When leading innovation, does the male/female ratio count?

male female brainI’m not sure, though it’s likely. It’s a question I’ll be putting forward at the International Society for Professionals in Innovation (ISPIM.org) conference in Bilbao, Spain in a few days.

Here’s the story.
We developed a program called Passport to Innovation® several years ago.  Over time it instills an innovation mindset throughout an organization while delivering innovation for the business.
I’ll be presenting the results from one client, a media company PHD Canada, that are, understatedly, remarkable. They transitioned from being known as ‘the good hand’s people” – careful, cautious, fastidious with client resources to be recognized by their industry as the second most innovative media agency worldwide, as well as receiving many other awards all while keeping their attention-to-details capabilities.
Program
The PTI program’s approach is holistic. Like other programs, creative thinking principles, creative tools, innovation processes, and futures methods and techniques are taught and used.
What’s unique is the focus on people and how they feel; making change and risk more comfortable to engage in and experience are also part of the structured learning. New ideas and new decisions-thinking is bundled with new ideas and new decisions-feeling, overtly.
The Data
This award-winning agency is mostly populated by women, 70% at the senior levels and throughout the organization.
The Questions
Was the success of the program positively influenced by focus on affect, feeling emotion, the human spirit?  Would the same approach work in a more male-dominated environment?
I don’t know.  PTI is requires commitment by the client. It takes time, is incremental; it’s not a quick fix. It’s unlike any other program and has long-lasting influence to keep innovation going day-to-day.
Further Research
If you’d like to partner in research, to bring the program to your location so we can test our theory, together we’d be able to provide important data to the practice of innovation and deliver on innovation for your organization at the same time.
If you have research to share that might put another spin on understanding the findings, I’m certainly open to that too.
And if you wAlphabet vs. the Goddessant some resources on the difference on male/female thinking differences see The Alphabet vs. The Goddess by Leonard Shlain.  If you’ve got an hour, watch this video of him giving a lecture on the book. Truly mind blowing.
10 Big Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Brains lists these differences, among others: human relationships, left brain vs. both hemispheres, mathematical ability, reaction to stress, language, and emotions.
Micheal Gurian and Barbara Annis weave together brain science and gender studies to demonstrate how the male and female brain work differently and lead differently in Leadership and the Sexes (Wiley, 2008)LeadershipandSexes. They advocate for ‘gender intelligence’ and recommend strategies for managing, negotiating and supervising based on their work.
I truly wonder what the gender difference effect has on innovation, how it is led, taught, practiced, adopted and understood.
Your thoughts?

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