The 49ers and the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) were featured in an article on the Sports Techie website by Tom Taylor. He discusses the Hackathon that occurred last week in association with the Beyond Innovation:

On Tuesday, the San Francisco 49ers Foundation hosted 47 teens at a mini-hackathon at Levi’s Stadium. The students, who ranged from eighth through 10th grade, were given three hours to come up with a way for the 49ers to attract new audiences to Levi’s, turning non-fans into the Faithful.

The event was a lead-in to the Beyond Innovation conference hosted by the 49ers and Beyond Sport on Wednesday. The conference itself focuses on how sports can be used to support science, technology, engineering, and math education. And all of the students participating are part of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, which currently works with 240 kids spread across nearby Cabrillo Middle School and Santa Clara High School.

Jennifer Lee, program director of the institute, explained that its focus mixes empowering the students’ interests in STEM with empowering them with leadership and critical thinking skills. “We teach them the design thinking cycle,” Lee said, “and really trying to train them on not limiting themselves to what might be the ‘right’ answer.”


After brainstorming, the students at the hackathon were tasked with fine tuning their proposals around what they thought might be an ideal user, and coming up with a one page business plan. Then their teams pitched their ideas one-by-one to a panel of three judges: Hannah Gordon, the 49ers chief administrative officer and general counsel, Nick Keller, founder and president of Beyond Sport, and Scott Leatherman, COO and VP of Marketing and Communications of SAP Silicon Valley.

Mead highlighted how the students picked out ideas that adults might have put less emphasis on. “Engaging, especially this millenial group, with things that interest them,” he said. Most of the proposals were for apps, with points and incentives, and a strong social media component. Gordon remarked that they all zeroed in on one key concept: FOMO, the fear of missing out.

The seventh team to pitch presented an app dubbed “First Faithful,” making a connection to the nickname of diehard 49ers fans. The app gave away loyalty points for in-stadium activities and targeted young fans with big families. The team’s presentation and business plan was polished and detailed, and the three judges picked the group out as the winner. The winning students then had the chance to pitch again at an ESPN leadership dinner hosted later that night. Gordon was impressed by the general level of professionalism by all the students. In comparison, she said, “most adults do a terrible job at PowerPoint presentations.”

For the full article, visit SportTechie.comPhoto courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

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