Thoughts About Diversity

Diversity. It’s one of the buzzwords of the day. These days it seems like every person who posts, texts or tweets about infosec, cybersecurity, devops, ad nauseum, is beating the diversity drum into smitereens. But what does diversity really mean, anyway?

Ask some people and they’ll say diversity is all about gender. Others focus on sexual orientation. Still others talk about culture or nationality or religion… But none of those has got it quite right.

It’s about perspective and perception.

Women perceive the world differently than men do. Ditto of LGBTQ. Asians have a different perspective than Westerners. Ditto for black compared to white compared to red compared to purple. And even a subtle difference in perspective can make a huge different in terms of what a person perceives.

Single-vantage-point illusion by Swiss painter Felice Varini.
Single-vantage-point illusion by Swiss painter Felice Varini.

Swiss painter Felice Varini has a gift for creating optical illusions that only work from a single perspective. Now imagine that your development team, or your security team all have the same perspective.

Now do you get it?

Our perspective alters what we can and cannot see. By having people on your team who have different backgrounds, you bring their diverse perspectives and perceptive abilities to the game. That means the team will see more potential threats, anticipate more potential pitfalls, and create better, stronger solutions for the challenges you face.

So, what’s more important to you? Having a boys club where all the guys wear similar t-shirts and tell the same kind of jokes? Or having a diverse, multi-faceted team that can leverage the different mind-sets  of its members to tackle problems creatively and from different, original angles?

Choose wisely…

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