Maybe it's standing in line for hours at the Indian consulate this morning that's compounding it, but I'm peeved.
I see that Yvonne's been invited to attend (not speak) at an innovation forum. Gee, the "voices of innovation" in a "world" innovation forum are 100% male and white. I'm not sure what obscure corner of the purported world they live in but it doesn't even begin to represent my own neighborhood where even I'm the minority: I can have dim sum and jasmine milk tea with pearls at just about any shop. At the local Starbucks I spot the students checking their email.
That 50% of the population isn't represented on stage is appalling in light of the fact that much innovation is totally missed in the early "fuzzy front end" phase of customer insight because we tend to only talk and glean insight from people just like ourselves.
I'm not simply talking gender either. Not only do you need diverse voices on an innovation forum, you need divergent voices (you can easily find token Hispanics or whatever ethnic minority you want that will validate your own point of view; the key is finding the mavericks, or the lunatic fringe as The Anatomy of Buzz authors call the innovators).
This is a good time to highlight two event organizers that do get it: Fortune Innovation Forum (a very rich, diverse blog; for instance check out interviews with Niti and Yvonne) and Corante's events (disclosure: I'm in the Corante Marketing Hub). And I know that John Winsor actively sought diverse innovators outside his buddy circle - he asked me for recommendations for interviewees - in his recent book on innovation: Spark! Be More Innovative Through Co-Creation.
In a similar vein, Susan Mernit's praises: "Ryan Blitstein's done a lovely job profiling Craig Newmark in SF Weekly" but criticizes the fact: "that every single person mentioned or quoted in it--except for Craig's unnamed girlfriend--is male."
Ryan comes to his own defense in Susan's comment stream: " I didn't call Chris Nolan (or Xeni or other [female] bloggers) because this wasn't a story about blogging -- it was about Craigslist and citizen journalism."
Alas this comment speaks volumes: Clearly, he has no idea what citizen journalism is.
I'm not even sure this particular issue is a diversity issue as much as the ever-looping amateur vs pros issue. It seems to go broader, wider. A man that's not a "professional" journalist that starts blogging in a journalistic fashion would just as likely be dismissed as merely tinkering with his nice little bloggy hobby too.
OK, I admit it maybe I'm peeved because my own mother calls me while I'm driving back from the consulate to reconsider why I have to take on this solo backpack journalism project and risk my life (that's her interpretation). A woman traveling entirely alone to all those bird-flu countries?!?
"There's plenty of ongoing coverage of the tsunami," she chimes.
Name one you read recently I counter. "Well, I saw that supermodel - what's her name - interviewed on TV. She said that things were progressing quite nicely or something like that."
Ah, I can see I have my work cut out for me.
Bonus: Tom Asacker's article "Clarity: Marketing's New Task". He breaks down the 'task' into two steps: Discover and Execute. Many of us blow it on one of these (or both). IMHO, discovery hinges on open-minded curiousity. Fav quote: "Note: Market research rarely reveals new insight into value creation."
p.s. Susan and BlogHer have started nice collection of female media voices in their comments and links. Other citj voices: Mary Lou Fulton (I'm not sure if she's still at the paper, but she's told me privately that classifying "citizen" journalists differently was belittling to their efforts) of Bakersfield's Northwest Voice (see also OJR piece) was an early pioneer of citizen journalism as an offshoot of a traditional paper.