Ada’s List at Innovation Stories 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to speak about Ada’s List at the Innovation Stories conference by the lovely Nadya Powell.

Ada’s List has been a really interesting journey for us 4 co-founders over the past 1 year and 8 months or so, but we haven’t really had the time to sit and digest what it means and where we should go next. This presentation provided me the opportunity to do a bit of a retrospective of our activity to date, and came at a time when the co-founders have started asking ourselves questions about what we want going ahead (more on that hopefully in the not-too-distant future).

I started the talk by talking about social movements, and how by virtue of being a community that works for change through collective action, Ada’s List is a social movement in itself. It came in at what I think was the right time – the women in tech discussion had just about started increasing in noise around 2013, and now it is a part of even mainstream media.

I mentioned MIT’s Building 20 and the way they collaborated across disciplines to create interesting work, which happens a lot with Ada’s List, being a group of people with roughly common interests but different backgrounds and expertise.

By dint of both circumstance and intent, we’ve spearheaded some thought-provoking debates around the workplace and work culture, government policy around women and technology and parenthood in the modern workplace, through the events we’ve organised. Our survey around the political leanings of our members in the run-up to the UK’s General Election this year was also a big project for us.

We’re going nowhere, and intend to go far with what Ada’s List calls Change at Scale: changing structures, political process, work culture…by doing what we do for women in tech, we want to change things for everyone.

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