The story behind the Diversity Icebreaker
In 1997, a nonconformist psychologist in a small consulting company in Oslo, Norway, developed an alternative HR tool that combined a short questionnaire mapping preferences for communication and interaction, with a dynamic group workshop.
The tool was easy to use, tapped into many scientific paradigms at once (not only psychology) and it was available at reasonable rates. It thus challenged other, established tools and the psychometrical tradition as such. Furthermore, the tool proved itself to be very flexible and applicable in various areas of HR management.
Soon, the company experienced that the new tool evoked so much energy and enthusiasm among the clients that it practically sold itself, and none marketing efforts were required to disseminate it.
In 2013, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, Det Norske Veritas (now DNV GL), set out to investigate whether the seemingly simple questionnaire had a sound scientific grounding and was fit to meet the European standards for tests use. The tool met the requirements and is now certified as a development tool used in workshops.
Today, the tool is available in 19 languages and more than 380 000 individuals have experienced the Diversity Icebreaker, in more than 75 countries, all over the world. The whole operation is masterminded from the offices in Oslo, comprised of four dedicated individuals.
The Diversity Icebreaker, created by Bjørn Z. Ekelund and distributed by Human Factors AS, is the first internationally used HR tool that has been created in Norway. Diversity Icebreaker is also the first Norwegian-made team test that has received the DNV GL accreditation for psychological tests used in work-related contexts.