post, I’ll take a closer look at what makes a culture of equality and how equality equals empowerment.

To learn more about creating a culture of equality, read the Accenture report, Getting to Equal 2019: Creating a Culture That Drives Innovation

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