Today, I had a chance to attend a Girls Innovate Live Pitch event organized by the Girls Innovate non-profit organization and supported by a 'village' of mentors, sponsors, parents etc. Lots of goodwill, willingness to help and community support to assist today's school age girls (ages 12 to 17) understand and harness the opportunities around computer science and entrepreneurship in general. Not to mention the soft skills of presenting, pitching and support an idea or point of view to a supportive but critical (from a learning standpoint) judging panel.
Ten pitches were delivered today, with counsel following from Christy Remey Chin, Andrea Lo, Julie Won and other pitch coaches. I looked for trends to understand how this Generation Z demographic cohort thinks about the opportunities and challenges ahead of them. What was underlying their business ideas? What guiding factors influence their decision making?
The ten pitches were roughly in four categories. One, Productivity solutions. It was clear that these school age young women were conscious of the time-pressed nature of their lives from school, play and other interests. In a good portion of the pitches, solutions were presented in the form of calendaring solutions, study guides, and other experiences that would make them more productive and efficient. Two, digital experiences that bridged the offline world with the online world. Here, homework assignment tools for teachers, personalized deals/offers, re-imagining medical facilities decor were some of the solutions that would make today's paper, brick & mortar or partially digital solutions into new and more efficient digital experiences. Three, specialized Q & A solutions that were specific to girls and supported by mentors and peers. Four, new commerce opportunities. Here, the ideas included creative ideas to fill gaps in coffee shop offerings (look out, Starbucks and Peets) and apparel commerce.
Some guiding factors that influence their thinking include Collaborative Consumption. This demographic group appears to have embraced and will carry forward the notions of the shared economy and shared ownership. Social Responsibility - Green considerations, special needs, combating negative digital influences like cyber-bullying were some of the underlying factors in the design and development of their ideas and solutions. Social experiences - Learning from peers, sharing knowledge with peers, tapping into mentors were just some of the underlying social considerations in how they approached solutions. There's an App for that! Apps in the digital marketplaces of today's leading mobile operating systems are the starting point to how they address solving their problems. Well positioned for the evolutions in app stores for wearables and other future areas.