Thursday, February 22, 2018

Decolonization, diversity and equity for inclusive innovation

Here is an interesting article about inclusive innovation and some of the tacit biases that exist in how we value the activities and outputs of R&D. In Women entrepreneurs are innovating in their businesses; it’s time to help them succeed the authors provide a very compelling case about how women have been largely excluded from the valorization of innovation because of a focus on products over all other forms of innovation.

In essence they argue - convincingly - that the focus on just products (usually technology) over services is devalues the types of businesses that women start, which they describe as being more services based. They outline the full spectrum of innovation that the OECD defines: product, process, organizational and marketing innovation.

Innovation happens in all sectors and across all platforms - social, economic and cultural. Broadening our definition of what constitutes a valid activity in a sphere of work has a commensurate and follow on effect on what outcomes are valued (a point I made earlier in my discussion about Capacity and Contribution).

As the authors point out: "Using this definition, we start to see these women in a new light – they are innovating in all sectors and in every aspect of their business. While we need to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in science and technology, it is important to recognize their contributions to Canada's innovation in all sectors and aspects of their businesses."

When we value the full spectrum of innovation and all of those participating we have a platform for understanding - and creating - inclusive innovation.

This should be required reading for all engaged in supporting research and innovation. 

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