Cultural Intelligence and Engineering


A few weeks back I participated in a four day leadership course in London. The course was run by CSC Leaders and carried out by Common Purpose. One of the central points of conversation was cultural intelligence; defined as “the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures”. One of the highlights of the course was the people, the personal connection. Each individual was from a different background, a different discipline. This played an important factor when resolving the challenge of what makes a city smart.

Cultural intelligence is not a passive acceptance of others, cultural intelligence moves beyond that stage and unlocks the potential of diversity. It is defined by creating an environment where a group of diverse people naturally come together, in which diversity is not a goal but an outcome of an excellent work standard. The secret of a diverse group working well together is found in the individual connection between each member of the group. How do we enable these relationships to form?

The group I worked with was culturally intelligent; we had the courage and understanding to share in a wide scope of views. We knew each individual could bring something to the table, could offer some wisdom and path of resolution into the challenge. Cultural intelligence comes from respect, not giving or tacking offence, being engage and positive and being a leader. These are the values of common purpose and enabled us to tackle difficult challenges in an open and creative manner. Cultural intelligence is vital in engineering in order to fully consider the impact of projects we must work in a diverse work environment. Part of the challenge engineer’s face is getting more women involved in engineering please support WES and the great work they deliver.

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