10th February 2017

Are men more innovative than women?

The answer is no.

Commonly, people associate innovation with the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. However innovation can take many forms and we must not pigeon hole ourselves into thinking that these public figures of entrepreneurship, mean that men are the more innovative sex.

What about Margaret Thatcher? What about Anita Roddick? What about the 88% of female primary school teachers and 62% of female secondary school teachers who are generating innovative lessons for our leaders of tomorrow? Are men more innovative than women? The answer is no. The definition of innovation is so broad, that neither sex can claim victory to it.

On our own public ideation platform (7billionideas.com), men have contributed double the amount of ideas that women, however, this isn’t an altogether a surprising statistic. From our experience, men are more vocal. They share ideas quicker than women do. They might even prefer quantity over quality.  If innovation was defined as – Who generates more ideas? On the evidence we have, this would state that men are clearly more innovative. However, as we pointed out, innovation is not and should not be defined like this. It does have a very broad definition.

Let’s look an idea which has changed the way we communicate – Facebook. Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg is accredited with the origins of the idea behind facebook, however, there is one lady in the background who is instrumental in making Facebook the giant it is today – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. After meeting Zuckerberg in 2007 and spending some time together at the World Economic Forum in January 2008, she soon left Google for Facebook. She carved their strategy to focus on profit for the first time and  Sandberg now oversees the firm’s business operations including Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Human Resources, Public Policy and Communications. Arguably, she is the CEO of Facebook. Arguably she is more innovative than Zuckerberg himself.

This week Edwina Dunn (the creator of the Tesco Clubcard) launched ‘The Female Lead’ – An initiative to create more visible female remodels. She quoted at the launch ‘You can’t be, what you can’t see’ – and this is exactly the problem when discussing innovation. The names at the start of this blog are the names which spring to people’s minds and it’s all of our duty to make sure those women who’ve been equally (or more) innovative than men are thrown in front of us, so we can see them and the next generation of females can be like them!

Are men more innovative than women? The answer is no. We must not brush off the fact that innovation can take many forms. We must not ignore that innovation isn’t just about idea generation. We must not be oblivious to the fact that innovation is not just about the quantity of ideas. Neither sex can take victory in the debate of innovation but can continue to look for ways to contribute to the global search for innovative ideas,  innovative business and more innovative ways to live our everyday lives.

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