The meetings and events industry is renowned for providing great opportunities for women, and the hospitality industry as a whole includes many nationalities. In that sense, it could be assumed that our sector is culturally rich and diverse. However, if we go beneath the surface and examine the environment created at events, and who is elevated on stage, it becomes clear that this little more than a façade.
A continuation of this reality risks stifling creativity and gaining a broader understanding of the world. So, it is as crucial to include culturally diverse speakers at our events as it is to involve a diverse group of stakeholders in strategy planning.
Invite Culturally Diverse Speakers
In this day and age, the majority of people lives in echo-chambers, self-created, self-contained worlds of experience. Be it online or offline, we tend to like others more if they agree with our views, and behave in a way that is similar to ours. While this can, unfortunately, foster extremist worldviews, it is understandable. Humans simply have a tendency to form communities around the same interests, be that around political or spiritual views, video games, or food ethics.
Event organisers have the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to break this mould, and inviting a diverse set of speakers allows us to do so. By including speakers from different cultures and backgrounds, we stimulate discussion, enrich the content, and ultimately the legacy, of an event.
Create Group Diversity for Impactful Solutions
When solving complex topics, be it during a project for a client or the creation of a sustainability strategy, it is equally important to involve multiple perspectives to achieve the best outcome. This begins with a willingness to collaborate, often involving a diminishing of one’s ego in order to tap into the collective wisdom of a group. If you would like to find out more about the process for strategic stakeholder engagement, this article I wrote for HQ Magazine describes it in more detail.
Ultimately, we need to include and celebrate diversity, in order to encourage creativity, and to invite input from differing perspectives to help us understand and navigate a multipolar and complex world. In the words of the late General George S. Patton: “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
About the Author: Noah Joubert is a Sustainability Consultant of the Global Destination Sustainability Index, with the mission to engage, inspire, and enable destinations to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.