Diversity Matters: Food for the Creative Soul

Diversity in education matters, and it plays an important role in Pearson’s mission of helping people make more of their lives through learning. Our differences give us unique perspectives that can enrich our learning, work, and lives. This blog post is part of our Diversity Matters series exploring different perspectives on why diversity matters in education. For more commentary and resources on the importance of diversity, visit our Diversity and Access website.

 

After entering university, I really noticed the profound impact diversity has on nourishing creativity and innovative ideas.

I came from a high school that wasn’t the most diverse. Looking back, it seems that our “sameness” of cultural backgrounds tended to generate a “sameness” among our ideas. In my junior year of high school, I took a class on entrepreneurship that involved pitching an idea for a business venture. The one thing that stands out from that exercise isn’t how clever or original our ideas were, but how similar they were, most centered on fads like Internet memes or services such as iPhone repair.

When I entered university, we were asked to do a similar project in small groups for a class called Business 2257. As an Asian-Canadian, I’m part of a very diverse student body at Western University which hosts students from more than 100 countries. As a result, my group members were very diverse, representing different genders, religions, races, and cultures. Despite our differences, we had no problems working together and even became good friends in the process. This proved to be a positive experience in general, but what really stood out to me, in contrast to the business pitches from my high school entrepreneurship class, were the incredibly diverse ideas the groups generated. The eclectic makeup of our group gave us the ability to draw from vastly different experiences and backgrounds. As a result, we came up with a handful of amazingly creative ideas. For example, one of my group members, who has done an extensive amount of travelling, suggested a venture around camel’s milk, which is very nutritious and popular in places such as Australia. This would be an idea we would have never thought of if not for the unique perspective his background brought to the table.

When it came time to present our ideas in our Business 2257 class, I was blown away by the creativity. Two of the most popular pitches were a new smart plastic for medical casting and a recreational plate smashing facility. Every group had such an original perspective. Having had the same type of experience twice, each producing very different results—the homogenous pitches of my high school class and the vibrantly different ideas of my university class—has made a strong impact on me. It has taught me that diversity matters because it gives us the ability to come together to create something greater than when  we try to create something alone.

Samantha is a hard-working and personable business student originally from Vancouver, British Columbia. Sammi is very passionate about education and the Western student community. She can be seen in between classes hanging out with friends, leading activities with organizations such as the Pre-Business Students’ Network of Western, going to the gym, and of course, engaging students and faculty as a PCA.

 

This post was originally featured on Pearson’s Teaching & Learning Blog.