Posted by: lwagner10 | August 30, 2012

ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia

The American Chemical Society formed a subdivision for LGBT Chemist and allies on 2010.  I have the privilege of chairing this group for 2012.  I presented a paper “LGBT Diversity and Inclusion in Business” during our technical section in Philadelphia.  The paper focused on the relationship between diversity and innovation in business.  Major companies have evolved beyond a focus on recruitment and retention for diversity.  A majority of companies in both a Forbes survey and a European survey show that there is a significant focus on company goals including innovation as a key area for diversity activities.  According to Scott Page, “If people think alike then no matter how smart they are they most likely will get stuck at the same locally optimal solutions. Finding new and better solutions, innovating, requires thinking differently.  That’s why diversity powers innovation.”  Scott Page also indicates that achieving optimum results requires that work teams have diverse perspectives and heuristics.   While effort and success on LGBT diversity are limited according to the above surveys, progress is being made.  In addition, a new study at UCLA Anderson shows that an openly gay person paired with another person outperformed an ambiguously gay person paired with another person by 30% on a cognitive task and 20% on a sensory-motor task on average.  While empirically, people believe that being out can improve performance, this study is great first step in demonstrating the relationship between performance and being out.  There is still much to do including ENDA, but progress is being made.  



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