Why Diversity Builds Better Products

Picture of Christine Dzou
Christine Dzou, Monday June 19, 2017

It's no longer groundbreaking to suggest that having a diverse workforce is beneficial to organizations. Studies have shown that teams that include individuals with a variety of backgrounds are more adaptable to change and more effective at solving problems. But diversity can also have a significant impact on the bottom line of a business. McKinsey & Company reported that companies in the top quartile of racial diversity are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns than the national median in their industry.

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How Does Diversity Impact Product Success?

It’s estimated that $40B of annual consumer spending is impacted by poor customer experiences. The success of a product often lies in the development team’s ability to understand and respond to the needs of their customers. But all too often, the makeup of the development team doesn’t reflect the makeup of their customer base. By neglecting to account for diversity in their customer base, organizations are more likely to face customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue. Teams that encourage diversity in thinking build more meaningful experiences for more people, further promoting the success of their product.

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The Impact of Diversity Across the Product Development Cycle

Diversity in Design

Because products must be designed to solve a problem, the design team must be able to truly understand the problem. Hiring people from different social, ethnic and gender backgrounds allows teams to avoid thinking too narrowly about a product and how it’s intended to work. In fact, companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue on average than those with lowest levels of racial diversity. To build an innovative product that resonates with the community, a team must be able to account for the full spectrum of use cases.

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Diversity in Testing

Testing is an essential component of the development cycle that gives teams the chance to catch and fix potentially costly bugs before reaching the intended user. But many teams experience product fatigue by the time they start QA testing. When a team is too familiar with their own product, they can miss out on usability and UX issues that a new user may encounter. The risk of these assumptions is even greater for products with nontechnical users, such as ecommerce apps. Getting fresh eyes on the product during testing can help surface issues that the development team might otherwise miss.

Utilizing a diverse pool of testers to evaluate a product provides product teams with unbiased insight about the functionality and usability of their product. Leveraging crowdsourced testing allows you to tap into the potential of having a diverse team. Crowdtesting has the added benefit of allowing teams to use their internal team more effectively, without having to spend time validating software functionality and searching for bugs.

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Diversity in Driving Product Decisions

By pursuing the exploration of different stories and journeys within a product, a product team gains insight to a broader view of user interactions. These insights can help inform the team on how to adapt and evolve to better suite their customers’ needs moving forward. For teams looking to scale their customer base, drawing feedback from a wide range of sources is critical to ensuring that they continue to find product market fit as they grow.

The Outcome of Diversity in Product Development Processes

When you have a team of critical thinkers with different sensibilities working towards a common goal, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Make better product decisions, better serve your customer base, and increase your return on equity, sales, and invested capital by first investing in building the right team.