Nilofer Merchant is CEO and Chief Strategist of Rubicon Consulting. She’s also the author of “The New How.” She has honed her unique, collaborative approach to solving tough problems while working with and for companies like Adobe, Apple, Nokia, HP and others. This post was originally published on her blog, and was re-published on

You can’t innovate if you keep hiring the same type of person.

“We need to know how to get diverse points of view into the system, because that is what allows us to see things from different angles and fundamentally shift our approach from seeing the problem the way it’s always been seen (and thus unsolved, one could presume) and see it afresh to create the shift in viewpoint that allows for a new creative act.

Companies continue to hire the same breed and genetic strain of employees as if somehow that helps us “meet the requirements”.

Managers abdicate responsibility for this to HR. HR abdicates responsibility to an in house contractor recruiter or recruitment consultancy. They don’t often see the business value a candidate brings but do a quick check on the CV to see how many tick boxes they match. Many applications are often disregarded because they don’t meet the tick box criteria, yet these applicants could offer a diverse creativity mindset and new ways of doing business and above all challenge the status quo.

Some of the best hires I ever made were not people who came from the same background as me, or the same organization I worked at, but from another world as they were not burdened with the preconceived fears and ways of doing business that I had slowly learned in my career path. They challenged me because they didn’t even realize they were challenging me.

Solution: at least 10% of your new hires need to be from a completely different industry so you learn how they think. Software companies should be looking at people who worked in the car industry or retail environment or even run a coffee shop. Why not? If they are bright and determined they will get up to speed fast to leverage the opportunity you gave them.

Crazy idea? Maybe, but more of the same approach might get us the same results. Why not try something different?”