The “innovation takes courage” message here is overshadowed a bit by my takeaway from the story that for some people, innovation first requires unnecessarily expending a huge amount of energy dealing with sexism and racism in the workplace…
My takeaway’s a little different. Courage is needed, yes, but also an open-mindedness to new ideas and ways of thinking. A scientist seeing a black woman walk in and immediately assuming that she’s a secretary without even allowing her to introduce herself is a bad sign towards open-mindedness and new ways of thinking.
I’m thinking of the scientist who is a black woman, where her attempts to innovate are being constantly side-tracked by having to deal with sexism and racism before she can do anything. It’s fucking exhausting.
It IS exhausting, and I’ve only had to deal with being a woman who is white. When you have to constantly reinforce your qualifications and reinsert yourself into conversations that should include you…it sucks. In the beginning I tried so hard to be tactful (and to be fair, fragile egos demanded it), but as I’ve aged I’ve stopped giving so much of a crap about hurt feelings and just barge in. But it really wears you down, and sometimes its easier to just sidestep stuff than to keep pushing to be included.
I would suggest Hidden Figures as further reading material, having read it myself for the first time recently.
To implement innovation may be an act of courage. To create and to innovate should be an everyday experience, from the largest idea to the minutia of loosening a rusty bolt.
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