PersonasGenovate Toolkit


Personas are fictional descriptions of a person whose goals, feelings, perceptions, experiences, etc. are relevant to the work group it is designed for. It is a commonly implemented design method to make the design team emphasize user experiences.


The Persona method can be used in order to focus participants on gender experiences, for example, in order to not expose a particular person within a work group or to expose the participants to implicit equality issues.

2-40 h

2-7 persons





Pens, papers

The following description is the deep-dive into the Persona tool, which consists of gathering material through several sources to develop personas. An alternative approach is for a facilitator to gather the material beforehand to be used in a two- to three-hour workshop within a work group.

  • Map the context in order to learn of different experiences and perceptions among a particular work group through interviews, observations, and gender system analysis.
  • Contextualize the material. Working with the Persona method means focusing on a particular group of people in a certain context. What do people do that is speci c for this context, in particular situations, etc.? Explore meaning and symbolism. Explore actions and interactions. Watch, listen, and ask in order to learn the situated language, the work place culture, the gender constructions, the norms, and perspectives that are in use.
  • Seek patterns. Describe particular situations, positive and negative incidents, similarities, and issues in the material as characterizations. Verify your analysis; make sure others are able to follow the argumentation for each character.
  • Create personas. Add personal details to each character; give them a name, work experiences, and an attitude and values for the particular context. Give a hint of background, experiences, and so forth.
  • Create scenarios. Make the personas memorable by creating an engaging scenario. A scenario is a story in a certain place or activity in which the persona acts. Present specific issues as quotations from the research material.
  • Switch gender of the personas, without changing anything else in the persona description. Switch cultural background, ethnicity, age, religious belief, sexual orientation, and disability and re ect on what implicit norms come to life.
  • Present the personas within the work team and discuss how the gender and diversity aspects affect the understanding of the persona and what that says of the work place culture, norms, etc.

Personas is a collaborative practical tool for discussions and reflections. It is not meant to be a poster on a wall, as that might contradict the purpose of using the Persona method and instead contribute to gender and diversity stereotypes. Present the persona and all the data behind the description to all stakeholders and use the following questions to encourage discussion:

  • What did we learn?
  • What gender and diversity stereotyping can be acknowledged through switching the persona’s subject?
  • How can we act on our new understanding?


Gender app

x h xx persons

This is a tool for gender mainstreaming collaboratively created by two universities and some industry stakeholders, a gender mainstreaming checklist. The tool is designed to facilitate the integration of a gender and diversity perspective in projects and other activities. The app contains a checklist of practical gender mainstreaming in projects or other activities.


Gender observations

2 h 1-3 persons

Gender observations is a tool to explore and bring to life differences in how women and men act and react in everyday interactions.


Gender system analysis

2-40 h 1-5 persons

Despite a growing awareness of gender inequality there are still obsolete structures and practices within e.g. innovation systems. Acker for this reason proposed analysing gender systems in relation to structures, interactions, symbols, and identities.


Value exercises


Value exercise is a tool that encourages a discussion about your values, your team’s values, your organization’s values, and society’s values. The exercises can be a good way to begin a seminar or session, as an “ice breaker”, and as a way to stimulate new thinking. It can be varied in a number of ways, depending on issues, what statements are important to explore, and what prior knowledge and understanding participants have.


World café

3-4 h 6-xx persons

World café is a tool that invites stakeholders and other interested parties to explore questions and issues.


Critical Incident Technique

2-4 h 1-7 persons

Developed by Flanagan in 1954, the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) is originally a technique for collecting observations on human behaviour to identify a particular event that somehow has been critical, either positively or negatively. The technique can be used in interviews, in focus groups, or in workshop settings within a work group.



2-40 h 2-7 persons

Personas are fictional descriptions of a person whose goals, feelings, perceptions, experiences, etc. are relevant to the work group it is designed for. It is a commonly implemented design method to make the design team emphasize user experiences.


Action plan for change

X h X persons

An action plan helps us go from visions to reality. It describes the way your team will use its knowledge, strategies, and competences to meet the objective of a gender equality and diversity aware innovation system. An action plan consists of a number of short- and long-term actions.