Update #1 - A voice in the conversation
What's going on in Project W?
This spring we started Project W to find out why so few women approach KTH Innovation to help develop their ideas. After 6 hectic months we are already sure that we have brought up an important issue and want to give you an update on our progress.
We are working on several fronts of the project but emphasis is on the internal development and change work that is going on at KTH Innovation. It centers around putting focus on the issue of gender, learning more about the conditions for women in male dominated environments and how to highlight them. We have turned to the KTH researcher Anna Wahl for support on this and she will conduct a workshop with the KTH Innovation team later this autumn. We have also continued to look at our statistical data from previous years to try to find clues as to what might be differences in the development of ideas from women as opposed to men.
Needs and expectations
Another important part of the project is finding out what students and researchers at KTH need and expect from innovation support. Is there a difference here between women and men? Do they view idea development differently? How do they react to our communication, our way of expressing ourselves about our services and offers? These are big and complex questions that have been raised, and we are not sure that anyone in our position has asked them before. That makes it a challenge to pose questions that are open enough and still relevant and clear for people who may not have reflected on how they would like to have support for their ideas. But the questions need to be asked, we are sure about that.
At the same time we are considering who exactly to put the questions to. We believe that an important source of insight are the women that we have supported during the years. They are experienced in innovation development and have first hand experience of our approach, tools and methods. We believe their input would be very valuable. We also want to raise the question among young female students. They may not have a detailed plan for where their career will take them, but entrepreneurship could be interesting under the right conditions. Another important group could be stakeholders within the innovation system. We know, for instance, that PRV (The Swedish Patent and Registration Office) are faced with the same fact when it comes to patent applications, that women are decidedly under represented as inventors. There are many private investors and business developers in our network who we are sure would have very important thoughts and insights into the structure of the innovation system and its weaknesses. These resources are well worth investigating.
A voice in the conversation
We continue taking part in the conversation about women and tech innovation that is going on around the country. During the Almedalsveckan KTH Innovation Head of Department Lisa Ericsson took part in a panel discussion organised by PRV. The seminar, where the issue of the gender gap in patent applications in Sweden was discussed under the heading "Female innovators, how can there be more of them?", was very well attended. The issues raised we take with us as we work on the project and we hope to be a part of the solution to this problem that has to be solved.
Follow us or take part
I want to finish off by asking all who are interested in participating in our project to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you want to follow the project at a distance please register here , and if you want to follow KTH Innovation generally we're on Facebook and Twitter .
Projektledare, Project W