Innovation by Design: The Case for Investing in Women Highlights the Positive Impact Women have on Multiple Measures of Business Performance and Competitiveness
AnitaB.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting, inspiring, and guiding women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative, released a new report today highlighting the advantages companies gain from including women on their teams. The report, Innovation by Design: The Case for Investing in Women, summarizes research findings and insights that clearly present the important benefits that result from increasing the proportion of women in business.
The Case for Investing in Women report details research findings over the past decade and highlights the advantages companies realize by improving the balance of women in the workforce in four key areas:
- Improved operational and financial performance;
- Increased innovation;
- Better problem solving and group performance, and;
- Enhanced company reputation.
Improving Operational and Financial Performance
The Case for Investing in Women draws upon numerous studies from leading organizations and academics that demonstrate how companies that place a priority on hiring women manifest higher organizational and financial performance. Several studies from Columbia University, McKinsey and Catalyst overwhelmingly conclude that businesses with more women in management deliver better business results.
Notably, a 2010 McKinsey global survey of a broad cross-section of business executives revealed that 72% of respondents believe there is a direct connection between a company’s gender diversity and its financial success. Organizations with more women in key roles are better equipped to create products and services that meet the needs of the broader market – a market in which women possess growing purchasing power around the globe.
“Presently, there is a wealth of data, based on sound research from credible sources, highlighting that more diversity and greater representation of women in the workforce is not just a ‘nice to have’, but a need to have in order to increase business performance and bolster a company’s reputation,” said Telle Whitney, president and CEO of AnitaB.org.
Inclusion: An Important Ingredient to Unlocking Innovation.
Research shows that women bring unique perspectives and approaches to the ideation process, often resulting in more innovative solutions to complex problems. In a 2008 study of 1,500 U.S. firms, researchers from the Columbia Business School found that female representation in top management improves financial performance for organizations where innovation is a key element of business strategy.
A 2007 report from The London Business School, Innovative Potential: Men and Women in Teams, explored the impact of the proportion of women in professional working teams engaged in knowledge-based work in three areas: knowledge transfer, experimentation and task performance. They concluded that the optimal gender representation on teams is 50:50. According to the report, when innovation was crucial, they suggested that companies construct workgroups with equal proportions of men and women.
“The clear advantages emanating from including women as equal contributors in the workforce can no longer be ignored by companies,” said Jeanne Hultquist, Director, Strategic Corporate Programs. “Research from a variety of sources clearly demonstrates that companies must attract an employee pool that brings together a variety of perspectives from different backgrounds in order to innovate and remain competitive.”
ABI’s Design by Innovation: The Case for Investing in Women references a broad range of recent studies conducted by McKinsey & Company, The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), Ernest & Young, Catalyst, The London Business School and extensive research from professors at the University of Maryland, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Illinois and Loyola University. The full report is available for download at anitab.org
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AnitaB.org connects, inspires, and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, our reach extends to more than 53 countries. We believe technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. As a social enterprise, we recognize women making positive contributions, and advise organizations on how to improve performance by building more inclusive teams. AnitaB.org partners include: Cisco, Google, HP, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Amazon, CA Technologies, Dell, eBay, Facebook, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Lockheed Martin, National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, NetApp, SAP, Symantec, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Broadcom, EMC, Neustar, Raytheon, Salesforce.com, VentureLoop, Xerox and Yahoo! AnitaB.org is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. For more information, visit anitab.org.
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