Communication in diverse teams

Imagine a team where each member brings their own unique set of ideas and viewpoints. This is where innovation thrives. However, the diversity that fuels this creativity can also bring communication challenges. Misunderstandings and varied communication styles can create barriers. Effective communication, in this context, acts as a unifying force, transforming these challenges into chances for growth and understanding.

Boosting Communication in Teams

Setting a common foundation for communication is therefore vital. It's not about everyone communicating in the same way, but establishing a team culture where everyone understands the key concepts and processes and where each member of the team feels safe and encouraged to express their ideas.

  • Listening

  • In this situation listening plays a pivotal role. It involves fully engaging with what others are saying and trying to grasp their perspective. Julian Treasure's TED Talk offers valuable insights and a few very simple exercises for the art of listening, a crucial skill for anyone throughout any innovation process.

  • Safe spaces

  • Creating a space where every team member feels comfortable and valued enough to share their thoughts is also important. If you are a facilitator, it’s your role to ensure that all voices are heard and respected. If you are not, maybe think about assigning a person from your team to become the facilitator for your innovation process or volunteer yourself. This is not just about finding common ground; it’s about valuing each person’s unique contribution.

  • Visualization

  • Another crucial thing, which we at find especially important is utilizing visual tools. They can help bridge communication gaps, especially in linguistically diverse teams. Diagrams, flowcharts, and sketches can clarify complex ideas and make sure everyone is on the same page visually. When we work together, we usually make use of an online collaboration board such as or This helps us to instantly visualize and document our ideas. Roberta often sketches ideas while we are talking and shares them by putting the pictures on the board.

  • Constant Team Building

  • We believe in the power of constantly building team spirit. Regular check-ins help maintain alignment within the team. These could be brief daily updates or weekly meetings. Also encouraging open and honest feedback is part of this process. Feedback fosters growth and improves team dynamics. And last but not least, we love having lunch together whenever we are in the same city.

  • Learn about cultural differences

  • For teams with diverse cultural backgrounds, some cultural sensitivity training can go a long way. It helps team members understand and respect differences, smoothing the path for effective communication. If that is a little too much effort, build in learning about the different cultures into your check-ins and other team activities. It can be as easy as discussing your favorite foods up to discussing surprising behaviors you observed in another culture. For example: Moritz lives in Mozambique at the moment and he has a pet dog. Having a dog in your house and treating it almost like a human being is a very weird concept from the perspective of many Mozambicans.

  • Conflict resolution

  • If there is a conflict, it is good to learn some conflict resolution skills. They are essential for handling misunderstandings. Again, facilitators can be particularly effective here, helping team members navigate conflicts and find agreeable solutions. If the conflicting parties are up for it, the game of conflicts can help them finding a different perspective. We designed it based on a more technical understanding of conflicts – conflicting technological parameters which prevent a simple solution of a problem. But, if you are up for it, you can also learn a lot about the different perspectives if you play this game around less technical issues. For example friends of ours plaid it to take a decision on buying a house or not. But in order to be open for that, the conflict cannot be too stuck. The conflicting parties need to have an open mind in order to use a creative approach such as the game of conflicts. Which brings us to the next point:

  • Games to enhance communication
  • Introducing games into the team dynamics can also create a pivotal change, especially in diverse settings. Games have a unique way of breaking down barriers and encouraging interaction in a relaxed, engaging environment. They can simplify complex concepts, making them easier to grasp and discuss. Gamification introduces elements like points, levels, and challenges, which can make a learning or discussion process more exciting and interactive. This approach encourages participation from everyone, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. It’s a fun, effective way to boost team morale and enhance communication skills. Our Game of Conflicts is an excellent resource for exploring how gamification can support the complex discussions around which problem to solve during an innovation challenge. The solution principles then even help to find ideas on how to solve them.


    In the end, diverse teams hold the key to a range of innovative solutions. Effective communication within these teams is not just about conveying messages; it’s about fostering understanding and respect, and leveraging the diverse talents of each member. By integrating these strategies and incorporating elements of gamification, you can transform communication challenges into opportunities for comprehensive innovation and team growth.