ATD Blog

Leverage D&I to Deliver to the Marketplace and Improve the Workplace

Monday, July 8, 2013

An increasingly globalized world requires organizations to leverage diversity and inclusion (D&I) best practices. Massive demographic shifts and slowing growth in the developed countries has propelled focus on new markets, and cultural intelligence is critical to deliver solutions that fit diverse needs. Economic activity in the emerging markets is growing at compounded rates estimated at 40 percent, compared with 2 to 5 percent in the West and Japan, making competition fierce to find new ways to address customer needs in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and find the best talent.

Here are a few examples of D&I successes and opportunities for both the marketplace and the workplace.


  • Panasonic moved to a dominant position in washing machines in China, third after domestic manufacturers, by understanding the specific needs in that country. Adapting the standard refrigerator size from 65 centimeters to 55 to suit smaller kitchens, has a enabled 10-fold growth in sales.(Source: Harvard Business Review)
  • Colgate-Palmolive has enjoyed a blockbuster product with its Green Tea Mouthwash in Asia Pacific countries. (Source: Colgate-Palmolive Annual Report)
  • VisionSpring delivers affordable eye care to the poor in 13 countries through a low-cost entrepreneurial franchise model with mass-produced eyeglasses. (Source: McKinsey & Co.)
  • Major brands such as JetBlue Airways, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kraft Foods, and MasterCard are using ads that reflect shifts in our society, featuring bi-racial and LBGT couples, as reported by the New York Times.
  • Nearly one billion women could enter the global economy in the next 10 years; if women in the United States, Japan, and Egypt were employed in the same numbers as men, the GDPs would be higher by 5 percent, 9 percent, and 34 percent respectively, according to Booz & Company.
  • Women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18.4 trillion in consumer spending globally, according to the Boston Consulting Group, with important consequences for most businesses.


  • An estimated 75 million Baby Boomers are near retirement, but there are only 30 million Gen Xers to fill the gap—with requirements to attract and retain new and diverse workers in new ways. (Source: apt Metrics)
  • An unprecedented four generations are now in the workforce, with different histories, expectations and attitudes about work.
  • Women are now attaining higher educational levels than men in many countries, yet their career progression remains stalled—organizations who address this successfully will clearly have a competitive advantage.
  • More diverse talent provides fuel for new ideas and innovation, and it more effectively mirrors changing customers and communities.
  • With recent estimates of current employees planning to look for other job opportunities ranging from 30 percent to more than one-half of today’s workforce, the imperative to engage all employees in an inclusive workplace in which they are respected and their talents are leveraged has never been more pressing. 

What examples do you have of how D&I delivers in your marketplace and workplace? 

Plan to attend the July 10 1 p.m. EST ASTD webcast, Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion: A Panel Discussion with Trevor Gandy, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, CHUBB and Nancy DiDia, Executive Director, Chief Diversity Officer, Boehringer Ingelheim, moderated by Ann Pace, ASTD’s Human Capital Community of Practice manager. We will share internal and external perspectives on this business imperative and include a list of resources and an Action Planner you can use immediately following the webcast. For more information, to register, or to enable access to the archived webinar on demand, click on:

For more on diversity and inclusion (D&I), check out the full blog series here.

About the Author

Marjorie Derven, a director at HUDSON Research & Consulting, has worked with many leading organizations to design change management strategies and initiatives that integrate organizational effectiveness, DEI, and learning to create solutions that drive meaningful change.

She formerly served as chair for TD Editorial Board and as a Senior Fellow at The Conference Board in the human capital practice. With 20+ years of consulting experience with top-tier companies across multiple industries, her areas of expertise include emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion, global leadership development, talent management, and organizational research. Marjorie has published dozens of articles and is a frequent presenter at global conferences. For more information, contact [email protected]

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