Women in innovation

  • Heidi Yli-Ojanpera , Consultant at Market Gravity

  • 09.03.2016 10:15 am
  • undisclosed

2016 has started off with a big bang in the product innovation sector with the launch of new technology, gadgets and even robots disrupting the marketplace, But how do you get into a career in this fast-paced, challenging industry – especially as a woman? 

Many new gadgets, products and services are aimed the female market, and some clients specifically ask for female consultants on their team, especially as women as consumers have such strong spending power and decision-making capabilities. There are many innovations aimed particularly at women and there are certainly more to come so it’s important to keep a balance of women and men in senior positions. 

There’s some great female talent coming into the innovation and tech industry at graduate level and also managers, coming in from other types of consultancy companies. However, many of the more senior positions tend to be occupied by males as females either drop out of their careers or do not continue in this profession. It’s a shame that these talented women do not make it to the more senior positions but a lot can be done to support women and help them get to the top, as well as encouraging younger females to consider this sector for their career path.

Having more women in these senior positions will certainly draw in more women and inspire them to continue to pursue their careers so it’s important to attract and retain this talent.

Women can often look at a project from a different perspective than men and can be more flexible, inclusive and explorative when looking for solutions.

I’d strongly encourage girls to enter a career in innovation and product design as it’s exciting, fast-paced, allows you to be creative and methodical and brings a great sense of achievement when you launch a new product.

It would be interesting to see how opinions shift over the coming years, especially among younger generations, and the new national computing curriculum is certainly expected to bring excitement and enthusiasm to school children and young people.

We need better collaboration between businesses, schools and educators, and parents too, to encourage more diversity in workplaces and to quash some of the myths about stereotypes. It’s important to focus on the next generation to ensure a level playing field for their career aspirations.

I thoroughly enjoy working in the innovation industry – I love the creativity and energy required to visualise a project and working as a team to bring it to life. I also like inspiring people around me to be bold and creative and I act as an advisor for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and support women within Market Gravity and the wider innovation and consultancy industry.

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