Diversity drives innovation

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Davos, 27 January 2010 – EY today released a report that cites diversity of thinking as a key driver of innovation within companies. It highlights how innovation is sparked by the clashes of ideas created from diverse perspectives. The full report is available at www.ey.com/globalmindset.

The new global mindset: driving innovation through diverse perspectives highlights a recent EY survey of 520 senior global business executives. A key finding from the survey shows that companies operating in 25 or more countries typically have less than 5% of their senior leadership based outside of their company’s home country, suggesting that companies are falling short on the diversity of thought and culture needed to grow and transform global business.

“The economic crisis has mandated that companies rethink the way they do  business,” noted James S. Turley, Chairman and CEO, EY. “Topping the list of what needs to be examined is the connection between diverse thinking and innovation.  Company leaders need to consider how a lack of diverse perspectives – at the top of their organizations and at the individual team level – might affect plans for global growth, new products or mergers and acquisitions.”

The report argues that the traditional view of diversity through the lens of gender or race is too narrow and should include a host of other differences including cultural background, generation, education, skills, personality and life experiences.  In interviews with academia and business leaders, EY found four principles that leaders must consider:

Get the mindset: Focus on transformational leadership and think about what it will really take to bring about a cultural shift in the organization.

Nurture a spectrum of talent: Proactively develop diverse teams – find talent in unexpected places.

Anticipate the Next Big Thing: Leverage diversity of thinking and capabilities to identify new products and services.

Consensus is not always desirable: Healthy clashes of ideas boost a company’s energy and creativity, yet if these clashes are to be effective, they need to be moderated by intercultural and inclusive management skills.

“We all know that innovation is critical to economic recovery,” noted Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair, EY. “In today’s environment, the business leaders who have a truly global mindset and can integrate diverse perspectives will be the ones best positioned to drive innovation and long-term success.”

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Notes to Editors

About EY 
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 144,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential. For more information, please visit www.ey.com.

EY refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

The EY organization is divided into five geographic areas and firms may be members of the following entities: EY Americas LLC, EY EMEIA Limited, EY Far East Area Limited and EY Oceania Limited. These entities do not provide services to clients. This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.