Why Monocultures Suck

Living in a society where we encounter different backgrounds and professions in our daily routines makes for a more tolerant society; it also makes us smarter, more original in the ideas we have – and in the companies we create. – Steven Johnson

It’s not necessarily to say that environments where people are surrounded by people exactly like themselves breed intolerance, stupidity, and unoriginality. But it is short sighted, and in my personal opinion, pretty boring.

I don’t need to have my back patted and to be told how great my ideas are in order to have more great ideas. What I DO need is outside inspiration, which almost invariably comes from the crossover-part of the venn diagram between two communities, cultures, or viewpoints.

All of the most valuable and interesting experiences I’ve had in the last 3-5 years were those which put people next to each other that normally wouldn’t get a chance to be next to each other.

  • Speaking at conferences full of professionals from an industry other than my own (human resources, food and beverage, toys and games, etc)
  • Coworking at Indy Hall, one of the most professionally diverse places I’ve ever been, though I’m biased
  • Ignite Philly, notorious for curating together leaders from government, technology, business, entertainment, the arts, education, and more
  • Barcamp Philly (like Ignite Philly, our Barcamp is particularly good at attracting more than just and design tech nerds)

Where’s the last place you went, or thing you did, that took you out of your normal element, but allowed you to gain immense knowledge and insight from unexpected places?

  • http://robertsandie.com sandieman

    1 – Every day something new comes out of Bethlehem, PA. For instance, recently went to the grocery store and witnessing foodstamps. I grew up in Silicon Valley.. where you just don’t see such things..

    2 – SXSW not so much Interactive but the Music portion that puts you in a new state.

    3 – St. Louis Park – it’s twice as big as NYC’s central park and developed by the same guy.

    4 – Las Vegas – every hotel has it’s different demo and going from hotel to hotel is an experience.

    Good question :)

  • http://www.dangerouslyawesome.com alexknowshtml

    1 – I’m curious what kind of impact seeing poverty has on you, especially as a business guy. #2 – I totally agree. I haven’t discovered anything truly “new” at SWSW Interactive, but Music and Film are totally mind-expanding#3 – That’s awesome, exploring places like that are always inspiring. Parks are like urban “jungles”, populated by all kinds of interesting creatures#4 – If Vegas isn’t “diverse”, I don’t know what is. ;)