An expert in entrepreneurship argues that greater diversity is the key to corporate creativity.

When Riitta Katila looks at old photos or movies about the space program of the 1960s, she sees one common thread among the people depicted there — homogeneity.

The engineers and technicians who first put humans on the moon were, almost without exception, white and male.

While society has come a long way in the decades since, Katila, who is an expert in technology strategy and organizational learning, says there’s still a long way to go. She notes that companies need innovation not only to reach the top, but to stay there. And now more than ever, innovative companies should be hiring, promoting, and listening to a broader range of voices.

The good news is that innovation can be taught. It’s like a recipe, says Katila, who encourages entrepreneurs — even those who have already built successful companies — to seek out mentors who can help them navigate the future. More important, those same entrepreneurs need to proactively identify mentors who can empower their team members to think like innovators too, as Katila tells Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast, hosted by bioengineer Russ Altman. You can listen and subscribe here.

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Companies spend millions on antibias training each year. The goal is to create workforces that are more inclusive, and thereby more innovative and more effective. Studies show that well-managed diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones and are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and are better at making decisions and solving problems. But research also shows that bias prevention programs rarely deliver. And some companies don’t invest in them at all. So how can you, as an individual leader, make sure your team is including and making the most of diverse voices? Can one person fix what an entire organization can’t?

Although bias itself is devilishly hard to eliminate, it is not as difficult to interrupt. In the decades we’ve spent researching and advising people on how to build and manage diverse work groups, we’ve identified ways that managers can counter bias without spending a lot of time—or political capital.

The first step is to understand the four distinct ways bias plays out in everyday work interactions: (1) Prove it again: Some groups have to prove themselves more than others do. (2) Tightrope: A narrower range of behaviors is accepted from some groups than from others. (3) Maternal wall: Women with children see their commitment and competence questioned or face disapproval for being too career focused. (4) Tug-of-war: Disadvantaged groups find themselves pitted against one another because of differing strategies for assimilating—or refusing to do so.

The second step is to recognize when and where these forms of bias arise day-to-day. In the absence of an organizational directive, it’s easy to let them go unaddressed. That’s a mistake. You can’t be a great manager without becoming a bias interrupter. Here’s how to do it.


Behavioral insights from employee feedback can help organizations identify and drive new, data-informed priorities.

Pervading nearly every facet of our personal and professional lives, the impact of COVID-19 is made worse by the fact that there is no playbook for companies and their leaders to follow, including leaders who have successfully navigated quick and crashing waters in the past. Seemingly overnight, employers had to direct their workforces to work remotely as governments imposed widespread lockdowns. […]

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Authors: Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio

Originally published by MIT Sloan Management Review

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There is a parable in the Bible called “The Parable of the Sower”. The parable describes a “sower”, who casts seeds into various places. Some take root and others don’t. What causes some to flourish while others fail to grow is not the seeds themselves, but the ground upon which they fall. […]

Full article available here.

Authors: Deb Liu

Published by Substack

Women remain woefully under-represented among IP-owning inventors. Facebook and 3M provide exclusive insight into what they are doing to boost female innovation – strategies from which other companies could benefit.

Authors: Suzanne Harrison, Charu Kurani, Jeremiah Chan and Sandra Nowak

Originally published in IAM Magazine – link to the article on IAM

Lenovo’s IP team is conducting a data-driven deep-dive into inventorship as part of the company’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) focus. It’s not just the right thing to do, IP head John Mulgrew says — it will also help bolster the quality of the company’s portfolio.

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Authors: Jacob Schindler

Originally published on IAM Media.

Open source dominates the software industry and, by its very nature, appears to be at odds with IP protection. As open source packages continue to grow in popularity, in-house counsel should be aware of the pitfalls of their use and the complex IP landscape.

Authors: Michael Moore, Judy Shie, Joe Kucera, Tarisa Wain and Ron Karr

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Originally published in IAM Magazine 93.

Stakeholders across the IP community are keen to increase diversity in their ranks but, as Suzanne Harrison and Erik Oliver explain, even the most sophisticated companies face a challenge in building a full picture of precisely who is participating in the patenting process

Authors: Suzanne Harrison, Erik Oliver

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