IntroductionGenovate Toolkit

”Promoting sustainable change” involves a toolkit: processes, methods, and tools for implementing gender equality work in research and innovation systems: collaborations between academia, industry and government in so called Triple Helix partnerships. By examining a set of phenomena in depth, relational aspects can be identified; they can be critically reflected upon in interaction with the participants, using inclusive participatory methods and tools.

Promoting innovation

This toolkit aims to be an easy-to-use set of methods that encourages a broad group of people to implement gender equality and diversity work. However, accomplishing this aim calls for motivated and committed people to promote the bene ts of gender equality and diversity perspectives.

In current society, innovation is generally said to be the heart of businesses and organisational success, as well as the very core of development and growth in research, academia, regions, and society as a whole. Despite this, fewer women than men participate in, or contribute to, traditional innovation systems. The reason for this is often explained in terms of women being less interested in innovation than men. In contrast, the starting point of this toolkit builds on the notion that there are no fundamental differences between women’s and men’s attitudes or interest in innovation. Rather, attitudes and interests depend on invitation and participation as well as, on identifying needs, perspectives, and preferences among a diversity of stakeholders in the innovation process.

Creating awareness

Norms and values generally serve as a ground to support social interaction and uphold a civil society. However, sometimes such norms and values contribute to discriminating people. This toolkit deals with such discrimination by creating awareness of how we behave towards one another. Discrimination often becomes observable in social interactions, but it can also involve how we work, organize, design, and invent the innovation process, and what kind of products, services, systems, solutions, and built environments we design as a result. To deal with these issues, this toolkit supports the inclusion of gender equality and diversity awareness in research and innovation systems.

Although this toolkit’s main focus is on gender equality, it can be applied to all types of discrimination – e.g., discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age. This involves how gender interacts with other inequalities, which can be understood in terms of intersectionality.

Innovation is in itself not gendered or discriminating; people create norms and values that make us think of certain characteristics in a certain way.

Normcritical innovation usually requires reflecting on our values and attitudes and how they might contribute to discrimination. The fundamental idea of this toolkit is that such reflection contributes to an innovation capability: innovative solutions usually come from inspiration by interacting with new people, doing new things, and creating ideas based on reecting on those new insights and perspectives.

Promoting innovation refers to identifying gender bias (i.e., understanding how gender bias operates within research and innovation systems). It involves methods for collaborative analysis and identifications, and collaborative methods for planning and performing sustainable change. Integrating such methods in research and innovation systems will better secure excellence in innovation.

Interactive approach

This toolkit is based on interactive and participatory methods and processes to promote a sustainable gender equality and diversity through a reflective practice. Early stage research needs to identity issues, challenges, needs, and aspirations held among the people within a particular context. Identifying and spreading the awareness of attitudes and values is the basis to create sustainable change.

An interactive approach will not determine average behaviours or attitudes, but it will most likely help you in identifying deeply held needs, desires, experiences, attitudes, and challenges held by stakeholders within a research and/or innovation system. Because such issues impair innovative capabilities, they are important aspects to address.

Definitions and concepts

DIVERSITY means accepting that each individual is unique and these differences should be respected. These differences include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. Understanding diversity allows for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and fostering environment. Diversity is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual and among individuals.

DOING GENDER refers to the understanding of gender as a routine, methodical, and a recurring accomplishment undertaken by women and men, involving complex perceptual, interactional, and micro political activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of masculine and feminine natures. Gender is seen as an achieved property of a situated conduct, so gender is seen as an emergent feature of a social situation and as means of legitimating one of the most fundamental divisions of society.

GENDER refers to the social attitudes between women and men that together shape and sanction “feminine” and “masculine” behaviours, products, technology, environments, and knowledge. Such attitudes are changeable, and have wide variations both within and among cultures.

GENDER-AWARE INNOVATION refers to the creative power of gender analysis to discover new things. Without such awareness, gender bias leads to missed market opportunities.

GENDER EQUALITY refers to that all human beings are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by strict gender roles. Gender equality means that the different behaviours, aspirations, and needs of women and men are considered, valued, and favoured equally.

GENDER PERSPECTIVE refers to the consideration and attention to the differences between women and men in any given policy area/activity.

INNOVATION refers to the driving force of economic growth and competitiveness, which provides real benefits for citizens, consumers, and workers. Innovation speeds up and improves the way we conceive, develop, produce, and access new products, industrial processes, and services. It is the key not only to creating more jobs, building a greener society, and improving our quality of life, but also to maintaining our competitiveness in the global market.

INNOVATION SYSTEMS involves the idea that innovation in global markets sets new demands for policies and strategies. Innovation processes are increasingly embedded in normal social and economic activities. The source of innovation is the innovation system – different actor-networks comprising users, producers, and related development organizations. It is crucial to promote innovation in a multi-actor environment. However, innovation networks are often formed from a heterogeneous group of various actors including representatives of firms, universities, technology centres, and development organizations. The ability to interact in these networks becomes a decisive success factor in promoting innovative capability.

INTERACTIVE RESEARCH refers to a joint learning process between participants and researchers during the whole process. The participants have an important role in the analytic work. The ambition is to carry out research “with” rather than “on” the participants.

INTERSECTIONALITY refers to the way in which gender interacts with other inequalities, generating new and diverse forms of inequality. This can be structural. That is, the people who experience concrete discrimination or suffer economic, political, and social disadvantages are located at the intersection of concrete inequalities. It can also be political in the sense of the effects of inequalities as the result of political strategies of institutions, organizations, and social movements. Thus, interventions that lead to one concrete inequality may affect other inequalities. For example, promoting gender equality may in turn discriminate against minority women, migrants, elderly persons, or homosexuals.

NORMCRITICAL INNOVATION refers to challenging normative thinking in terms of gender and diversity. Therefore, the idea is that a greater openness to gender equality and diversity fosters innovation capabilities.

QUADRUPLE HELIX refers to government, industry, academia, and civil participants working together to create the future and drive structural changes far beyond the scope of what any one organization or person could do alone.

REFLECTION refers to one of the cornerstones of reflective practice and gender-equality integration. In today’s information and knowledge society, people need to reflect on the conditions that make social interaction and knowledge development possible and learn how to improve practices.

SOCIAL INNOVATION concerns new ideas that address pressing unmet needs. We simply describe social innovations as innovations that are both social in their ends and in their means. Social innovations are new ideas (products, services, and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations.

STAKEHOLDERS are any groups or individuals who can affect or are affected by the achievement of the organization’s objective.

STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT refers to participants and stakeholders of innovation systems who are equal partners. Innovation includes the embedded gender equality and diversity dimension in research and decision-making bodies. The reason for stakeholder involvement is that innovations are created in mutual, close and frequent relationships between different kinds of institutions and companies. The number of participants does not affect results, but how they interact and how they form relationships, a condition that gives participants access to each other’s network.

SUSTAINABLE CHANGE refers to collaboration on equal terms with stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable change and thereby socially robust knowledge. The research process, where the participants and researchers work on more equal terms, is a method and approach that provides greater opportunity to achieve sustainable development and change.

TRIPLE HELIX refers to the way academia, industry, and government cooperate to encourage innovation and economic development. This tripartite relationship generates new institutional and social formats for the production, transfer, and application of knowledge, especially with respect to innovation and economic development.