No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.
As a team responsible for creating cars for the globe, we spoke to the people at the Geely Design Centre in Shanghai to find out more about how diversity is encouraged in their team, and what it adds to the final product: cars suitable for a global audience.
CMF Design Expert
“One thing we have is ‘Open Challenges’, where we invite everybody to come up with creative ideas on one project that is not their own so they contribute without having any pressure. It is a very good practice because it can free up their creativity and they come up with ideas that they wouldn’t dare to have if it was their own project. This is something that we are using in order to help every single project have ideas that cannot come from within their own frame because of constraints – others are free of those constraints so they can bring in many creative ideas.
“Diversity is very useful in this situation because once every single member is truly creative, free of any constraints, they can open up and show who they are and what they believe. This is extremely important because if everyone has the same experiences then they would probably produce the same result, but because they are so diverse, so different, with backgrounds that are different, the result is very diverse. In the creative process we absolutely need this diversity of ideas and opening up to even ‘crazy’ ideas and then trying to filter down to the best ones that will be a proper solution for the project.
“It is important to encourage teammates to share their thoughts and opinions because the more diverse the ideas we get, the more the possibility we have to get real breakthrough ideas. Diversity is the driving force for innovation and for creativity. Diversity can trigger inclusion, adaptability and flexibility, all of which are so important in today’s creative environments.
“I like to compare our team to a hotpot: the more different ingredients we add, the better the result is. It’s true that you can have different, specific and beautifully prepared dishes, but a hotpot is where something unique comes out every time – you never have two hotpots the same.”
Brand Design Director
“Diversity comes down a basic understanding and respect for someone. As a global design studio, we obviously need to speak to a large demographic – people from all walks of life. Having a diverse team, we look at things from all angles and perspectives.
“There is an African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.’ To me, that is diversity. I believe diversity is an attitude. An attitude of openness to accept differences of opinions.”
CMF & HMI Design Director
“I think my team is a truly diverse team. Diverse in the sense of age, gender, educational background, lifestyle. In a design team we know that every designer has their own specific personality which may relate to a certain group of people, background or lifestyle which is closer to him or herself, but our product, in the end, needs to cover a large scale of consumers. By having a diverse workforce, we can integrate different opinions, different ideas, different perspectives which in the end relate our product to a large consumer pool.”
“We try to create a culture in our team with a sense of collaborative growth – we all grow together. Every week we reserve one hour, however busy we are, to share information and ideas and we call it ‘Happy Sharing Hour’. In the Happy Sharing Hour, we talk about automotive for sure, but it is not limited to industry. We talk about movies, music – everybody brings something which interests them to share with the rest of the team.
Everybody feels their own improvement; round after round, sessions after session they see other good practices from other designers where they could perhaps not find it themselves. To me diversity means embracing differences and mutual inspiration. Always keeping an open mind and remembering there is another perspective, another way of seeing things.”
“My team is really interesting because we have engineers from different parts of the world. Our studio engineering team has a lot of diversity and we have different people from different countries – we have engineers from Brazil, Sweden, the UK, the US, Canada and China.
“When I think about diversity, the first thing that comes to my mind is the respect of the individual. Without this, you cannot have diversity. For me, this word ‘respect’ is the first word that comes to my mind when discussing diversity. Diversity is the respect of the individual. If you can’t do this, you will not be successful.”