Why Diverse Teams Are Critical to Creativity and Innovation

diverse teams for software development

Most people in the corporate world support diversity and inclusion because they feel that it’s “the right thing to do.” Others might say that they need to recruit a diverse group of people to be in-synch with labour laws or to get government grants and contracts that support such initiatives.

However, more often than not, most business leaders still fail to realise that diverse teams lead to more creativity, better ideas, smarter decisions, and finally, greater innovation.

What Is a Diverse Team?

The adage goes something like this – necessity is the mother of invention. But today, it’s more like diversity is the mother of innovation.  

Diversity means different things to different people. But for the most part, when we’re talking about diverse teams, we are talking about gender, nationalities, disabilities, age, and ethnic and racial diversity. It can also mean a variety of expertise, experiences, skills, and so on. 

When it comes to top-performing digital products, you’ll need all of the above to bring your vision to fruition. You need a diverse group of individuals who come from different backgrounds, with a variety of skillsets, to identify opportunities and disrupt industries.

How Diverse Teams Affect the Quality of Software Development

Having domain experts in-house is great, but given a rapidly changing nature of the modern technology landscape, can you really rely on a few experts to lead your project? Crowd expert believes you need a diverse team with varied knowledge to be able to truly innovate.

“The main reasons you’ll gain productivity and a boost in creativity is that you’re bringing together individuals from different walks of life. These people come from varied backgrounds and experiences and will each have uniques ways to improve your products and services you’re offering.”

John Rampton, a VIP contributor for Entrepreneur

Having a diverse software development team dispersed across the U.K., Ukraine and Spain gave a huge competitive advantage to our partner company e-bate and enabled them to attract £1 million in funding only 8 months after their team extension with Evolve.

Startups and established businesses that follow this approach have been known to thrive and evolve in a truly collaborative manner. 

Key benefits of a diverse team

  • A broader range of ideas and perspectives
  • Boosts customer experiences
  • Encourages the team to think outside-the-box
  • Helps identify unique opportunities 
  • Nurtures a highly creative environment 
  • Optimises UX protocols 

And of course, all this leads to innovation! But why does this happen?

Working with different people from backgrounds that are very different from your own can help challenge your brain to overcome “stale” ways of thinking. It can also help make you smarter and sharpen your performance. 

As one of our Extended Team clients has once said, “Having a diverse team helps us ‘assemble the left and right brain’ more easily and faster, which yields tremendous results.”

Challenges to Building Diverse Teams 

There are many practical challenges to building successful diverse teams. There are difficulties like small talent pools, geographical isolation, and limited resources. 

For example, there’s a severe shortage of digital skills, and if you don’t live in one of the leading cities in Europe, you might find it challenging to attract top developers. The same is true for top-performing marketing managers, designers, and junior specialists. 

Sometimes the way your company is set up can also create a barrier to innovation. For example, if your infrastructure doesn’t support cloud computing, it won’t be easy to integrate remote workers.

One way to overcome this obstacle is to engage in digital transformation. Another is to initiate a cultural shit and do away with unnecessary bureaucracies. 

It’s important to create a working culture where everyone has a voice. The goal here is to allow your diverse development team to determine the direction of the project.

Our Experience Working in Diverse Teams 

At Evolve, we started in 2007 as an IT strategy consultancy that was based entirely in the Midlands. Although we were pretty diverse from the beginning (and worked well together), the demand for new software engineers and the tech talent shortage in the U.K. led us to Ukraine.

As the capital city Kyiv boasted a large talent pool and a continuous flow of STEM graduates, we set up our R&D centre there. Pretty soon, we were working in an “extended team” both here in the U.K. and Ukraine.

For Evolve, as a women-owned business, having diverse teams was one of the key values, so team extension to Ukraine was a natural step in our brand evolution and in line with our corporate culture.

But what’s an extended team?

An extended team is a diverse team of developers, designers, and project managers who are based off-premise and work in close collaboration with the in-house or core software engineering team.

It was (and still is) a highly successful approach to filling the skills gap by integrating tech talent remotely with our in-house team.

While we expected to benefit from increased capacity cost-effectively, we quickly realised that this staff augmentation model also provided many other benefits. 

For example, our Ukrainian colleagues often had a different perspective and approached problem-solving. In fact, they came at it in a completely different manner. 

This may be the result of our extended team members coming from a different culture, thinking in a different language, growing up in a different education system, or it might have been their individual personalities.

Regardless of the reasons, it gave us a massive competitive advantage as diversification led to significant innovation and accelerated project deliveries. We were happy, our clients were delighted, and as mentioned before, we have the awards to prove it. 

Diversifying your team in this manner can also lead to new opportunities that you never expected. When you follow a traditional outsourcing model, you lose out on the cross-cultural engagement, daily interactions, and the magic that happens when great minds from different backgrounds come together.

Are you looking to build a diverse extended team for your next project? Request a callback from Evolve and learn more about how diversity can help your company grow and thrive in a fiercely competitive marketplace. 

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