The Medici Effect

Diversity can lead to innovation.

So much of life feels random.

Even the country of your birth makes a difference: Whose life has a brighter future, the child born in the Sudan or the one born in Singapore?

You can localize it to the neighborhoods of your own town and find statistical probabilities that play out.

And while there are exceptions to every rule, serendipity often looms as the largest factor there as well.

All of which makes The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation an interesting read for those of us in Radio.

The author, Frans Johansson, makes the case that diverse perspectives drive innovation, whether the diverse perspectives come from different industries, different cultures, or even different genders.


Think about it…

The innovations we’ve seen in “radio” — Pandora, Spotify, Jelli — have not come from those within our tight little groups, and, in fact, we have resisted most of the innovations they’ve pioneered.

I’m not sure how you develop the self-confidence to invite truly diverse voices into your discussions, especially when you are intentionally trying not to recruit those outside your traditional sphere of experience and knowlege.

But, I do think doing so can help your station in ways you cannot predict.

And one other point: the most successful people and companies tend to be the most prolific, in terms of ideas.

Some people seem to be immune to failure, willingly attempting new ideas, understanding that for every success, they must inevitably try — and reject — countless others.

Failure doesn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm for trying again.

Radio, as an industry, was once run by mavericks, our own versions of Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.

The challenge now is how to add voices to the discussions within the decision-making elite of the consolidated era, voices that have no connection to private equity or banking, voices that come from a background of creation — authors, artists, film-makers, story-tellers — in the firm belief that their very diversity will spark ideas.

Who would you nominate?