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Diversity necessary for innovation

From left to right: Martjin van der Liefd (panel discussion facilitator), Carmen Forster (Old Mutual); Ally Angula (Businesswoman), Dr Elijah Ngurare (SWAPO Youth League Secretary General); Fons Trompenaars (Main Speaker); Prof. Joseph Diescho (NIPAM); Natasha Williams-Phatela (PUM); Priscilla Husselman (Old Mutual); Margareth Gustavo (Cornerstone Joe Public) and Taamba Iithete (Consultant).

World-renowned speaker and consultant on organisational culture and diversity management, Fons Trompenaars, took the delegates of a special conference on diversity, through the loops and crevices of this difficult terrain, showing his Namibian audience that diversity must be approached as an advantage and not a drawback. The Diversity Conference was held in Windhoek last week. Trompenaars highlighted that diversity is necessary for innovation and explained the many dilemmas and how these can be reconciled.

“What would you do if you were confronted with the following situation? You witnessed your boss or teacher make a mistake, would you tell him or her? Under which circumstances? Are you honest or polite? Is hierarchy more important to you or the quality of your work or studies? Could you have it both ways? And there are many more dilemmas,” he said. Said Trompenaars, “some cultures propose specific solutions to these problems, and these solutions are closely connected to their value preferences. In one group or society, honesty might be more important than politeness, and in another, the reverse may be true.” “The same goes with respect for hierarchy. How do we deal with situations where someone who expects a high level of politeness and hierarchy meets someone with the opposite expectations? There are many situations like this that we have to deal with every day, especially in inter-cultural environments,” he added. The first of its kind programme was boosted by the support from PwC and Nedbank Namibia, who both formally committed N$100,000 to cover the conference costs. Margareth Gustavo of Cornerstone Joe Public, the main organiser of the Change and Diversity Conference 2015, said, “the conference organising team is immensely thankful for the support we have received from Nedbank Namibia and PwC Namibia.” The organising committee of the Change and Diversity Conference 2015 consisted of: Prof. Joseph Diescho (NIPAM), Andrew Jansen (Simonis Storm Securities), Margareth Gustavo (Cornerstone Joe Public), Priscilla Husselmann (Nedbank Namibia), Natasja Williams-Phatela (Grow Training and Advisory Services and Franklin Covey Namibia), Florence Amuenje (Consultant) Rauna Nghishekwa (Cornerstone Joe Public), Hilda Basson-Namundjebo (Oxygen Communication), Brendon Ihmig (PointBlunt Multimedia Productions), Talitha Jario (Consultant), Helene Meintjes (Bright! Communication), Tracy Eagles (Old Mutual Namibia) and Taamba Iithete (Consultant).

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