The Audacity of Women in Innovation

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WINS2012 full video recording

The Audacity of Women in Innovation

The summit was wonderful for sharing knowledge and experiences in innovation. As an ambitious group of women, however, we decided to take the sharing a notch deeper and actually work together. In fact, the summit inspired some real action items amongst the attendees. We will be featuring these initiatives in the upcoming newsletters.

The breakouts that we called Audacious Challenge Forums, took on the big and bold challenges of our time in the areas of Economy, Education and Ecology. There was even room for miscellaneous topics, a forum for emerging challenges that didn’t fall under the three big E-themes. The challenges in these very fundamental areas of the society are not minor and tackling them is not a simple task. However, we were bold and trusted that there was enough brain power in the room that something actionable might be born.

The problem definition was not pre-determined; we didn’t say what is wrong with the economy, education or ecology. The groups took it on themselves to define the issues they decided to discuss. The ways the forums defined what they saw as problems or as ideal solutions determined the way they approached the matter. The facilitators were very skilled in getting to the heart of the matter in all groups. Sometimes the process of just framing the problem is more insightful than the solution itself. Important questions might arise: What are the problems and whose problems are they? Why should we solve them? What are the consequences of solving these problems? Who benefits? Who doesn’t?

Every group worked intensely and collaboratively under a tight two-hour timeframe. They organized themselves into working groups, discussed the issues and the process and came up with proposals and initiatives.

We asked the Forums to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the heart/the mission of the change we want to see?
  2. What is the technology or science needed for the change to take place?
  3. What is the envisioned outcome or the metric of this change?
  4. How do we lead this change/Who is going to be in the leadership of this change?

The forums produced some interesting outcomes:

Audacious Challenge Forum on Economy

The changes we want to see:

  1. Women’s buying power supports sustainable economy in concrete ways.
  2. Businesses’ social commitment becomes transparent.
  3. Integration of technology/science, leadership and social commitment in tangible ways.

The technology or science needed for these changes:

  1. Created a Twitter #PursePower to endorse sustainable commercial choices.
  2. Need an app with a database to feature the social commitment of companies.
  3. Want a series of forums to discuss these issues further.

The envisioned outcome or metric:

  1. The hashtag Pursepower becomes a leading social trend.
  2. There will be a reward for participating companies.
  3. There will be a balanced score card embracing the feminine principles.

The Leadership for these:

  1. Identify “sexy social influencers” who have a large following.
  2. Set up a set of state standards.
  3. Involve highly responsible businesses to lead the way.

Jean Brittingham of Smartgirlsway and Renata Kowalczyk of Coworking LLC will be hosting further discussions about the next steps on these points in November. Let us know if you want to be invited and involved by emailing us

Through this exercise it became apparent that we have incredible resources of wisdom and will to affect things for the better. Scott Berkun instructs potential innovators in his book The Myths of Innovation: “Forget innovation, focus on doing good.” I believe innovations follow when our focus is on getting good work done for the benefit of humanity.

More results from other Forums in the following newsletters. Stay tuned!

WINS2012 full video recording
WINS2012 full video recording

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