Inclusivity is not only important from a moral and ethical point of view, research shows that inclusion actually drives innovation.
Companies with “2D diversity” out-innovate and out-perform others. Employees at these companies are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew and 70% likelier to report that they captured a new market. Harvard Business Review, 2022
Skin Game, Sabrina Fellani
Companies with “2D diversity” out-innovate and out-perform others. Employees at these companies are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew and 70% likelier to report that they captured a new market.
But what is 2D diversity?
According to the Harvard Business Review, 2D diversity is made of inherent and acquired diversity. Inherent diversity involves traits you are born with. While acquired diversity involves traits you gain from experience. Research suggests that great company's leaders should exhibit at least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits.
The Wall Street Journal validated this further in 2020 with their corporate ranking research among S&P 500 companies. This concluded,
“Diverse and inclusive cultures are providing companies with a competitive edge over their peers.” Wall Street Journal, 2020
What can brands do to harness the power of inclusivity and drive innovation in retail?
“In a world where everyone belongs, anything is possible.”
Companies should consider implementing the following strategies:
01 Diversify leadership and staff: By building diverse leadership teams and fostering an inclusive work environment, companies can benefit from a wide range of perspectives and experiences. This can lead to the development of innovative products, services, and solutions that cater to diverse customer needs.
02 Invest in employee training and development: Providing employees with opportunities to learn about cultural sensitivity, unconscious bias, and inclusive design principles can help foster a culture of empathy and understanding, enabling staff to better serve diverse customer populations.
03 Collaborate with diverse partners and suppliers: By working with diverse partners and suppliers, retailers can access new ideas and approaches to solving problems, ultimately driving innovation and growth.
04 Seek customer feedback and insights: Actively engaging with diverse customer groups and soliciting their feedback on products, services, and experiences can help retailers identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, leading to a more inclusive and innovative retail environment.
“To make the shopping experience more inclusive, it is critical that retailers develop strategies based on data and tailor them to the specific conditions of their business.” Dr. David Crockett Sephora Research Advisor, 2021
The implementation of these strategies will ensure that inclusion and innovation become an integral part of a brand's DNA. In addition, retailers will be able to unlock the full potential of their workforce, improve customer satisfaction, and drive innovation and growth by cultivating a culture of inclusion and diversity.
In summary, Inclusive design is the catalyst that drives innovation and creativity; brands that embrace it will flourish, while those that neglect it will falter in the evolving landscape of consumer needs and desires.