The person of tomorrow
The idea for the topic of our Value Creator journey started with a Brainstorm of Iris and Arne, discussing their topics of interest that fulfilled the criteria for a VC journey. Amongst these was the idea of "gender concepts". Diverse gender concepts and - identities are becoming more and more frequent within society. However, individuals of gender diverse identities often still face exclusion from society, disagreement, and other barriers. This creates a complex issue to face. Iris is an advocate of genderqueer equity, and Arne liked the topic because it fulfilled the requirements of complexity and has an important network aspect. During a "VC- topic speed dating", Hannah joined the team, drawn to the complexity. As our program Global Project and Change Management is future orientated, we continued narrowing down the topic of gender to the point of asking ourselves: How will the current gender movements impact how people will see each other in the future?
Guiding our VC journey was the 4E-Model. We started to explore the concepts around gender. Building a knowledge foundation in terminology, history, movements, counter-movements, prominent figures. One of the biggest things we found out for gender is the importance to correctly differentiate (biological) sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender expression. Starting to map out all the aspects of gender, we saw that the complexity of the topic grew. The topic of gender is complex on so many levels: personal, societal, political, scientifical. Of which "society" is the aspect of most complexity. Media has been picking up and discussed the topic og gender diversity and we started hearing about gender identity, non-binary-, intersex-, and transgender identities more frequently. Unfortunately, the general public is not as open minded as our programs and thus Queer (people not heterosexual or cisgender) individuals experience a lot of discrimination because they are different.
Deciding to focus of the positive side of the debate we held interviews with members and representatives of queer networks. Uncertain in which direction we wanted to go with this “project” we resolved back to desk research instead of staying in frequent contact with the contacts we established. For developing the final product, this fell on our feet, and we are not satisfied with our own product as we know we could have achieved more. Regardless, in the meantime, frequent workshops within our academic semester helped us to navigate our journey and think less like project managers and more like value creators living with and within the network.
Moving towards the end of Value Creators we had to come up with a final value creation product. We struggled a lot finding a satisfying product, fortunately in the last workshop, Hannah had the inspiration for our value-product, based on our interview findings:
1. Most people lack knowledge about gender- and LGTBQI+ -related topics.
2. There is a lack of awareness towards Queer individuals and their problems.
3. There is a lack on inclusion of Queer individuals in society.
4. Queer communities need more connections within- and outside the communities.
To achieve these goals simultaneously, we evaluated a cooperation for year 1 - 2 projects management teams with an LGTBQI+ organization would be ideal. As this idea was not network-focused enough for the value-product, we expanded the scope from connecting an LGTBQI+ organization with WHC to connecting several network actors with the school. As previously mentioned, finding a network actor willing to cooperate with WHC was like a cold acquisition and thus had little to no success. One of our interviewees expressed interest in the idea. However, due to time concerns, we could not establish this connection in time. Therefore, we kept our idea and made a project proposal for WHC, so they could take on this project and look for an actor of gender studies and/ or the LGTBQI+ networks to partner with. We expect such connection to create more knowledge about Queer- related topics, more awareness, and more connectivity between inside- and outside the networks. Therefore, such connection would be valuable for the networks around gender. We empathized the interest in such connection from side of WHC students by creating a survey among 44 mainly year 2 and 3 students. The results revealed, that 79,5% of the responding students would be interested to highly interested in learning more about gender- and LGTBQI+ -related topics in their GPCM education.
Looking back on our journey, we would advise future Value Creators to start their networking process early enough, and allow as many opinions and insights, as possible. We would be pleased to see a connection between WHC and a gender- network actor happening in the future!
Connect with the team:
Iris de Man: email@example.com
Hannah Bollman: firstname.lastname@example.org