Date of Award
Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)
International Development, Community and Environment
BE SERIOUS ABOUT DIVERSITY:
EXPLORING WHY INNOVATION COMMUNITIES ARE NOT DIVERSE
Innovators and entrepreneurs rely on support, resources and collaboration to succeed, but who can access these resources? Failure is a constant variable in the learning progression of an entrepreneur, but who can afford to fail? There exist inherent biases that prevent women and minority entrepreneurs from entering entrepreneurial pipelines, which has led to a general lack of diversity within innovation communities. This paper, unlike other bodies of research, does not explore why diversity (or the lack thereof) is an important issue to consider in innovation and entrepreneurship. On the contrary, this paper assumes diversity is important and necessary in innovation communities, and instead focuses on exploring why diversity programs are failing and why resources remain largely inaccessible. Exploring issues of diversity in innovation communities, unavoidably makes us question the very foundation of what entrepreneurship and innovation are. With qualitative data gathered from interviews with leaders of some of the organizations in the Boston area pioneering diversity efforts, this paper finds that diversity is ultimately not for everyone; diversity is considered risky; innovation communities are exclusionary in their nature, and accelerators and incubator programs mostly consider high-growth ventures as the only ventures worthy of entrepreneurialism - and of their support. For those committed to diversity, we understand diversity as structural change, power decentralization and long-term commitments.
Kathryn Madden, M.C.P, S.M.Arch. S. Chief Instructor
John Dobson, Assistant Professor
Carrasquel, Julia, "BE SERIOUS ABOUT DIVERSITY: EXPLORING WHY INNOVATION COMMUNITIES ARE NOT DIVERSE" (2017). International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE). 231.