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Open Access Reframing Innovation

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Beginning with how innovation has traditionally been characterized—what it is, what it looks like, who the innovators are, and what drives innovation—this paper conceptualizes the reframing of innovation with diversity at its core. Innovation is conceived, perceived, and driven in various ways at both individual and organizational levels. How we frame innovation impacts how innovation is carried out, who becomes innovators, and what the ultimate outcomes are. Traditionally, innovation is characterized as a product, process, or service that has an impact on society and represents an improvement. The typical drivers of innovation include access to technology, collaboration, and networks; identification and understanding of unmet needs; and market forces. As currently framed, the full potential of innovation and those who are innovators is not being reached. Women, and women of color in particular, represent an untapped source of talent needed to drive the innovation and entrepreneurship that will ensure national prosperity. Reframing innovation—by applying a lens of inclusion and inclusive innovation and recognizing frameworks that serve as inclusive drivers (diversity inclusion, belongingness, interdisciplinarity, collaboration, intersectionality, reframing problems, storytelling)—holds the key to unlocking and changing the face of innovation and entrepreneurship and to ensuring a better future.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2019

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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