Are you interested in norm critical innovation? In the spring of 2014 Vinnova, Sweden's Innovation Agency, started a blog about Gender Lab, a development effort aimed at developing methods for integrating norm-critical perspectives in the innovation process. Here is the first post explaining how and why they did it.
Welcome to the Diversity Lab Blog
We start March 8, on the International Women’s Day, to publicize our call Diversity Lab – norm critical innovation. This started in the spring of 2014 and has had two calls so far. With the help of the blog, we want to convey our intentions with effort and experience and inspiring example.
Innovations create benefit and value, both for society and individuals. The same applies to gender equality and diversity.
In Sweden we rank high on both the innovation index and Equality Index. If we combine both of these areas, we can contribute to sustainable development. This is precisely what we want to do through the Diversity Lab. In the Diversity Lab we support projects that want to test /develop norm critical methods or approaches to generate innovations.
We firstly developed the Gender Lab, a development effort aimed at developing methods for integrating norm-critical perspectives in the innovation process. The Gender Lab was led by four researchers within the field of norm critical design; Karin Ehrnberger, Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, Marcus Jahnke and Mariana Alves, who coached six businesses in their efforts to develop norm-critical innovations by the methods.
One of the projects in the Gender lab focused on gender differences regarding waiting times in the emergency department at Karolinska Hospital in cooperation with the design firm Veryday. The differences in waiting times were analyzed from a norm-critical perspective and resulted in an innovative and interactive reception guide to better meet women’s and men’s different needs and behaviors in the emergency department. At the same time, this reduced the nursing staff workload and illustrates opportunities for better ensuring equal treatment and care increase.
The Gender lab resulted in a methodological material that is in production, and that will be distributed to those who want to try to integrate a gender / norm critical perspective in the innovation process.
The basic premise is that a norm critical perspective related to gender equality and diversity includes a critical analysis of the prevailing norms. The critical analysis has been developed and tested in recent decades both in the context of gender studies and the more practiceoriented assignment of gender mainstreaming. Thus, there is today a structured and methodical process of norm-critical analyzes that can be used to support the innovation process, increase the capacity for innovation, while contributing to greater gender equality and diversity.