The Diversity Icebreaker


SynergyPlus Training & Consulting is local knowledge partner of Human Factors AS for the promotion of the Diversity Icebreaker in Italy.


What is the Diversity Icebreaker (DI)?

It is a psychological tool the results of which are not confidential but shared in a structured process. DI builds on a questionnaire measuring preferences for communication, interaction and different problem-solving styles. Participants fill in the questionnaire and through unique group processes develop a shared understanding of how to make use of the diversity.
The peculiarity of the tool lies in the facilitation and post-filling process of the questionnaire itself. Therefore the tool canot be presented if the target audience does not take part in a workshop in which the tools is actually used.
A typical workshop in which the questionnaire is filled and is followed by a group debriefing and reflection process aided by the facilitator lasts 1.5 - 2 hours.

The purpose of this tool is to:
- Improve communication
- Develop team work
- Promote self-awareness
- Enhance social interaction
- Understand and appreciate differences
- Allow constructive group dynamics
- Structure teams that work in projects
- Promote dialogue
- Manage conflict
- Create common understanding of concepts
- Create a culture of diversity
- Inspire collective reflection

Thanks to the focus on interaction more than on the personality of the person who decides to take the questionnaire, this tools is also used in personnel hiring processes and to creare new common grounds in conflict situations.

The creator of the tool, Bjørn Z. Ekelund, is going to present the results of a three-year study on the application of the DI in managing conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the SIETAR Europa conference in Tallinn, Estonia, in September 2013. For more information on his paper, please click here.


Who uses this tool?

In Italy this tool is successfully used by Bocconi School of Managament, MIB School of management of Trieste  and big corporations like ENEL, ENI, Comau and Ferrero. Some of the companies and institutions which use it on an international level are:

• IMD "International Institute for Management Development" (Swtozerland)
• INSEAD Business School (France, Singapore)
• CCL-Center for Creative Leadership (Belgium)
• North Eastern University, (USA)
• The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
• University of Arkansas (USA)
• Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)
• Danske Bank (Denmark)
• Grupo Santander (Switzerland)
• EnterCard (Sweden)
• Siemens (Germany Norway)
• Maersk (Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, the UK, Sweden, Denmark)
• ING Group (The Netherlands)
• Marubeni Corporation (Tokyo, Japan)
• Insituto Tecnologico y de Estudios, (Mexico)

And many others… The list keeps expanding even because this tool is also used by smaller organisations and schools.


When was this tool presented in Italy?

The Diversity Icebreaker was first presented in Italy on 17th September 2011 during a SIETAR Italia workshop, but its official presentation with the workshop held directly for the first time in Italy by its creator, Bjørn Z. Ekelund, took place on 25th June 2013 (click here for the flyer) during a free event organised by our association at the Camplus AlmaMater in Bologna.
In addition to the workshop which saw the direct participation of the audience, the presentation was followed by a series of case studies involving the Diversity Icebreaker which saw the voluntary contribution and success stories of David Trickey from TCO – International Diversity Management, Tim Baxter from MIB of Trieste, in addition to Marianna Crestani of SynergyPlus Training & Consulting.

Here are some comments on the event of 25th June 2013:
- I've improved the awareness about myself as well as that we are different
- I think I'll try to identify different colour types in class from now on and try to behave in harmony with their profile when dealing with them
- Q:Is there any short comment you would like to share on the seminar which could be used as a testimonial providing that your surname is kept anonymous? A: A life-changing event
- Q:What 3 words would you use to describe the seminar? A: pragmatic - interesting - very high Know how


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