Passion brings them together, the internet enables them and their diversity helps them succeed

Lots of corporations work really hard to increase diversity.

In the mean time, I think free and open source software projects have figured it out. They may not be diverse in every way possible (there's a notable lack of women and an over representation of developers – go figure) but they have succeeded in not only attracting a diverse set of people but creating a really well working diverse group of people.

I think a couple of factors have made that possible:

  1. Passion. A shared mission, passion and commitment to the project.
  2. Connectivity. The internet (email, IRC, IM, identica, etc) has enabled people to work together effectively.

Take the GNOME Board of Directors, one of the most effective and diverse teams I've had the pleasure of working with:

  • 7 people
  • that live in 7 different countries
  • on 4 different continents
  • in 6 time zones
  • and speak 5 different first languages

They are diverse in other ways too but these facts are most public.

They talk every day via email, IRC and IM, debate some pretty difficult issues and come to working agreements without a boss. (They hired me, not the other way around.) They run the GNOME Foundation.

How many other teams do you know that are that diverse and that successful?

Their passion for GNOME brings them together, the internet enables them to work together and their diversity helps them succeed.