Over the past few weeks, experts and leaders have wanted their readers to be inspired by women entrepreneurs and change makers, jointly celebrating the International Women’s Day. Through this transverse portrait of women disrupters, innovation discussions reminded a number of crucial human leadership skills that are able to inspire a common sense of purpose among diverse teams and engaging projects. This sounded like a perfect opening conversation through our regularly review of innovation values: why are we innovation?
Being a woman does not ease leadership over complex organizations and within disrupted ecosystems. To some extent, it makes it more difficult. This may have inspired women leaders to consider how they role model in developing human capabilities to overcome this intricate framework for change. They build connected communities to inspire change. They raise smart students able to cooperate in caring, encouraging teams and working environment. Moreover, they do so in the midst of an unstable digitalized business environment, seeking to build “a fairer world.”
They do so because they know the value of fearlessness, and therefore they dare.
Making smart moves
There are still signs of reluctance to change that affect the daily work of women, especially when pregnancy and child rising is involved. Clear efforts have been achieved in a variety of cultures and businesses, allowing more entrepreneurs and workers to access flexible working scheme to take care of their family. In parallel, it is also the experience of “first learners” that enables to pinpoint those efforts that remain to be attained, as well as the creativity needed to become a smartly ambitious mother.
“Too often we see that “part-time” becomes synonymous with “unambitious,” and flexible schedules preclude women from taking on more responsibility. That doesn’t have to be the case. Be creative about defining your role and contribution, take risks, and be prepared to be measured on output — not on hours worked. The benefits to your long-term career will be immense.”
Read more: “Women: Play the Long Game“, Lisa Unwin, Strategy and business
Being ambitious proves of tremendous help when deciding to make a move, and for instance, travel on one’s own, even being a woman. Some of those travelers then seek to inspire other smartly ambitious adventurers, promoting mutual support, mutual wills to share cultural diversity. As an example, you could read more about the “I travel alone” which intends to challenge the view that women can’t travel alone.
Find out more: “I travel alone”, World Packers
Experience sharing and common drivers for change indeed lead transverse disruptions which journalists report as part of a growing “civic tech” sector. In below French radio show, Giulia Fois introduces Darwin Camp, a 10,000 square meters ecosystem and co-working space close to Bordeaux, in France, where people learn and work for a “different life”. As she mentions:
“In total, 15,000 people come on a daily basis, because they belong to the forty associations or work for the 250 businesses located on site. Their common objectives: economic cooperation, energy transition, citizen alternatives.”
Ecouter l’émission: “Demain La Veille du 19 février 2017“, France Inter
Behind those social initiatives, women leaders and experts highlight personal and human behaviors which they consider as necessary to drive intelligent change. It is not only about having the idea and the network, is it also about caring and understanding differences to identify where individuals bring value, and how this value can be meaningful by helping others.
“To break down barriers, Cottone has focused on “understanding the culture and learning what the pain points are. Helping people with pain is a great way to break down silos,” she said.”
Read more: “This Chief Data Officer is breaking down silos one at a time“, Paul Gillin, Silicon Angle
Building smart communities
Because they have understood their personal and group values, and because they have found a fearless and smart ambition to follow, entire women communities engage in encouraging further women led initiatives and businesses to accelerate decrease of gender inequity. They share experience, knowledge and skills to inspire new visions of innovation and deliver their visions through local yet systemic problem-solving.
“SLA is a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams, reads its website. “With engaging online content and pan-African events, (the) vision is to become the #1 destination for smart and ambitious young women.””
Read more: “She Leads Africa boosts women in the business ecosystem“, Melissa Javan, Brand South Africa
On the education side, women also outline how it becomes critical to let students fully develop and meaningfully operate their personal talents. Not only does it shape a pathway for personal successes out of unique values, it also generates further diversity, further experience sharing, further shared common denominators. From caring to empowering, women communities define the emotional path to intelligent leadership.
“Representation also requires more than just showing up. Letting our students put their newfound knowledge to use in personally meaningful ways has been, in my experience, a way of empowering a diverse group of undergraduates.”
Read more: “You don’t need to be Superwoman to succeed in STEM“, AnnMarie Thomas, The Chronicle of Higher Education
There is no secret about how caring can be applied to the business world. Women entrepreneurs leading expanding businesses have made it a core component of their working environment. In their view, it is as easy as comforting and encouraging colleagues who need personal support, instead of seeking to compete and forget about personal links that bind teams together.
At Sporteluxe, we’ve created a supportive environment where we encourage women (and men) to lift each other up (rather than tearing each other down). It doesn’t take much. Just one smile, a pat on the back or letting someone know how well they’re doing can absolutely brighten someone’s day.
Read more: “Here’s What It’s Really Like to be a Female Startup Founder”, Bianca Cheah, Sporteluxe
Delivering systemic change
Seen from a more global perspective, it appears this connected and social community of women change makers contributes to prepare a new generation of leaders who will have to drive organizations at the heart of spreading digital disruptions. Because those will impact user experience as well as working environment, the human capabilities showcased by inspiring women leaders can help any change maker better connect innovation to identified and meaningful objectives.
“Businesses need to seize all opportunities of the digital (era), as a way to optimize customer experience, but also employees competences, work meaningfulness being a lever of individual engagement and global performance. “In both cases, it is about proposing better that previously shared solutions, to improve consumers’ life and the life of employees”, as concludes Dominique Lévy-Saragossi.”
Lire plus: “Comment la transformation digitale impacte la stratégie globale de l’entreprise“, IPSOS
Eventually, women have understood the value of speaking up and standing for justice as a central responsibility they hold to drive intelligent change. They have indeed outlined examples and skills through their own experience and the knowledge they have shared in communities. This is how they manage to reverse apparently locked situations: they actively participate to the making of a “fairer and more stable world”.
” Everywhere solutions are designed to build a fairer and more stable world, a world based on a solid and efficient economy, in which government are not serving individual interests, but actively working for the 99%.”
Lire plus: “Nous avons le talent, l’imagination et les compétences pour changer ce monde“, Winnie Byianyima, Le Monde
Our latest loop has identified an action that can be taken by communities driving change to partner with the digital crowd. The action derived from our latest “Why we are innovation” is displayed below.
Within their own knowledge communities, women entrepreneurs keep sharing experience to encourage meaningful leadership. This is how they consequently contribute to inspire intelligent change:
- How do women leaders build two-way conversations for change? They care and encourage each others through engaging communities driving local change with systemic benefits.
- Who are those women leaders? They are teachers, entrepreneurs, travelers, journalists and mothers seeking to role model and highlight leadership attitudes for intelligent change.
- Why do they use social platforms? They seek to raise new generations of leaders who will drive agile organizations in a digitally disrupted environment full of business opportunities.
- How do they share knowledge? They develop individual talents that bring community value and stress the importance of meaningfulness to engage workers.
- When do they drive change? They inspire change when they seek to lower social and gender inequities to build a “fairer and more stable world”.
- Where do they drive change? In businesses, universities, connected and global communities.