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What’s Stopping You From Pursuing Your Idea?

By Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky

I Asked a Room Full of Women: What’s Stopping You From Pursuing Your Idea?

Quirky launched #InventHer, an initiative dedicated to creating a more inclusive invention ecosystem. We started small, hosting a breakfast to have a conversation about the issue (women file only 8% of all patents in the US) as well as our program goals.

But rather than tell people what the initiative was going to do to, we wanted to hear from those on the frontlines of invention, and understand openly and honestly: What’s stopping you from inventing?

So, to a room full of women from across industries including media, marketing, technology, education, hospitality, and even Australian Rules Football, a room full of women with ideas, we asked:

What’s stopping you from pursuing your idea? What’s getting in the way of you taking that concept from out of your iNotes app and actually doing something with it?

Slowly, one woman stood up and shared her answer.

Followed by another, and then another, until the room was an outpouring of confessions. Here is a sample of what we heard:

“I don’t want to do it alone. I’d love a group of women, or a partner, to help me on this journey.”

“I just can’t get started. The first step seems impossible to take.”

“I need sincere feedback. No ass-kissing, is this a good idea or what?”

“It’s intimidating to think of all the skills I need across the spectrum of inventing.”

“Time. Work, kids, dogs, life. How can I find the time to invent?”

“Money. We know the stats, females don’t get funded.”

Do these answers feel familiar? They did to me, which I find both comforting and frustrating; comforting to know I’m not alone feeling like I’m the world’s worst confidence-lacking procrastinator who can’t seem to juggle it all, and frustrating to know that so many women like me are struggling with the same challenges that – let’s be honest – are not that hard to solve! We have a Mars rover people, come on!!

In fact, we solved one that very morning: not going at it alone. When that brave soul stood up and shared that she felt more comfortable creating surrounded by other women there was a collective nod throughout the room. And why wouldn’t there be? Inventing, founding, starting something is REALLY HARD. It’s even harder when it feels like “there’s no one else like me” going at it.

So for the next several months, we’ll be creating a program that solves some of these problems. Not all of them (not yet at least), but a handful that will help us push the needle just that much further to get more people who don’t see themselves as inventors to change that perspective.

  • We’re going to organize resources for funding and patenting.
  • We’re going to schedule group work sessions and skill-building workshops.
  • We’re going to tell you if your idea for hermit crab clothes might be absolute garbage.
  • We’ll even bring you a dog walker or babysitter if it means you’ll give that brilliant idea of yours the shot it deserves.

What stops you from inventing? What’s standing in your way? Tell me how you’d like to see #InventHer help create an invention ecosystem that makes you feel more confident in pursuing your ideas, and message me if you’d like to get involved with #InventHer.

Originally posted on Linkedin.

Women Won’t Hold As Many Patents as Men Until The Year 2092

That’s according to The Atlantic, which means “when we reach patent gender parity I’ll most likely be dead, or at least wearing a new “sleeve” Altered Carbon style, says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Less than 8% of all patents filed name a woman as the lead inventor.

81% of patents filed DON’T NAME A SINGLE WOMAN AT ALL.

If 30% of women hold STEM undergraduate degrees, and 24% hold STEM jobs (according to the US Dept of Commerce), and if we just consider how many original ideas are outside of STEM fields, why the hell are only 8% of patents coming from women??

My guesses are:

  1. Patents are expensive, and funding for female-led companies actually GOT WORSE in 2017. If the majority of funding is behind men, the majority of patents will be behind men.
  2. There aren’t enough women in STEM jobs at corporations which are filing patents on the regular. Even though studies have shown teams with females on or leading them boosts the bottom line, too many companies use the pathetic excuse that “we don’t see enough female candidates applying” to avoid taking real proactive steps in hiring women.
  3. Patents are confusing and time consuming, as is creating an original product or process to begin with, and without flexible work structures it can seem impossible for many women who are also managing motherhood to pursue them. Love what companies like Werk are doing in this space.

“Don’t worry, I’m not here to whine. I’m here to do something about it.

It’s been exactly 1 year since I assumed the role of President at global invention community Quirky and I am lucky enough to be in a position to steward real change,” says Waldhorn.

In a few weeks we’ll be announcing a major initiative to move the needle in 2018 on patents filed by female inventors. This will be more than a “movement,” we’re going to take action to get more patents filed with female inventors named on them.

What will it take? Awareness, education, and support to help play the long game. 3,000 patents filed with women named on them plays the short game and moves the needle one percent in 2018. Message us if:

If you are involved with Corporate Social Responsibility at any of the top 20 patent filing companies (see here).

If you work with any organization promoting females in STEM education or employment.

If you’re in IP law and need to fill your pro-bono hours with something worthwhile.

If you work for a major brand that supports Open Innovation.

If you believe this is as important and worthwhile as we do.

Lookout for news when Quirky officially launches our initiative in the coming weeks. “I refuse to be dead, cryogenically frozen, or suspended as AI before we reach gender parity in inventing,” says Waldhorn.

#InventHer

See the original article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rate-were-going-women-wont-hold-many-patents-men-until-gina-waldhorn/