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  • Writer's pictureJeff Perry Guitar

No-lose Diversity

I recently had the opportunity to present on what I call DCI (Diversity, Creativity & Innovation) – my variation on DEI – for a group of dozens of professionals working across many industries. Afterwards, a gentleman approached me and provided both encouragement and insight (don’t you love those people?!). He told me that when he first heard what I would be presenting on, he cringed and felt a sense of dread, assuming negativity (blame, scolding, division, etc.) was to follow. That didn’t surprise me too much since I’ve had a foot in the DEI world for some time and I know what some people think of the subject.

However, he soon not only felt a lifting of his apprehension but quickly turned to being very enthusiastic about what he was hearing: in the world of music, diversity has long been a key ingredient for both individual excellence and for the proliferation of genres, i.e. innovation (Spotify identifies an astounding 1,300 different musical styles or thereabouts). In fact, in any field, or at any company that innovates, diversity, creativity, and innovation go hand in hand. If it’s true that “there are no new ideas, only new ways to combine existing ones,” then it’s clear that without diversity - a diversity of ideas (that you get from a diversity of people) – no creativity, no innovation.

The insight I received from my receptive friend was a phrase he used that really struck me – “no-lose diversity.” That’s how he described the way I framed diversity in my talk. What he was saying is that in his experience, in many discussions and trainings, or practices in business and education around diversity, for some to gain, others must lose. In my experience, and I believe the entire history of modern music, diversity provides a win-win dynamic. By embracing its full spectrum – race, ethnicity, culture, genre, instruments, timbres, training (or lack thereof) and more - it offers me and my cohorts more musical concepts and techniques which are the foundation of our playing. Diversity fuels our creativity, allowing for new sounds and styles and in a practical sense, allowing us to work more as we can cover more genres with our skill sets. Diversity is good for the individual and music as a whole, allowing both to constantly change, evolve and claim new creative discoveries. Diversity – it's not just “no lose” but “win-win.”

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