The signatories of CALIPER Charter embrace a critical view of innovation challenges, established norms and mainstream interpretations while addressing power imbalances. Innovation practices are evolving from closed, linear, and tech-driven approaches to more open, interdisciplinary, and culture-based models.

This shift prioritises systemic, co-created innovation. It values not only technology transfer projects and industry-funded research, but also emphasises science communication and citizen science as crucial areas for academic and research organisations to invest in for strategic positioning.

Therefore, the CALIPER Charter believes in the principles highlighted below.

Principles and values

Changes and new paradigms in innovation processes need to be steered and monitored to make sure that they do not reproduce or exacerbate existing gender and intersected inequalities.  On the contrary, it is important to mainstream an inclusive gender perspective in open innovation and co-creative dynamics so as to promote inclusiveness and equity of research and innovation processes and ecosystems

There is indeed an “innovation case” for inclusive gender equality in the sense that this can be a lever for increasing the excellence and quality of innovation, but there is also a need for going deeper and critically deconstructing and rethinking innovation narratives, norms and practices.

Gender studies have shed light on the inherent bias in traditional definitions of innovation, which tend to revolve around male-centric subjects and values. This bias has persisted, due to the historical association of innovation mostly with technology, infrastructure and tangible products, leaving aside innovation in social/welfare/service-related domains. Given the persistent gender segregation in STEM disciplines, it is not surprising that the perception of innovation and innovators often carries masculine traits. To address this issue, we advocate for a broader understanding of innovation, considering the social economy, welfare, and creative industries as essential drivers of innovation. In fact, these sectors tend to have a higher representation of employed women, and the ways they operate are being radically transformed by digital technologies as well, not always taking into account and valuing their needs and perspectives.

The prevailing definitions of innovation often carry an implicit bias towards exceptional, groundbreaking innovations. However, it’s essential to recognise that innovation can also emerge gradually from everyday practices. It does not always require inventing something entirely new, it is not limited to technology alone; it often stems from everyday activities and adaptations, while tech and social innovations can leverage each other. To foster a more diverse and equitable innovation landscape, multiple voices, needs and perspectives must be heard and engaged in co-creating solutions:  civil society representatives, actors from the social economy sectors, representatives from women and minorities can be considered as ecosystem stakeholders.

Commitment to action

In respect to the above, the CALIPER Charter signatories are willing to:

  1. Actively work to ensure that innovation processes do not perpetuate gender and other intersected inequalities, and actively promote inclusive gender perspectives in open innovation, participatory and co-creative dynamics.
  2. Encourage critical examination of innovation narratives and practices, particularly within one’s research, project design and/or institutional or science communication work.
  3. Support research and initiatives that challenge traditional definitions of innovation, to be more inclusive and reflective of diverse perspectives and values, and that embrace a more comprehensive understanding of innovation that extends beyond technology and tangible products to encompass the social economy, welfare, and creative industries.
  4. Integrate an intersectionally inclusive gender dimension into scientific research content and methods, when relevant, as well as into product and service design, using good practices and tools such as those devised within transnational projects such as Gendered Innovations.
  5. Encourage collaboration and synergy between social and tech innovations, recognising that they can complement each other and lead to more diverse and equitable innovation outcomes.
  6. Adopt a STE(A)M approach when sparking the interest of younger generations in Science and Technology, so as to highlight creative and interdisciplinary interconnections between STEM, the Arts and Social Science and Humanities
  7. Invite and engage research and innovation ecosystems’ organisations, networks and individuals that represent civil society, women and minority groups, whenever relevant. When doing so, take into account existing power imbalances that might affect participation (less availability in terms of time and resources) and take adequate measures to ensure support.
  8. Value gender and intersectionality expertise and knowledge, and promote its exchange and transfer into projects and initiatives (including via training and capacity building).