How diversity of thought promotes innovation

Katrina Teague’s story

How diversity of thought promotes innovationLeading a workshop on creativity and innovation at a Grant Thornton global meeting
I’m incredibly excited about Grant Thornton’s ability to innovate for growth, to solve our clients’ most pressing challenges and further digitize the experience of clients and employees alike.

I’m part of Innovation@GT, a team formed as a catalyst for accelerating the firm’s innovation capability. My role is leading innovation strategy, operations and program management.

Innovation is executing ideas that solve problems to deliver value. At Grant Thornton, this is truly a team sport. We invite and curate ideas from everyone, at all levels and from all functions across the firm. We collaborate with our clients and teammates, and work with subject matter experts and third-parties to deliver solutions.

This mix of perspectives is a core principle of our firm’s innovation process. Research has proven that the best outcomes come from cultivating diverse inputs. A key to innovation is diversity of thought, which requires varied experiences. Differences in race, gender, age and socioeconomic background are several characteristics, but so are differences in learning style or professional backgrounds. And the best way to ensure we’re including everyone’s voice is through techniques like open crowdsourcing used on our Ideation Platform. It is human nature to want a way to share ideas and be heard, and it seems to be working at Grant Thornton. Over 25% of the firm has been active on the platform since launch last summer, and the number is growing. We’re now extending our digital collaboration capability to our clients.

How diversity of thought promotes innovation Giving a TED Talk about girls and how to help them grow to excel in tech and reach their potential in life
There’s never been a more important time in history to seek perspectives that differ from our own. As we look at our world today, we’re at a real inflection point with #MeToo, the current geopolitical environment, widening economic disparity, ongoing societal tensions and the changing nature of work. It’s an important time for those with power to welcome others to the table and for all to actively listen to each other. The majority of my career has been at the intersection of technology and financial services — two areas where fewer women than men participate. While root cause is more complex, it is both a pipeline and a pull-through issue. Female participation rates decline the higher up the pyramid of leadership. I’ve
How diversity of thought promotes innovationMy husband and me with our own three girls
benefited from strong male and female mentors and allies throughout my career and here at Grant Thornton; they’ve helped me navigate roadblocks, encouraged me when my confidence was low, and opened doors to their own networks.

In a TED Talk on attracting more girls to technology, I spoke about the pipeline issue and resisting stereotyping. Encouraging both girls and boys to experiment, raise their hands, speak up and compete for what they want is just a beginning. We raised our three daughters to not be afraid to express themselves, to have a strong sense of self and equality so they’d be equipped to reach their full potential.

Equality and reaching potential are expressions of Grant Thornton’s CLEARRLY1 culture, which is what attracted me to the firm. Our core value of Respect is foundational and includes valuing our differences, role
How diversity of thought promotes innovation The Grant Thornton Charlotte office team at the American Heart Association Heart Walk
modeling positive behavior, and being aware of our filters and their impacts on others. Our firm’s commitment to and investment in culture is quite remarkable. We have so much available to us — training and development programs, business resource groups and endless opportunities to volunteer.

What’s important is finding ways to develop and engage in ways that work for each of us, and being inclusive in all that we do. It makes us better, and it is a core principle that guides the firm’s innovative culture.

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