Diversity in technology: Finding new ways to solve wicked problems

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Lærke Højgaard Christiansen


Technical University of Denmark


DKK 4,322,120




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


The project explores how diversity in teams and organizations influences their ability to create social innovation: which institutionalized barriers exist within the technology field, and how actors within this field might work to change established structures to enable a greater use of diverse talent. In terms of diversity, the focus will be on gender and ethnicity specifically. The project will provide an enhanced understanding of the complex mechanisms at play, while also providing insights into how the Danish technology field may become more diverse and equipped to tackle 'wicked problems' in the years to come.


'Wicked problems', such as climate change, the pandemic, and inequality, are global challenges with a broad effect on societies. Finding solutions requires new ways of thinking through the inclusion of all (diverse) talent. According to United Nations, innovative technology is key to climate action. Yet in the technology field, there is a noticeable lack of diversity. This is a paradox. While current research show that diversity is important for innovation, this line of work is less clear on exactly how the socio-economic structures in place might be challenged. Consequently, this research project will explore how actors within the field work purposefully and reflectively to construct changes in their immediate context, as well as within the field more broadly.


The research project is centered on two key areas of the technology field in Denmark: education and the start-up environment. First, education plays a central role in the standardization and spread of practice. Therefore, sub-project A focuses on engineering education at DTU while comparing more and less diverse teams of students, their work processes and output. Second, change and innovation are often initiated by organizations on the periphery, that are less constrained by established structures. Hence, sub-project B will focus on the technology start-up environment interviewing founders, managers, and investors.

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