Center for Talent Innovation research reveals vast majority of companies are losing out on innovation

Findings show lack of diversity in senior leadership impacts performance and market growth.

NEW YORK, September 25, 2013 – The vast majority of white-collar employees in the United States, 78 percent, work for companies that fail to realize their full innovative potential because their leadership lacks the inclusive behaviors needed to effectively “unlock” the innovative potential of an inherently diverse workforce. These findings are part of the “Innovation, Diversity and Market Growth” report, the first national survey that quantifies the correlation between diverse companies and market outcomes, and were released today by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), a leading global talent think tank.

The findings show that innovation draws on diversity in two ways: employees with inherent diversity best understand markets and end-users that companies today are most keen to reach; and leaders with acquired diversity are best equipped to unlock the insights of these employees. At companies that harness both inherent diversity in their workforce and acquired diversity in leadership (“two-dimensional” diversity), employees are 75 percent more likely to have had a marketable idea implemented than employees at companies that fail to harness these drivers.
Publicly traded companies with “two-dimensional diversity” are 45 percent more likely than publicly
traded companies lacking it to have grown market share in the last 12 months and 70 percent more
likely to have captured a new market.


  • The study scrutinizes two kinds of difference: inherent and acquired.
  • Inherent diversity describes “embodied” difference—traits you were born with and have been consequently conditioned by.
  • Acquired diversity, in contrast, is not who you are but how you act as a result of what you’ve experienced or learned (e.g., cultural fluency, gender smarts, generational savvy)
  • “Two-dimensional” diversity describes leadership that exhibits both inherent and acquired diversity.
  • Teams with members who represent the inherent diversity of the team’s target consumer or client are far more likely to understand that target, increasing their likelihood of innovating effectively for that end-user.
  • Leaders who have acquired diversity are much more likely to behave inclusively than leaders who lack it. Behaviors include:

– Ensuring that everyone speaks up and gets heard (63 percent vs. 29 percent)
– Making it safe to risk proposing novel ideas (74 percent vs. 34 percent)
– Empowering team members to make decisions (82 percent vs. 40 percent)

Center for Talent Innovation Press Release

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