“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” –Albert Einstein
The unseen connection between diversity, creativity, and inquiry
Generally we think about diversity pertaining to race, ethnicity, religion, etc. This is wrong and is deeply rooted in our social conditioning. We imagine that someone with a different skin tone or who is part of a different religion inherently thinks differently than us. Although we are ALL unique and have different backgrounds, we are all brought into a matrix of social constructs and conditioning that wants us to think the same way. People may point to minor differences as proof of diversity but a majority of the time it’s just not enough to actually reap the benefits of real diversity. Instead, true diversity is born out of inquiry and inquiry can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time!
What is inquiry?
Inquiry is a perpetual action, there is no end and it is constantly around us. What makes it difficult is its literal invisibility and our blindness to its importance. We are programmed to replicate and be attracted to like-minds, which drive us, as a species, to becoming more and more homogeneous. Inquiry combats the unvaried through the constant gathering of thesis and antithesis resulting in synthesis. This takes one idea, an opposing idea, and intertwines and builds upon the two resulting in a new idea all together! This is growth that is sustainable, this is innovation, this is creativity! Therefore, inquiry is the basis of diversity because it is through inquiry that one’s perspective and thought patterns can be continually changed. Leaders must recognize and stress the importance of constantly questioning and no one does that better than Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. He emphasizes that his employees must question every decision made by the company and decide if they believe it is the right thing to do. This constant process of inquiry from all employees leads to thought diversity that pushes the company forward and has a great deal to due with their success.
We must always question
This process of regular questioning does not end. A master does not define himself as a master because he knows that what he understood yesterday is different today, hence it is not mastered. And so, as humans, and as leaders especially, one must always be combining thesis and antithesis to compose synthesis and therefore progress with the world around us.
By Austin Davie