Although Black History Month is over, it’s important to continue reflecting on the many innovations and advancements that Black leaders have made throughout history. From Madame C.J. Walker, who became the first self-made female millionaire in America, to Mark Dean, who co-invented the IBM personal computer, Black people have always been at the forefront of innovation and creativity.

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Mark Dean, co-inventor of the IBM personal computer

But innovation isn’t just about having access to the latest technology or resources. In fact, some of the most innovative solutions have come from individuals who had to do the most with the least. This is a mindset that has been ingrained in the Black community for generations. We have had to be resourceful and find creative ways to overcome obstacles and achieve our goals.

As Black people, many of us know what it’s like to make something out of nothing. We know how to turn challenges into opportunities. And we know how to create something that is truly unique and groundbreaking. This skill, however, is not unique to just the African American community. It’s a shared factor among all resilient cultures and is part of the fabric of our shared American identity.

Innovation and creativity are not just buzzwords. They are essential components of success in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing workplace. According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse workforces are more innovative and have a higher likelihood of outperforming their competitors.

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So how can you foster a culture of innovation in your workplace? Here are a few tips:

1 Encourage collaboration: Innovation thrives in an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas and collaborating with one another. Encourage your team to work together and provide them with opportunities to share their ideas.

2 Embrace failure: Innovation often involves taking risks and trying new things. Encourage your team to embrace failure as a learning opportunity and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.

3 Prioritize diversity and inclusion: As mentioned earlier, diverse teams are more innovative. Prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring and promotion practices. Not only does this promote sustainable culture and change, but it brings in a multitude of voices and viewpoints which yield better results

As we begin celebrating the creativity and the achievements of women this month, I am reminded of the words of Maya Angelou: “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” Let us continue to innovate and create, even in the face of adversity, but let us strive to create a space where everyone can become creative and innovative from a place of abundance.

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In closing, I challenge you to embrace the spirit of innovation and creativity in your own life and in your workplace. For those without the largest resources on shoestring budgets, continue do the most with the least and create something truly remarkable. For those who have already accumulated the tools and resources to do something magical — do that, and do it boldly, as we spread opportunity to those around us, equally.

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