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Better Ideas Through Culturally Diverse Teams

Want your company to get more creative about solving problems? Here's one way: Fill your teams with people from different cultures.

In a recent research paper, Harvard Business School professor Roy Chua offered that such cultural diversity can promote a greater flow of new ideas and concepts when the task at hand involves an international component. (However, creativity was equal when multicultural teams tackled a local problem, so not every challenge benefits from the many-culture approach.)

He also cautions that it's not enough that a team have around-the-globe representation. Members should also be chosen for their skill at communicating across cultural boundaries, individuals who demonstrate "cultural metacognition. It's important that team members from different cultures connect on an emotional as well as intellectual level.

Read more in his paper, Innovating at the World's Crossroads.

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(Photo by Flickr user frerieke, CC 2.0)
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