Ten Ways to Diversify an Inbred Network

Herminia Ibarra, Harvard Business Review, Jul 15, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think that the 'ten ways' (listen below) are a bit hokey (and don't promote nearly enough diversity - but are at least a start). What's important though is the recognition that it's important to diversify your network. And make it real diversity, not the bland fake sort of diversity. Anyhow, here's their list:
- Spend time at a start-up within your business sector.
- Attend a conference you have never before attended.
- Start a LinkedIn or Facebook group. Be the connector for this group of people.
- Spend a day with a millennial in your company.
- Get in touch with a venture capitalist.
- Teach a course at a university or local college.
- Be a guest speaker at a local or national event.
- Go to lunch with a peer from a competing company.
- Start a blog. Find out who reads it and how far it travels.
- Take advantage of your next business trip to reconnect with someone.

Not much diversity there. But you can imagine how to fix this - like, instead of spending time at a start-up, spend time in a food bank or social services agency. Instead of attending a conference, follow an anti-WTO demonstration. Instead of starting an online group, hang out at a GLBT group. Instead of getting in touch with a venture capitalist, talk to the local grocery store clerk about the economy. Instead of teaching a course, take a course in art history or zoology. You get the idea. Get out of your comfort zone. Sheesh, if I can attend business start-up seminars, business people can explore a bit of my world.
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