“Driven by Difference:” Embracing Diversity Is Your Innovative Advantage


"Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity" is a straightforward book for leaders who are tired or scared of the same old "diversity workshop". This book challenges leaders to proactively work with the diversity inside and outside their organization for greater long-term success and profits in an increasingly diverse world.

driven by difference

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As author Dr. David Livermore observes in his book “Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity,” mention the word “diversity” to a group of leaders and you’ll get those who are afraid, tired or confused (even if they agree with the principles). Diversity, as a focus for business management, is here to stay.

The problem is that most leaders don’t know what to do with it.

What “Driven by Difference” is About

Driven By Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity” introduces a new take on the topic. Livermore’s book suggests that instead of just “embracing diversity”, business owners can use it for a competitive and innovative advantage. The book delves into a specific model, the “5-D process,” which takes into consideration a more comprehensive look at diversity and strategy for action.

The process goes far beyond the typical diversity for diversity’s sake agenda pushed by many presentations on this subject. Livermore also delves deeper than the typical “diversity workshop” focus on skin color, gender or orientation. This traditional approach to diversity brings awareness, but it doesn’t build an advantage for an organization unless your company knows how to use it.

Businesses who not only recognize, but successfully integrate diversity into their business processes will thrive in the more diverse world to come. As shared in Livermore’s book, this kind of integration is nuanced. As a business, you have to know when and how to adapt to the culture around you. For example, should your business adapt to the culture around you (like Starbucks tried to do in China with a focus on tea) or focus on remaining more uniform (like McDonald’s using the same process to make fries everywhere)? These are the questions that fuel the processes your business should be developing and the decisions your company should be making in order to utilize diversity to its fullest benefit.

Livermore (@davidlivermore) is an author, consultant, speaker and researcher on cultural intelligence in addition to serving as president of the Cultural Intelligence Center.

What Was Best About “Driven by Difference”

The best part of “Driven by Difference” is the confident and comprehensive, yet nuanced, tone the author takes on diversity. Dr. Livermore’s extremely helpful insights shift the “diversity conversation” from “let’s talk about our differences” to action, something that many business leaders scrambling to understand diversity should appreciate.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

With any kind of book on diversity, you have to be careful about cultural stereotyping, or assuming that you know a person based on preconceived notions. For the most part, Dr. Livermore stays clear of that, but it’s a warning that bears mentioning again.

The only other issue might be an extension of the Cultural Assessment following each chapter. The book goes through a lot of information in the chapter, but only has a slim set of options to check out in assessment.

Why Read “Driven by Difference”

“Driven by Difference” will best serve business leaders of any sized business who want a more comprehensive approach to understanding and working with diversity. The book is designed to open a reader’s eyes to the way we currently understand diversity and how we can proactively manage that knowledge for a more profitable future.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.