Gene Roddenberry was the man behind the long-standing television series Star Trek.
His work/art suggested that diversity among people who work together may lead to making, not just acceptable decisions but better decisions with better solutions.
What is impressive is that he made this TV series during a period when diversity and equality was not a very popular concept. And, while advancement was being made, the concept was still greatly struggling to progress. In fact, the TV show was prohibited from being aired for that very reason in certain countries.
The Star Trek that Roddenberry produced was a science fiction series. It played in the far future where space travel was common. The series involved a group of diverse people. They were bound together by a cause and in pursuit of knowledge in the far reaches of space. The duality of their quest was that apart from discovering new knowledge in the frontiers of space they also discovered things about themselves and each other in the process.
Contained in a space traveling vessel they had to work together and find solutions to important, typically acute problems despite their diversity and shortcomings. In particular the ship’s captain, science officer and surgeon were portrayed with having very different personalities with very different reasoning about how to tackle a problem.
The idea implied in the series was that each of us have differences. We each have talents as well as shortcomings. We each have our own diversity as well as something that binds us together. And, while diversity among people working together does not automatically result in better performance, Roddenberry demonstrated that it can lead to better solutions.
In a technologically advancing and globalizing world such as ours Roddenberry’s work has provided a generation with a small, yet romantic, idea. An idea on what we can expect about the advancement of our world, how we might prepare for it and, more importantly, how we might work together to sustain and improve on it.
“What makes us same makes us work as a team but what makes us different can add the greatest level of innovation and solution” [B.J. Rao]
Photo of Gene Roddenberry: Attribution: Larry D. Moore