“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” quoted by Torsten Klein, one of the it-economics founders, from the economist Peter Drucker (source: Forbes 2018). Having a good strategy and vision is important, but far more important is the corporate culture and this includes diversity and how it is lived. How crucial diversity is for success in today’s highly changing and competitive market is not only shown to us by innovation giants like Google, Apple & Co. but is also proven by numerous studies (sources: Forbes 2021 / 2020; The Verge 2015; McKinsey 2020).
There is a study repeated every two years with over 1,000 companies in the USA and Europe is the report “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters”. The report shows that companies with diversity outperform financially by 12%, and also indicate that in times of Corona the trend is rising. The reasons why diversity leads to greater competitiveness are complex. Mixed teams have a longer finding phase than homogeneous teams, but the different origins, preferences and challenges lead to different and more constructive ideas – in short to more innovation, faster solution finding and flexibility. These are precisely the basic requirements for digital transformation. (Source: McKinsey 2020).
Outstanding personalities in IT history
On the occasion of today’s German Diversity Day (#DDT21) and on 21.5 UNESCO Diversity Day, we want to celebrate the diverse personalities who have pioneered the IT world and without whom we would live in a very different reality:
Grace Hopper – Computer Scientist
Grace Hopper – developed in 1952 the first compiler and was later called “COBOL-granny” thanks to her programming language efforts. She is also the reason why we say “bugs” for errors, as a real insect made one of her programs dysfunctional while she said “First actual case of bug being found”. Her first recognition was 1969 with the “Man of the year award” by the data processing association. Hereafter, from 1991 onwards 90 other awards followed. Even though she worked in a male dominated environment such as the military, she stood her ground as “Amazing Grace”.
Katherine Johnson – Mathematician
Katherine Johnson: A female of color, and working in IT at NASA in the U.S. from 1953, she made many famous space journeys possible with her calculations, innovative suggestions and talent on the IBM machines – and had to fight hard to be heard. Although she outsmarted many colleagues, people only started listening to her and her ideas when astronaut John Glen supported her and insisted on her calculations. Sometimes all we need is a chance.
Margaret Hamilton – Architect
Margaret Hamilton wrote in 1969 the software for the Apollo 11 mission which lead to the “small step for a man and a huge step for mankind” by enabling the first man being on the moon. Within her software she set important architectural rules that are still applied in many architectures today. Together with Kathrine Johnson, they were still one of very few female IT workers at NASA.
Karen Spärck Jones – Computer Scientist
Karen Spärck Jones – she invented the concept of inverse document frequency in 1972 which is the basis of modern search engines and AI. In 2019 the New York Times called her “a pioneer of computer science for work combining statistics and linguistics, an advocate for women in the field”. (Photo: University of Cambridge, Creative-Commons-Lizenz: „Namensnennung 2.5 generisch“)
Alan Turing – Cryptanalyst
Alan Turing – made a strategic breakthrough for the war with his decryption machine – ENIGMA and by that helped ending WWII. As he was gay and at this time considered as a crime, his achievements only got recognized 60 years after his suicide. Today, the biggest diversity funds and university sponsorships are given out in his name.
These examples are representative of many others, showing how important diversity is and how far it can take us all forward together. Today’s corporate success stories and numerous studies underscore the relevance of diversity and how it can be a growing asset for all who allow it.
Do you want to help shape the digital world of tomorrow in a company with a great corporate culture? Then take a look at our job advertisements. We are looking forward to meeting you!
author: Julia Radick, Managing Consultant