Integrating Gender Dynamics into Innovation Ecosystems

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Innovation ecosystems can be constructed around any subject matter. We choose here the topic of gender, which we examine as a component of innovation success. Most analyses of innovation systems tend to assume gender-neutral position with regard to identity and roles of participating actors and their activities. However, real-life innovations can often result in different quality of outcomes for women and men; the innovation potential of highly trained women remains unrealised; and the recent socioeconomic empowerment of women as driver of market needs continues to be ignored. Drawing on latest research evidence from studies of gender issues in science, we show how innovation systems can benefit from adopting more gender sensitive approaches, which recognise the role gender plays in shaping knowledge and market activities. We propose four scenarios for constructing gender sensitive innovation ecosystems based on different gender dynamics that combine scientific understanding of sex and gender differences with improved engagement of women in innovation process, enabled through participatory methods and open and inclusive innovation practices.

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doi: 10.13189/sa.2015.031106
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