Women use products differently than men, require other services, and ask different questions of science and politics. Their missing gender perspective is evident in the many products, services, and measures that are generally designed from a male perspective and do not consider the specific needs of women. An executive training program for managers, developed by TU Berlin, the Entain Foundation, and the nexus Institute, aims to close this gap and facilitate the integration of the concept of Gendered Innovations into science and industry. The project is led by the Chair of Work, Technology and Participation at TU Berlin’s Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies under the direction of Professor Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel.
"Most products and services are designed from a male perspective based on male experiences. This frequently leads to insufficient or even harmful user experiences for women and girls," explains Dienel, who is also managing director of the nexus Institute, which conducts application-oriented, practical research projects, particularly in the area of citizen science. "Our aim is to sensitize managers to this through our executive program." The program was created on the basis of the Gendered Innovations concept, which was initiated and developed at Stanford University in 2009 by an international expert group and also funded by the European Commission. The concept is now garnering considerable attention in academic discourse, as evidenced by various case studies. "Until now there hasn't been a defined curriculum for teaching the concept of Gendered Innovations to universities or in online trainings for industry representatives," continues Dienel. "We would like to bridge this gap by providing others with the skills needed to adopt a gendered or diversity perspective, as these are essential for creating new innovative products and services.
Gendered Innovations develops gender-sensitive and practical methods encouraging researchers and technology developers in engineering and the natural sciences to be more objective and creative in their research and development. The concept uses methods from gender and intersectionality analysis to create new knowledge in medicine, technology, and information and communication technology (ICT).
The Executive Program developed by TU Berlin and the nexus Institute is aimed at innovation managers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as those working in research and development in companies, universities, and research organizations. The course comprises seven modules combining knowledge transfer with practical tips for applying this knowledge in participants' own organizations.
During the first four modules, participants learn the theoretical foundation of the concept as well as methods to integrate it into their own organizational context. In a second component they develop their own project ideas and transfer their knowledge to practice. The course, offering seven modules all in all, ends with a pitching session where participants present and discuss their ideas. It also offers inspiration and helpful information to raise awareness of the topic in other organizations. In addition to the further training program, the project partners plan to develop an interactive map for geocoded gendered innovations where companies can share their relevant projects. A website created for the program provides basic information about the program as well as the topic of Gendered Innovations. The course is offered in English and is free for the first year, after which a fee will be charged.
Among the members of the scientific advisory council are Professor Martina Schraudner and Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer. Martina Schraudner heads TU Berlin's Chair of Gender and Diversity in Technology and Product Development as well as the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation. She is also a board member at acatech, Germany's National Academy of Science and Engineering. Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer is chair of the non-profit organization Portia Ltd at Imperial College London, which works to improve understanding of gender-specific questions in science and organizational practices. She is founder of the Gender Summit, a platform for representatives from science and politics to engage in dialog about gender topics.
The Entain Foundation was founded in 2019, among other things, to promote responsible gambling, sports integrity, and projects with a local impact. As part of its sustainability and growth strategy, the Entain Foundation is supporting several charitable projects, including those promoting diversity in the technology sector, with 100 million pounds over five years. An important ambassador of the Entain Foundation is former world-class swimmer Franziska van Almsick. More information about the Entain Foundation: https://entaingroup.de
More about the TU Berlin Chair of Work Technology and Participation, nexus Institute, and the Gendered Innovations Executive Program: