Why is diversity important in a community, team or organization? What’s the point? There have been several studies done on this and the result is always the same - when you have diversity, companies’ do better and so does the bottom line.
When I was at NASA, while we were working on what would later become OpenStack, we were also working for the Human Research Program (HRP). The HRP does a lot of studies on team dynamics and cohesion, specifically, for the International Space Station. After all, if you stick a bunch of very diverse people (of different ages, genders, languages and skillsets) in a small metal tube and they cant figure out how to get along, someone will die.
The reality is, however, that if you don’t set up the conditions for success, diversity can create barriers, which does more harm then good. A company or community that successfully integrates diversity does better.
View slides or read my blog on this topic at http://www.pistoncloud.com/2014/02/ hoodies-blazers-together-at-last/.