Rotman Management

Winning the 20s: The Business Imperative of Diversity

THE 2020S HAVE ARRIVED, and there are no spoilers. It is likely that the years to come will be marked by geopolitical and economic uncertainty, with continued disruptions from digital challengers. How can business leaders ensure that their organization is primed for innovation and reinvention—and thus as prepared as possible for the relentless change the next decade will bring? The not so secret but often elusive answer: diversity.

Our firm recently released a series titled “Winning the 20s: An Agenda for Leadership,” in which we present five imperatives for the next decade for organizations of all shapes and sizes.

1. Master the new logic of competition;
2. Design the organization of the future;
3. Apply the science of organizational change;
4. Achieve innovation and resilience through diversity; and
5. Optimize for both social and business value.

In this article we will do a deep dive on the fourth imperative: Achieve innovation and resilience through diversity. For details on the other four imperatives, visit

Links Between Diversity and Innovation

Increasing diversity is a moral imperative, but it is also becoming a powerful business requirement. Organizations equipped with a range of voices and perspectives throughout the ranks are better able to innovate, take risks, solve problems creatively, bounce back from failures and turn challenges into opportunities. But progress around the world, especially in leadership roles, has been lackluster.

Now is not the time, however, to be discouraged. To not only cope with the uncertainties of the global economy in the next 10 years but also gain advantage, leaders must make diversity an

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