Does the good old “little-boys-club” prevent innovation?




This comic is dedicated with merit to three amazing and inspiring women, Penelope Gazin, Kate Dwyer and Katja Rieger.

Indeed, we have actually moved out of the jungle! Only to arrive at a self created new one, keeping some remaining stone age and amphibious structures alive! For decades research by scientists show that socially diverse groups are more innovative and attain superior financial performance than homogeneous groups. Yes, there is even a number: diverse companies outperform the industry norm by 35%. These are the facts!

So if the benefits are so obvious, why does uniformity and conformity still privail? Is it because of the y-chromosome, a built-in biological bias, stereotypes and discrimination? Or is it simply our favorite good old ‘little-boys-club’? If for any of the mentioned reasons, it prevails in different industries and bear and forbear in various segments of banking. On and foremost investment banking. Maybe, it’s not surprising that this segment is facing major disruption from fintech startups, regulation and security concerns. Infact, MarketWatch even question if invest banks have a place in our current financial future.

Although we know that a diverse  group of people with heterogeneous expertise supercede a homogeneous group at solving complex and uncommon problems, then what purpose does the ‘little-boys-club’ serve? Probably not to promote breakthrough innovations and unfettered discoveries! Well no, of course not, it serves itself! This uniform and homogenous club does not want to be challenged by savvy and astute ideas, by no means, it doesn’t want to be challenged at all.

Guess what, there are solutions from job-sharing, new technologies, return to work programs to quotas and surely many more. Probably no one of them will solve it completely. Except maybe one! As stated in the onset, the jungle and evolution in business seem to recognise inefficiencies and can on occassion cause disruption. Our ‘little-boys-club’ is a sure sign of corporate weakness, a relict of the past. So, if women do not account for a good 50% on board member levels, then we certainly know what the market has lined up – a new equilibrium!

Hilarius video with Penelope and Kate: