Lesson 1.7

Inclusion Means You And Me: Why Being Part Of In The “Diversity Conversation” Matters

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


Key Concepts:


We all should participate in conversations about differences, so long as we give benefit of doubt to each other and stay on the same page with helpful terminology. (See Lesson 1.6)

  • The more we talk about things head on the better. As we’ll soon learn, cognitive diversity works best when it engages head on.

  • Before we can really make cognitive diversity work, we need whoever we’re collaborating with to get on board with it.

  • However, psychology research tells us that it’s sometimes easier to accept a message of change from someone who you identify with as part of your “in-group.”

  • If someone from your out-group asks you to change the way you include or work with people from your out-group in your collaboration, you’re less likely to go along with it than if someone from your in-group says the same thing.

  • Ideally, conversations to help get a group on board with differences should be led by two or more visibly different people together—and with representation from people’s own in-group helping lead the discussion.

While the principle of Cognitive Diversity makes “diversity and inclusion” practical, there’s also a strong Moral Case for being inclusive about differences.

  • We’ve spent the better part of the last hour talking about the practical benefits of combining different points of view and ways of doing things.

  • When two people who think differently combine their ways of thinking, they have the potential to be smarter and see further than any one of them could on their own. It doesn’t always happen, but it can’t happen if they think the same.

  • And likewise, when one person exercises curiosity about different perspectives and learns about things from different places, industries, fields, what-have-you—that person builds their own potential for creative breakthroughs. Because creativity is when you combine things that haven’t been combined before.

  • All that’s great! It’s an excuse to include different kinds of people in our lives and our problem solving efforts.

  • But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that there’s a good moral reason for do that, too:

Though there’s a strong practical case for including different kinds of people and their different thinking into our work and lives, there’s a moral case for it, too.

  • Just about every classic spiritual and philosophical school of thought teaches that humans are valuable, and that fairness is important.

  • Scientists have discovered that this sense of “fair or not fair” is built into our biology. (Ask anyone who’s had a kid, and they’ll tell you that babies and toddlers are KEENLY AWARE of the concept of unfairness.)

  • We’ll discuss this biological basis for things like fairness and kindness—which is called “moral foundations theory”—later in the course.

  • But for now, we’d just like to emphasize, while we have you here, that we believe that it’s the right thing to do to include people who aren’t like us in our lives and our work—especially in our work that affects society. If we believe in fairness, then we should believe in inclusion.

  • In the long run, we create a more fair system by focusing on including more kinds of people in our work. And also: in the long run we can make up for some of a history of injustice by focusing on including more people now.

Now that we’re done with this mini sermon, we’re going to get back to the pragmatics of what inclusion looks like in practice. But first, we’re going to dig into what makes us cognitively additive to our teams.