Tech innovation and inspiration from around the globe, this is Technovation!

A global parade of flags waving proudly, young changemakers taking the stage, and app ideas that will change our world. This is the global Technovation final: six teams of young women from across the world, aged 10-18, pitching their app solutions to take on some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces. Words won’t be able to properly capture the events and experiences of the evening, but we will try!

It is heartbreaking to see that we have common challenges concerning young people regardless of geographical borders, such as domestic violence, mental illness and environmental sustainability. But, these young women are taking on some of these biggest challenges that we have created by our past actions and inactions, and they have developed technologies that will change our future.

 What are these big challenges and ideas on the world stage tonight? A donation platform to help send kids to school in Nigeria, preserving the Cambodian cultural heritage of Khmer poetry through an education portal, connecting children with social anxiety to support and help, pairing social work interns with non-profit organisations in underserved communities in India, creating a virtual community in Bolivia for reuse and recycling of what might be trash to you but treasure to another, and detecting opioid addiction using image processing techniques in collaboration with leading US universities and medical research institutes. Mind-blowingly wow, right?? But this is just the junior finalists aged 10-14!

What are the seniors up to? The CoCo team from Kazakhstan shared with us how to live eco-friendly lifestyles through a 3D mobile game with augmented reality, D3C0ders from Albania are helping to connect women facing domestic violence to help, support and employment opportunities, When&Where is a emergency response app to keep women safe in Spain, using a powerful metaphor of drops of water and a ‘glass of blue feelings’ to help prevent youth suicide in Brazil, applying machine learning to identify noxious and invasive weeds affecting farmers in California, and connecting children at orphanages to seniors to aged care homes for improving inter-generational social and mental well-being in India.

So, who are the winners of the Technovation competition this year? We don’t at all envy the judges in having to choose a winner and runner up in each division! As the judges deliberate, we hear from Justine Sass, UNESCO Chief of the Section of Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality, who has flown all the way from Paris to share with us the critical role the gender equity plays in global innovation, change and leadership – and the need for STEM education as part of girls and women’s empowerment. Gender equality affects us all, and we all play a part in this change. Very much yes indeed, and our Tech Girls team reflects on who we should be reaching, but haven’t yet?

Judging decisions are made, and the Indian and Cambodian teams take 1st and 2nd in the junior division, with Albania and the US taking the 1st and 2nd awards for the senior division. Congratulations and cheers to all the teams! Our Tech Girls Superheroes mingle and chat to their competition peers around the world, sharing ideas and inspiration. In reality, all of the teams participating globally are winners by bringing about local change in their communities with global impact – putting into action the saying of ‘think global, act local’! We can’t wait to see what pathways these young women will take in the future, but they will no doubt they’ll be back on world stages again soon. This is just the start, and it does make us think back to what we were doing when we were in school… how what amazing role models these young women will be when they join their peers back home. Our future looks very bright indeed!

Official Technovation website announcement

“There is a moment each morning that defines the rest of your day”

Empathise. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test. What better place to dive into design thinking than in Silicon Valley, where it all started at the Stanford! Thanks to Nutanix for hosting our visit and facilitating a fun design thinking workshop – in two hours our teams came up with four innovations to help improve the start of a team member’s day (their target user): Smart Series, Sqeeze, HideyHoles and SpideyBot, and Belaska. What awesome product names, we definitely have innovators and entrepreneurs in the room! Waking up and getting ready in time to kickstart your day for school or work was the common challenge for all of our target users – how might you improve the start of your day? What small changes can you make?

Speaking of the power of small changes: “Knock knock. Who’s there? The consequences of your past decisions!” Oh, yep, hmmm…! There is a James Clear leadership seminar at Nutanix, would we like to join??? OMG. YESSSSS. What an opportunity! Thank you Michele from Nutanix for making this happen! Atomic Habits is the New York Times bestseller book from James, about how small changes can bring about big results and how to build good habits and break bad ones. The cost of our bad habits is in the future, so what can we do now?

So many notes and learnings from this talk, our Tech Girl Superheroes shared their main takeaways as:

  • How important your physical and social environments are as key drivers of habit

  • The 2-minute rule: breaking down an end goal into small chunks that take less than 2 minutes each to achieve. Habit must be established before it can be improved (so very true!)

  • Keeping a habit journal: noting down daily when you keep to a habit, and try not to break the chain of days. Even if you miss one day, don’t make it two!

Where to start – small?

“Every action we take is a vote for the person you wish to become” – what is the small change that you will make today?

“Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre man!”

Can you imagine this as part of your work day, where you can drop in whenever you like to a gaming room with pinball machines and arcade games, an ice cream shop, spa, bike mechanic, and too many café and restaurant options to count! The Facebook campus is impressive, yet sculptures and signs from the original Facebook office remind and connect us to the company’s origins as a tiny startup. So much has happened in such a short period of time: the Facebook family now also includes Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus Rift!

The importance of mentors came up again today at Facebook, as mentors can give you the tough feedback that you’re blinded to. And don’t forget the importance of finding a ‘safe space’ person to talk to too, this can be a teacher, coach, friend, or family member. It reminded us that the people around us have a huge influence on us, which poses the question – how we do surround ourselves with positive influencers?

We then visited Ebay and saw their map of sales in real time. So cool! Our Tech Girls teams received some great feedback from both Facebook and Ebay after they pitched – that “success is never a one stop effort and trying things that don’t quite work out is totally ok. For developing apps and tech, talking to users to understand what they need is critical to solving the problem that they have (not the problem that you want to solve or think they have)”. Another approach is to find people who want what you are thinking to develop, before you develop it!

So what do Facebookers and Ebayers wish they knew when you were younger?

“Be bold. Take risks. If you have a good idea, go for it!”

“Don’t underestimate yourself. Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre man!”

“Show interest in the things you like. You can build a career around your hobbies, incorporate a job into your hobby.”

“It’s ok not to have it all figured out. Elevate your voice: you should and do have a seat a table.”

Back to finding our positive influencers, let’s start with thinking about what ‘product features’ you want to add to your life, and who should be on your personal board of directors. Think and ask today!

P.S. Have you met our superhero rally car driver chaperone? Jackie, from our Blue Buddy team at St. Aidans’ has mixed with the British royals and knows her way around cars. You go, Jackie!

Words of wisdom from Googlers… and a rally car driver!

Hello Rowena, Adam, Alice, Marissa, Kara, Rama and Roshni at Google! Hearing about your journeys and pathways really showed us how much pursuing what you believe in, and care about, matters. Powerful insights from our panel: Alice – a fresh CS grad who joined Google a few months ago, Marissa – an undergraduate intern in her last year of studies, Rama – PhD student intern in hardware development, Kara – who pivoted from her arts background and taught herself coding, and Roshni – who started in coding young and now works on Waymo! What a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, we so wish we had heard this advice when we were in school, so en pointe!

“Don’t let anything stop you doing what you want to do.”

“Embrace failure! Celebrate failure! Learn from failures and try again, never be afraid of failure.”

“Don’t be intimidated by the people around you – it’s not just about being smart but effort matters too.”

“Starting something new, you might feel like you’re behind but this is ok and you will catch up!”

“Don’t use the word lucky: you earned your place here!”

“In discouraging environments, push through and find the people like you.”

“You can pivot anytime, you’ll be ok!”

So many takeaways from today, and more learnings in the discussion about mentoring and sponsorship: what’s the difference, you ask? In Australia, sponsorship (or champions) isn’t as well-known an activity as mentoring. You might have a few mentors to help guide you and your career with advice, but sponsors create and put you forward for opportunities – a career champion, if you will! Having both really gives your studies and career a push forward, and it’s never too early to ask and start!

Today’s fun fact:

“I was one of the top rally car drivers in the UK. In under 30 seconds, I can change a tire.”

Which one of our Tech Girls team chaperones said this? Superheroes all round! Tune in tomorrow to find out…

Follow the adventures of P-Cubed, Domestic Angels, and Blue Buddy as they embark on their adventure in the Silicon Valley!

Day 0 – Tech Girls Tour of Silicon Valley

It’s ice-cream time with the seals and superheroes at Pier 39 – we in the Tech Girls Movement Foundation team so excited to meet the teams today! The red hoodies are a fantastic idea – the team stands out amongst the crowd in our brightly matching Tech Girls gear. Great to meet everyone before our industry visits and tour around San Francisco (SF) and Silicon Valley kicks off tomorrow – so much energy, enthusiasm and excitement!

Today’s takeaway: Yes, we’re goingggg to San Frannnnciscooo… !!! (For those of you too young to know the song, here’s a link)

Day 1: Trailblazers, Igloos and an VISITING AN Aussie startup in SF!

 Hearing about the Salesforce Ohana
Hearing about the Salesforce Ohana

What a day! Business for social good, IoT (Internet of Things) in retail experiences, smart materials, an Australian startup in SF, and more! Three inspiring visits today kicked off with breakfast at Salesforce right in downtown SF. Hearing about the Salesforce ‘Ohana’ (Hawaiian for ‘family’) a workplace culture that is built around people, celebrating our diversity and supporting each other. What a view from the 61st ‘Ohana’ floor! 360 walk-around panorama of San Francisco – wow. Definitely a tech tourist moment, we can’t imagine what it would be like to be able to hang out here every day at work!!

 Equality = Innovation at Accenture
Equality = Innovation at Accenture

Down a few floors in the Salesforce Tower to the Accenture Innovation Hub – such a warm welcome with Tech Girls Are Superheroes signs throughout the lobby, and our own branded tech girls cookies for afternoon tea – thank you so much to our hosts! What a whirlwind tour seeing emerging technologies (almost like science fiction!) applied to solve real-world challenges – excited to see what future retail with IoT might look like, materials that have ‘shape memory’ for soft robotics, and 360 wrap-around screens for immersive experiences with multimedia storytelling (‘The Igloo’). Lots of whiteboards, post-it notes, and design prototypes throughout!

 The girls pitching their app.
The girls pitching their app.

A friendly and chill startup vibe with Skedulo shared the journey of an Australian startup making it big in SF – hard to quantify into words how you can feel and see the mix of Australian culture in the company, their office and how they work – go Aussies! You can’t go wrong when there is the company dog welcome to roam around the office for pats and cuddles, and pizzas for snacks too! Great informal networking session with the Skedulo team – such a diverse and friendly team – looking forward to connecting with the local team when we’re back home.

An atmosphere of opportunity and ‘giving it a go’ are abounds here – well done to the girls for excellent pitches during all three visits today! Fantastic feedback on the pitches and apps from our hosts, such attention to detail with the teams showing their app prototypes and carefully handmade gifts for our hosts.

Google! Tomorrow! Yesssss.

Today’s takeaways: a panel discussion that raised ‘being comfortable with being uncomfortable’ and ‘being your authentic self’ (you don’t need a tech background to work in tech!), and that an idea that was built into a tech platform in a room above a Brisbane garage is now a startup outgrowing its offices in SF with Series B funding just raised – you can do it too!

Last week we had the absolute pleasure of participating in the inaugural Hopper Down Under conference which is an instance of the hugely successful Grace Hopper Celebration of Women annual event in the USA attended by 17 000 technical women now each year. Hopper Down Under attracted 700 tech go-getters to this 2-day event.

The keynotes were especially outstanding, with Dr Sue Black, who saved Bletchley Park where 8000+ women worked in tech in WW2, and Prof Lisa Harvey-Smith giving us hope for the next 10 years of women in STEM in Australia with the Decadel Plan. Dr Genevieve Bell from ANU gave us hope for the future by looking at our past, not so distant history.

We presented a poster on preparing teachers for our digital futures with leaders in the field of STEM and education in Australia, and we presented a poster with our colleagues at UTS on (download here on STEM x play) and we were fortunate to chair 2 amazing sessions – one on e-textiles and technology for blind children, and another by the Girls Programming Network on how to run a great girls in tech event.

Congrats to the team – and to the community, for making this VIP event happen.

We’re proud to be supporting Women in Fech. Fest 2019. Our Founder and CEO, Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen will be speaking at the event.

Women in Tech. Fest 2019 is taking place 6-8 November in Brisbane. Now in its 4th year, this is a proven, high level, fun and immersive event for forward thinking women who want to advance their leadership skills, expand their networks and keep up to date with the latest tech trends impacting Australia and the rest of the world.

Facilitating opportunities to meet and learn from some of the nation’s most inspirational and successful women in tech, including:

  • Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen, Founder, Tech Girls Movement

  • Joanna L. Batstone, Vice President, New Offerings and Emerging Technology, IBM Data and AI (US)

  • Audrey Tang, Digital Minister, Taiwan

  • Rhody Burton, Head of Cloud Partnerships and Alliances, Google

  • Suzy Nicoletti, Managing Director, Twitter Australia

See the full speaker list.

Benefits of attending:

  • Walk away inspired, empowered and motivated to be an even better version of yourself

  • Explore the best ways of embracing emerging technologies to transform your business

  • Examine tech trends for 2020 and beyond, and how to use emerging technologies and innovation to enhance organisational performance and productivity

  • Learn how to build high-performing teams of tech leaders to access excellent outcomes

  • Identify the biggest challenges and opportunities to advance your tech career

  • Hear real world examples of cutting edge tech in action including augmented reality, AI, drones, Blockchain and more..

  • Be part of the conversation – join your peers and network with the brightest movers and shakers in STEM, tech and ICT

  • If you’re a woman in tech – don’t miss this!

Tech Girls Movement members receive 10% discount off the registration fee – use discount code ‘TGM10’ when booking.

The Tech Girls Movement Foundation (TGMF) is pleased to announce the valued support of Stockland, who in 2019 are providing the Prize Money for the Australian National Secondary & Primary School Winners in the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero Competition.

Stockland will provide $1000 to the Winning National Secondary School and $500 to the Winning National Primary School Teams. This continues a strong supportive relationship between Stockland and the TGMF.

Founder & CEO of the TGMF Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen; “We are grateful for Stockland’s ongoing support of TGMF initiatives & programs, in particular the provision of prize money for our hardworking National winning teams in the 2019 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero Competition”.

Robyn Elliott, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer of Stockland; “We really do love contributing to a cause which has such a widespread impact. Not only are we rewarding these tech girls for their hard work during the competition we are also paying back to the community, through supporting the innovative app that the girls have developed.”

“We get an enormous amount out of our contribution to the Tech Girls Movement and the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero (SNTGS) Competition. This year we have also contributed $10000 to support last year’s National Secondary School winners ‘Domestic Angels’ from Gladstone to get them to the USA in August to visit and pitch to top tech companies such as Ebay, Google, Accenture, Salesforce and Rubrik in Silicon Valley. With our financial support the 2018 winning team from Gladstone, our very first regional winner will be able to join our fourth Tech Girls Movement Foundation Official Ambassador Tour in 2019.”

The Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero Competition is a 12-week STEM entrepreneurship program, where girls aged between 7-17 collaborate efforts in a team and identify a problem within their local community that they would like to solve. They then research the problem, develop a business plan, and build an app that creates a unique means of helping to alleviate the local community problem. Many apps go on to be developed further and to be sold in the various app stores.

To get involved, or to donate prizes to the 2019 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero Competition, contact us.

Last weekend, Technology One and the Tech Girls Movement Foundation hosted local Brisbane #techgirls and their mentors for a Hack Day at T1 HQ. The teams spent the day working on their app building and business plans with guidance from super mentors at Technology One.

The day was enjoyed by all – summed up by teacher and repeat tech girls coach Alison Jones from Craigslea State School:
The girls were so excited. It was a really great afternoon. The girls got to talk to mentors. We met ours for the first time. We watched pitched videos from other schools and then reflected on what makes a good pitch video and what they want to include in their own. There were green screens set up so the girls got to practice reading and performing with a script. We came away energised, motivated and enthused to continue on our own tech girls journeys. Personally I found it helpful having to trouble shoot some technical issues I was having. I got some good advice from other Technology One Super-Mentors. We are all super pumped to get stuck into working on our deliverables.”

We also loved seeing this Facebook post by Good Shepherd Lutheran College:

It’s clear all teams and their mentors had a fabulous day and took away so much from the experience. Thank you Technology One for supporting #techgirls!

Last weekend, Tech Girls Movement Foundation with Rubrik and UTS, hosted a two hour workshop for local tech girls to learn how to build a chat bot. Rubrik flew their Principal Technologist, Rebecca Fitzhugh, who is based in the Silicon Valley, over to Sydney for the workshop.

Rebecca is heavily involved in getting more women and girls into STEM. Her background is extremely interesting, having started in the US Marine Corps where she specialized in cryptographic systems and eventually managed a Force level data center that provided services to the entire Pacific fleet.

The girls had a fantastic time! Here are some quotes from the event:

Sienna said “It was great, and loved learning about a chatbot. I know what it is now. It was good to meet other girls in the competition too.”

Sienna’s mum said “Great to see organisations like Rubrik getting on board and supporting young girls in STEM. UTS Women in Engineering was a perfect location. Industry tech organisations are starting to realise that the future work generation are some of these young girls, and we need to engage early. Given the opportunity to try something new, the girls rise to the challenge. My daughter didn’t know what a chatbot was before the workshop and I didn’t tell her either, she does now. It was also great to see her answering questions and going up the front to engage with people she didn’t know. Rebecca was really great with the girls and showed us how tech can be cool.”

Hugues, a parent at the event said “My daughter loved the event. When someone asked her if she liked the session she replied ‘Are you kidding? I was able to spend 2 hours on the computer doing cool stuff!

We were also thrilled to see this post by Orla Hanby, Head of Marketing, ANZ for Rubrik, on LinkedIn:

And finally, we’d like to share Chris Wahl’s blog post, which moved us immensely, and made our eyes malfunction. Chris Wahl is Chief Technologist at Rubrik in the Silicon Valley.

A huge thank you to Rebecca, Chris, Orla, Rubrik, and UTS – you made a huge impact on our #techgirls.