Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Gry A. Alsos, Ulla Hytti and Elisabet Ljunggren

Innovation is seen as one of the main engines of economic growth creating prosperous nations and enabling technological development within industries and sectors This Handbook contributes to the field of innovation by providing a wide range of studies from different analytical and methodological perspectives and from various regional and industry contexts in order to pave the way forward. The multidisciplinary contributors discuss topics such as gender and innovation in new and small businesses, and growth businesses; addressing innovation in different organizational contexts ranging from public sector health care to mining and forestry; researching gender in innovation policy.

Chapter 13: Visualizing gender – norm-critical design and innovation

Emma Börjesson, Anna Isaksson, Sara Ilstedt and Karin Ehrnberger

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


The aim of this chapter is to discuss how norm-critical design with a gender perspective can reveal norms and in that way contribute to innovation. In order to illustrate this, the chapter is centred on a specific empirical example – the development of the norm-critical design concept the Androchair. The Androchair is an examination chair for men, but with a design based on women’s experiences of the gynaecological examination chair. Actor–network theory is used to analyse how the Androchair as a material object can visualize hidden norms, and the authors argue that norm-critical design is an unexploited tool for revealing norms and creating discussion and innovation. Norm-critical design can be a powerful tool that demonstrates needs that would perhaps otherwise be hard to see or overlooked because of various priorities. Breaking down norms provides new perspectives and creates opportunities to think outside of existing solutions.

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