We need more diversity among the leadership in the fields of business and technology.
WHY? For two reasons:
1. Diverse leadership yields better outcomes for society
2. Diverse leadership helps close the income-inequality gap
The statistics on diversity in these leadership roles are concerning:
- 5 Black CEOS and 25 Women CEOs in the Fortune 500
- Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to Women, People of Color, and LGBTQ founders
- The number of patents filed with at least one woman inventor was 21.9% in 2019
The reasons for this inequality present themselves at every stage of a potential leader’s life, from birth through childhood through young adulthood and beyond. I have a confession here. This project is born, in part, from my own experience. In my own family, three generations of men became engineers. I probably would have become one too, but it didn’t occur to anyone, including myself, that that was an option for me. And I’ve met so many people with similar stories or worse. Not only were they overlooked, but many barriers had been put in their way. We must address this lack of opportunity.
Research done by Raj Chetty at Harvard finds that children and young people who live in places that present opportunities–places with internships or STEM programs and STEM communities–have a greater chance of rising out of poverty and getting on the innovator path.
So how do we create opportunity oases with children and creative people in these “opportunity deserts”? There are many approaches to this problem, and I’m honored to sit on the boards of several organizations that create opportunities for kids and creative people who are often overlooked, or blocked, from pursuing business and technology.
My own work on addressing this problem involves a low-tech, low-risk, portable toolkit I’m developing. I call it the TUNING Toolkit, and it can be used by any teacher, mentor, tutor, parent or even a novice innovator who wants to build the confidence, creativity, and organizational skills they need to get on the innovation path and stay on it.
It’s an easy and effective tool to help creative people from all walks of life get going, do the work, and find the partners and resources they need to get where they want to go. We need more diverse leadership in business and technology because it will lead to better outcomes for society and the economy.
TAKE IT FURTHER
Raj Chetty’s work, referenced above, can be found here