The Power of Diversity and Innovation: Lessons from a Duck at the Door

April 14, 2020

Now more than ever, companies and organizations have to innovate if they hope to be competitive.  Did you know a duck knocking on a door can teach us a valuable lesson about diversity and innovation?

The focus of this month is on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and how it is an important leadership skill. 

When you are in this space and doing this work, you are opening yourself up to walking in other people's shoes.  You're learning more about them and understanding where they are coming from. 

"duck at the door"

One of my favorite children's books is Jackie Urbanovic's Duck at the Door.  It's the story of a duck who instead of flying south for the winter, decides to stay behind.  He knocks on the door of an animal lover and asks to stay.  The animal lover invites him in and the duck gets to hang out with all the other animals.  The duck learns to cook and use the remote control.  It's so cute and funny!

The other animals get a little worked up about the duck:

Why is the duck all in our space? 

This is different than how we eat! 

This is different from what we normally do! 

By embracing this difference, they are able to learn all new and different things.  

When the rest of the flock of ducks come back, the duck leaves and all the other animals (who were agitated when the duck was there), start to miss his presence and everything he did. 

The duck had brought a sense of innovation and exploration into the lives of the other animals.

When the next season comes back around to fly north, the animals are excited to hear a knock at the door.  When they open it, they're not just happy to see the one duck but the entire flock.

when we open the door

Duck at the Door illustrates happens when we open our doors and really think about people outside "our flock." When we do that, not only are we inviting them to the table, but we are inviting their ideas to the table. It creates a world of possibility that wouldn't exist otherwise. 

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