Innovation is female
It was spread all over the German capital on posters and on outdoor placards: Innovation ist weiblich, Innovation is female!
The picture on the placard was a crowd of some hundred women engineers who work at Volkswagen. The national car manufacturer has started a campaign to recruit more female technicians. Why? It is not just a matter of being politically correct to appeal to female consumers. In almost all technological innovations within the company female engineers have played an important role despite the fact they are a small minority in the technical departments.
It all has to do with the power of diversity. In bigger companies it is widely accepted that people of different backgrounds working together on a common challenge and sharing opinions produce more creative solutions. Out of the box thinking needs a range of ideas. Gender diversity also accelerates innovation.
Be especially aware if your company is operating in the technology field. Men tend to design for themselves when there are no opposing proposals from female colleagues. This is a missed opportunity since women are a better reference because they are ruthless consumers. When a gadget or item of technology goes wrong, men feel the need to ‘make’ it work – while women dump it in the garage or straight into the trash. Having women as targeted clients means lifting the bar higher; particularly with regard to ease of use and other real benefits. The results are better products for all. At Volkswagen they have got that message loud and clear.
How have you leveraged the diversity of your employees?