What's Ahead

Gender Diversity and Innovation

Tony Thomas, Editor-in-Chief, The Way Ahead

How many of you have thought about the value add of gender diversity to innovation, or have thought about the phrases “gender diversity” and “innovation” in the same context?

Diversity in the workplace and a “genderless” environment are areas that companies are looking into. Not simply because they are nice buzz words to have but for the fact that there is untapped potential in having a diverse workforce working together for the greater benefit of the industry. The shades of differing perspectives that are brought into the business mix by gender diversity just makes it an imperative.

As innovation tops the strategic agenda of companies across the world, people—diverse in gender, ready for action, and working synergistically in teams—form the core that would lead to the realization of this strategy.

A recent in-depth survey and analysis by Lehman Brothers Center for Women in Business and the London Business School substantiate the impact of gender diversity on innovation. Some of the interesting findings from their survey and analysis are:

A decade ago we were talking about gender diversity and now we have reached the point where we have set ourselves targets on the numbers we want to achieve. But just numbers won’t suffice—we need to move on to the next level. In some cases this needs to be backed up with training on including and accepting women in a business environment. Professional attitudes do not depend on gender, while in the early stages personal and social behaviors may need to be adjusted to allow for more diversity. This concerns not only men but women too.

In this issue of TWA, we have tried to cover different profiles of women in the energy industry, who have made it successful on their own, what worked for them and what concerns them. We hope this offers insight on the issue of gender diversity.

Like all things in life, change is an important agent to bring about innovation. After 4 years of being actively involved in TWA, this issue marks my last as Editor-in-Chief. I am grateful to all who supported and contributed to TWA during my tenure. This is just the start of exciting times ahead for TWA!