Women Innovators: Challenges and Opportunities
Management & Human Resources
Speaker: Mengzi JIN
Singapore Management University
HEC Campus Jouy - En-Josas - Buil. S - Room S211
Innovation typically involves generating multiple novel ideas and selecting the most promising one for implementation. In this research, I examine how gender influences idea selection during the innovation process. I theorize that although women are equally capable as men in generating highly novel ideas, women and men differ in “novelty avoidance” during idea selection - the extent to which individuals refrain from pursuing the most novel ideas they have generated. In a laboratory study where students were instructed to make creative short-films for the university, I found support of the hypothesis. In a second laboratory study where students were instructed to make creative photo collages for the university, I found that the gendered effect is moderated by the presence of women in judging panels. Specifically, women’s novelty avoidance tendency is mitigated when there are more women appeared in the judging panel. In the third study conducted on a creative crowdsourcing platform featuring a sample of freelancers, I replicated the gender difference in novelty avoidance and found that fear of social backlash from demonstrating high creativity explains women’s novelty avoidance tendency. Overall, my work advances current understanding of the challenges and opportunities that women innovators face, thereby helping to close the gender gap in innovation and entrepreneurship.