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The “Mother” of Invention

What do the following have in common? • Bulletproof vests • Fire escapes • Windshield wipers • Laser printers

The answer is that they were all invented by women, smart, imaginative women, not cautious observers on the sidelines. Of course there are many more inventions that were created by women, but these are not in the so called, “pink industries” or women’s product ghettos. Why are fashion or cosmetics or family focused inventions marginalized by using dismissive language to describe their category placement? These are multi-billion dollar industries and growing every day.

How many more good or even great ideas have been passed on before they’ve ever had a chance to see the light of day? Afraid to fail? Get it right the first time! Women are diagnosed with depression and anxiety twice as often as men. According to Harvard psychologist, Shelley Carson, “ If someone criticizes her work, a woman is more likely to walk away, tail between her legs, and sulk, while a man tends to be aggressive and fight back: ‘You don’t like that one? Here try this idea!’ Perhaps testosterone does play a part in this responsive behavior. She states further, “Women have been socialized to please, and when we don’t, we feel bad about ourselves.”

According to other sources, women take missteps more personally than men do. We tend to be “intropunitive,” blaming ourselves for failure, whereas men are more likely to attribute failure to circumstances and the actions of others. Women tend to ruminate more, replaying and magnifying the setback and thereby increasing the temptation to quit.

So, how do we get beyond abandoning an idea or innovation? How can we turn on the creativity machine and turn off the inner voice? How big a part does fear of criticism or failure have to do with your success? We regret the things we did not do, far more than the things we did. Begin with your own process:

• Notice what you are observing and maintain an idea book. • Brainstorm/discuss your idea/approach with a trusted group for feedback • Pivot and change your strategy as needed • Consider setbacks as learning lessons • Don’t be afraid…Be inspired!


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