In the past, insufficient consideration of the gender perspective in research and development processes has led to products, services and measures that are usually designed from a male perspective and do not take into account women-specific usage needs. This often leads to an inadequate or even harmful user experience for women. In response, a large international research consortium, led by Stanford University and funded by the European Commission, has developed the concept of Gendered Innovations.

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel, Managing Director of the nexus Institute and Head of the Department of Work Education, Technology and Participation at the Institute for Vocational Education and Work Education at the Technical University of Berlin, his team is developing a short-term training programme for managers to promote “Gendered Innovations”. The project thus joins a list of internationally significant initiatives of the foundation.

Gendered Innovations uses methods of sex, gender and intersectionality analysis to create new knowledge in medicine, technology and information and communication technology (ICT). The concept is now receiving attention in academic discourse and is now supported by numerous case studies (e.g. Gender Bias in AI). So far, however, there is no fixed curriculum for teaching gendered innovations at universities or in online trainings for industry representatives.

The Executive Programme developed by the nexus Institute and the TU Berlin aims to close this gap. The programme is aimed at innovation managers, founders and start-ups, as well as research and development staff for companies, universities and research organisations. The course, which consists of seven modules, combines theoretical knowledge transfer with practical tips for implementation in one’s own organisation.

In the first four modules, participants learn about the theoretical background of the concept as well as methods for connecting it to their own organisational context. In the second component of the programme, participants develop their own project ideas and transfer their knowledge into practice. The course ends with a pitching session in which the participants present and discuss their ideas.

The programme also provides inspiration and background to promote the topic of Gendered Innovations in one’s own organisation. In addition to the training programme, the development of an interactive map for geocoded Gendered Innovations is planned for next year, in which companies can present relevant projects. The website developed especially for the programme provides basic information on the programme and the topic of Gendered Innovations. The course is offered in English.

Prof. Dr. Schraudner and Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer sit on the advisory board. Prof. Dr Schraudner heads the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation and the department “Gender and Diversity in Technology and Product Development” at Technische Universität Berlin, and has been on the board of acatech, the German Academy of Science and Engineering, since January 2018. Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer is Chair of the London-based non-profit organisation Portia Ltd, which was founded in 2001 by a group of women scientists at Imperial College London to promote understanding of gender issues in science and organisational practices. Pollitzer is also the founder of the Gender Summit.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel, Head of the Department of Work Education, Technology and Participation at the Institute for Vocational Education and Work Education at TU Berlin: “The gender perspective, like the diversity perspective, is an ‘eye opener’ for new innovative products and services! We want to convey this perspective in our Executive Programme.”

Visit the project website here.

Duration: 08/2021 – 06/2022
Client: Entain Foundation
Team: Prof. Dr. Hans Luidger Dienel (Project Management), Justine Kenzler, Sophie Wagner
Partners: Entain Foundation, TU-Berlin