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Sourcing Strategies and Innovation – Diversity and Inclusion Create Big and Strong Organizations 

We mostly think of diversity and inclusion issues as it relates to people and organizations.  The benefit of thinking in this dimension comes from bringing in groups of people with diverse experiences, styles, and approaches to solve organizational problems creatively.    

The same applies to sourcing strategies for plugging in outside organizations with your own.  This is relevant to contracting, partnerships, and strategic alliances. Sourcing strategies allow us to reflect on the strengths and challenges of our organizations and be intentional about what kind of outside company can provide the most significant advantage.  These successful strategies are key to building an organization that is constantly learning and organically innovative.   

Clayton Christensen in “Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail,” talks about the factors that affect an organization’s ability to be creative and innovative.  These three factors “…affect what an organization can and cannot do [are] its resources, its process, and its values.”  He goes on to say that large companies usually reject promising opportunities because smaller companies are better positioned financially, culturally, and process-wise to pursue them.    

Successful leaders will create an ecosystem where strategic partnerships exist in which each partner or vendor has a vital role to play.  Consider a shipping analogy –for those who know me, it’s all about cruising.   

Large ships tend to be slow and difficult to maneuver. They are like agencies or large companies with entrenched cultural traditions and a heritage of processes. These ships need the help of pilots or tugboats to maneuver tight channels or clear reefs for a successful journey.  These smaller ships are like smaller agencies or small businesses that can go into places the big guys can’t fit and are nimble, quick, and flexible.  Finally, we have yachts and other small pleasure boats that can run circles around everyone – like the tender boats that ferry people back and forth to shore much more effectively and safely than the big guys can.    

Consider women-owned small businesses and their value to society and other industries. In the United States, women-owned small companies provide jobs, contribute to economic progress, and promote community development. These enterprises, which employ over 9 million people, diversify industries and create competition. They provide distinct perspectives, goods, and services stimulating innovation and creativity. According to research, women-owned businesses are more socially responsible, supporting environmental sustainability and workplace diversity. They are also role models for future corporate leaders. Women-owned small enterprises provide significant economic, social, and cultural benefits, making them critical for thriving communities and economies. 


Whether you’re a Harvard Business School professor or a frequent cruiser, the value of the variety and capabilities we apply to sourcing work in organizations is a key to success.    


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