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  Recently I came across an incident to remind me of the importance of dialogue and/or discussion. It was the occasion in which I was interviewed by the reporter of the business periodical. The topic was importance of “diversity” within the business organization and business community at large.

 The reporter asked me many questions such as:

  What is my view regarding the importance of diversity? 

  Why is it important?

  What do I think of various measures companies have adopted to promote diversity?

  Which companies do I think are quite active in promoting diversity?  

  What has my experience been at different organizations and in different countries regarding the awareness and importance of diversity?

  I expressed my views as I feel quite strongly about diversity and innovation. I personally think that diversity is critical for innovation as it tends to be generated by combining various approaches from a variety of fields, cutting across various disciplines, having a broader perspective, applying well established methodology in one field to other fields etc. etc. 

  We also talked about new products which are developed with multiple technology. (As a matter of fact, innovation through convergence is one of the hot topics today.)   

  We went on to discuss why measures such as % of women in managerial positions and the ratio of non-Japanese among the board members, etc. seem to become the goal, rather than the means to achieve something bigger and more fundamental.

  After we talked about broader things such as the too-well established “closed innovation system” of many Japanese corporations and the social system which has supported them, I realized why it is so difficult to change. When something works so well as a system, you cannot change them piece-meal.

  Then she said, “Because it is such an overwhelming task to change the total system, corporations tend to resort to specific measures.” 

  That was such an eye-opening comment, as I had not thought about it that way.

  This incident told me several things.

 1)It is indispensable for each one of us to have our own view

 2) It is important to express our own view so that we can share

3)It is even more important to discuss differences, similarities, etc. of each

4)  It often happens that new insight or key message comes out of this somewhat chaotic discussion

5) It is exciting, new ideas come into being

I realized how exciting to share the view, discuss, and debate(disagreement is great if both parties can take it constructively), as we usually end up something new from this type of dialogue and discussion, whether they are new insights, new ideas or shared view. 

 Thinking on your own is necessary as you want to form your own view. But at the same time, it is exciting to share that with others, as we can build on each other. 

 Sometimes you find the dialogue between the two people who have clear views of their own generates many more new ideas and insights in the interaction process. It is almost like putting the two together will create totally new and superb mixed drinks!  You can try yourself!

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