“Women represent the largest growing market opportunity today. It’s not just about ticking a box on CSR, it’s a bigger business for everybody, if we can address this market appropriately.”

— Londa Schiebinger, Professor at Stanford University

Creating better user experiences for all users is the utmost outcome of including a female focus in your innovation processes. Microsoft applies this new strategy, eyeing a $18 trillion business potential in more explicitly targeting their tech products at women.

Peggy Johnson, the Executive VP for Business Development at Microsoft went straight to the point when she opened the Hack for Her summit in Seattle recently. She even put a number on this opportunity – according to Microsoft, women represent a §18 trillion market. Among the attendants from tech industry and startups were also three members of the design-people team, flown in by Microsoft to share their know-how and industry cases on female innovation gathered through design-people’s abundant work within this field. At the summit, design-people’s strategy director Klaus Schroeder presented findings from the Female Interaction research project and ways these insights have been applied by tech companies such as Danfoss and Bang & Olufsen.


We spent the rest of the week working closely with Microsoft’s Hack for Her team on upcoming activities, exchanging perspectives, experiences and best practice-scenarios. More is definitely to be done and said within the area of female centric innovation – as Londa Schiebinger, Professor at Stanford University, put it at the summit:

“Constantly retro-fitting for women isn’t the best way. Products and systems that incorporate the smartest aspects of gender can open new markets. Products that meet the needs of diverse user-groups enhance global competitiveness and sustainability.”


E3light, a startup specializing in environmentally friendly light sources, came to design-people with the Mylight, a LED flex strip activated by sensing motion – an intriguing new product that was selling poorly.

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The Danish company Danfoss is a global leader in indoor-climate solutions. Following our successful collaboration on award-winning product designs, Danfoss and design-people joined forces for a research collaboration about innovation culture and practices.

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Renowned for high-end craftsmanship and its collaboration with Ferrari, Vertu is a luxury mobile phone brand based in England.
But Hutch Hutchison, who heads up Vertu’s concept creation and design, was concerned that the exclusive brand was excluding a crucial group of clients.