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How to Solve the World’s Problems with Robotics? Youth Pitch Ideas at Emerson Electric Workshop

By Annie Chen, youth counselor, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis
September 12, 2018
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Recently, Girls Inc. Eureka! youth were invited to an Emerson Electric company retreat as part of an Emerson outreach project with Give2Get (GV2GT).

Solving the World’s Problems with Robotics

At the retreat, girls were grouped with staff from Emerson Electric and were given robots to build and control, along with pieces of cardboard and poster paper. The objective was to design robots to solve a problem in the world, and then come up with a marketing pitch to sell their ideas.

They split into groups and were given time to work. Youth assembled robots and made decisions based on what the robot could do. The youth programmed the robots to avoid objects, follow lines or be driven by remote control. While some youth worked on the robots, others worked on the project pitch and how to best present their project to the judges.

Pitching their Entrepreneurial Ideas

When it came time to present, two Emerson employees played the company representatives that the girls pitched their product to. The groups came up with different ideas: a robot that could identify trash at the bottom of the ocean so divers could remove it, a robot delivery service to help run errands and a robot that is able to check for problems in oil pipelines in Brazil remotely.

The youth were also given the directive to have some sort of foreign language in their presentation. Girls got to incorporate languages from their cultures, including Turkish and Amharic, while others chose their languages based in where their product would be most useful.

A Powerful and Validating Experience

YWCA Minneapolis staff shared, “It was really powerful and validating to see a room full of professionals were listening to them as they made a pitch and had their full attention. It was also great that they gave good feedback on their pitches. Entrepreneurship is something that interests many of our girls.”

“I really enjoyed witnessing the girls show off both their creative side and their technical skills,” said another YWCA staff member. “They got to be creative with both their design and their pitch, many of them incorporating languages from their cultures and working closely with the Emerson Electric employees.”