This year we gathered as a community at World Summit to celebrate each other and everyone’s hard work. A few things were different this year – this was the first time we brought together participants of both the Technovation Families and Technovation Girls program, and the first time that World Summit was a virtual event. Although the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us towards a virtual event, it became a wonderful opportunity for more people in more places to join us and learn from our incredible participants, partners, and speakers.

Over two days, nearly 2,000 people joined us from 56 countries. Across time zones, members of the Technovation community woke up early, stayed up late, joined us on lunch breaks and at dinner time – we are so glad to be part of a community that prizes connection and learning as much as you all do.

Although the 2020 Technovation World Summit looked very different in August than the event we imagined in January, we are so grateful for the chance to gather as a community, cheer each other on, make new connections, and learn new things.

Small tiled photos of Technovation volunteers smiling and waving on a zoom call

Technovation volunteer judges cheer everyone on during the Technovation awards ceremony

We are also deeply grateful to the participants, volunteers, partners, sponsors, and attendees who helped make World Summit so memorable.

Technovation was sponsored by HSBC, Google Dialogflow, NVIDIA, Adobe, General Motors, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, CISCO, Vodafone, Genentech, Oracle,, FactSet, Vianai, and AT&T. The 2020 Technovation World Summit was sponsored by HSBC, Nuance, SparkFun, Autodesk, LinkedIn, Google Dialogflow, and Transcend. We extend our deep thanks for all of their support in a tumultuous year, and special thanks to partners who hosted workshops and panels to share their expertise with girls, families, and volunteers around the world.

What we did and learned

This year we celebrated resilience in the Technovation community. Resilience always describes Technovation participants and volunteers, who overcome a wide range of challenges each year. But this year in particular, we wanted to call out the incredible ability of the Technovation community to persevere. These themes echoed throughout the speeches and workshops of World Summit and time and time again we heard the reminder to never give up – from an astronaut, a 5-time Olympian, the Executive Director of UN Women, employees of financial institutions, and companies to keep our data private. Because whether you’re figuring out how to code a new feature, preparing for a flight to outer space, or fighting for social justice, your resilience and refusal to back down will win out in the end.

Speaker and Workshop Recap

We heard from NASA Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, who reminded us to not fear failure, because “if you challenge yourself and want to achieve something great, you will fail along the way” – and it’s not the failures that define us, but rather what we learn from them and how we grow after them. Jasmin reminded us being passionate about something doesn’t make it easier to do, but “if you know what you’re doing is worth it to you, don’t ever give up.”

5-time Olympian Natalie Cook reminded us of the same thing – “never ever ever ever ever ever give up” she told us in her keynote. “Resilience is really simple. The only way to practice resilience is to have a go at something and fall over and get back up.” Nat also talked about self-confidence, purpose, and identifying a way you’ve won in every situation – no matter what place you come in a competition, or if you’ve fallen down or made a mistake.

This was an echo of something Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women had told us the day before: “Every girl who got into the competition is a winner, as participants all learn from each other, and even an app that did not get a prize can be one that people really need. For those who win, they must never forget the importance of helping others, lifting them too as they climb.”

During the same fireside chat, Marian Croak, Vice President, Site Reliability Engineering at Google Inc. also reminded us of the importance and value of creating space for more people of all backgrounds in places decisions get made. “If you let women in, imagine what the world would be. Maybe we can do much better, maybe we can collaborate more. Maybe there will be peace in the world.” Dreaming big, making space for people to succeed and shape the future along with us – those are visions we can all work towards.

Kate Parker, Head of Global Marketing at Transcend and Technovation Board Member gave us time to reset at the start of day two, and reminded us of the power of our emotions – even our difficult ones: “your emotions are there to teach you things that will only make you stronger.”

And finally, in her closing speech, Technovation founder and CEO Tara Chklovski, encouraged us once again to support others and help them in their journeys – “mentor others and seek mentorship. There might be no greater joy than doing something meaningful with your knowledge and time.”

We also learned a great deal from our wonderful workshops and panels. 

Transcend taught us about data privacy and how to build a better user experience that actively prioritizes keeping users’ data safe. HSBC hosted a very warm and open conversation between three women who took very different career paths to arrive at one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. They also shared the skills they think are most important for success in the tech industry and general workforce of tomorrow. Google DialogFlow taught us how to design a conversational user interface so we can build better user experiences in our current and future projects. Nuance hosted a conversation about what it takes to be a female professional in the tech industry. Panelists discussed the journeys that brought them to Nuance, finding a career that ties in to your passions, and what it’s like to be a woman at a tech company. Autodesk shared ways innovators use nature as a design partner by allowing biomimicry to inspire the design of their products and showed us a fun design tool to practice building our own nature-inspired models. Sparkfun walked us through different types of hardware and programmable electronics we can use for our next projects, and how to pick the best tools based on what we want our apps and tools to be able to do.

We also connected with Technovation parents to talk about ways to reduce stress while helping children build the critical skills they’ll need for the future, new partners to talk about what it looks like to be part of the Technovation community and how to start programs in your area, mentors to talk about what a meaningful mentorship relationship looks like and how to build them, and chapter and student ambassadors to talk about what the 2020 season was like and what we can improve in 2021 and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who led, supported, and attended our workshops and panels. We were blown away by the topics we explored as well as by audience engagement. Thank you. 

Celebrating the community

During the Awards and Appreciation ceremony that closed the 2-day event, we spent time thanking the incredible volunteer mentors, ambassadors, and judges who make Technovation possible. We can not do this work without our incredible volunteers, and your dedication moves and motivates us year after year after year. We are so proud to work alongside you, and to learn from your vast experiences. Thank you.

And thank you and congratulations to every team who participated this year. Whether or not you submitted or made it to later rounds of judging, as Natalie Cook reminded us, by standing up with courage and saying you have an idea to make the world a better place – and bringing that idea to life – you are truly all winners. We are so proud of you all, and so grateful to be part of your journeys.

You can watch the full Awards Ceremony below, or read more about the winning teams Memory Haven (Ireland), Zesha (India), Help2Hear (Kazakhstan) and Kuwait Birds Tracker (Kuwait) in our blog post.

Keep an eye out for more recordings

We will be releasing recordings of many of our workshops and panels over the coming weeks; keep an eye on this playlist. The best way to know them right away is to subscribe to our youtube channel (and turn on notifications), but we’ll also announce when they’re all live on our social media and newsletters.