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Intuit offers grand changes with the help from students

Students+presented+their+ideas+in+front+of+actress+and+West+Virginia-native+Jennifer+Garner%2C+Marshall+alumnus+and+former+NFL+player+Chad+Pennington+and+Intuit+CEO+Brad+Smith+%E2%80%9CShark+Tank%E2%80%9D+style.
Students presented their ideas in front of actress and West Virginia-native Jennifer Garner, Marshall alumnus and former NFL player Chad Pennington and Intuit CEO Brad Smith “Shark Tank” style.

Students presented their ideas in front of actress and West Virginia-native Jennifer Garner, Marshall alumnus and former NFL player Chad Pennington and Intuit CEO Brad Smith “Shark Tank” style.

Students presented their ideas in front of actress and West Virginia-native Jennifer Garner, Marshall alumnus and former NFL player Chad Pennington and Intuit CEO Brad Smith “Shark Tank” style.

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Over the past four weeks, 36 students paired with faculty and Intuit experts were split up into seven teams to create ideas for a better West Virginia. With topics concerning three grand challenges in West Virginia — substance abuse, lack of technology and the education of youth — these seven teams presented their ideas for a better, more innovated future in “Shark Tank” style. On Wednesday, three teams were chosen as winners at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.

Students presented their ideas in front of actress and West Virginia-native Jennifer Garner, Marshall alumnus and former NFL player Chad Pennington and Intuit CEO Brad Smith.

Brad Smith grew up in Kenova, West Virginia and has worked for Intuit for 14 years. Intuit is a business and financial software company located in Mountain View, California, that is most well-known for the company Turbo Tax.

“Innovating for Impact” challenged students to create solutions in “Intuit style,” meaning they focused on these grand challenges by “Designing for Delight.” “D-for-D” is a three-pronged principal in innovation: delight and empathy for people, broad ideas and experimenting with people.

“This type of innovating thinking is so productive, not only in being about to build projects, but also in influencing change,” said Isabelle Rogner, a 2016 Marshall graduate and Intuit’s corporate responsibilities specialist.

Seven teams presented their ideas, with only three teams winning the prize trip of going to Mountain View, Silicon Valley and San Francisco, California to carry out their ideas for change and also work alongside CEOs of global companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.

These teams had five minutes to present their big ideas. Ideas ranged from the creation of mobile applications as helplines, virtual reality technology for substance abuse prevention, after-school programs and easy-access identification cards for children to get help in emergency situations.

Once the teams presented their ideas, the judges asked more questions on how they will further present their idea in real-world situations and what road-blocks they hit in the process.

The three groups who won the competition and are going on the grand trip are 42 Peaks, Appalachian Action and 7 Degrees.

42 Peaks is a proposed mobile application that acts as a vehicle to get more help if the user or a family member has a substance-abuse problem. Appalachian Action is a virtual reality scare tactic to show students the realistic outcomes of substance abuse. 7 Degrees is a subscription-box service that would team up technology programs to provide school-age children with technology, resources and literature on jobs in the STEM field.

Liz Adams, a member of 42 Peaks, said she is excited for her future trip to the West Coast.

“I am really excited to go to Google, Apple and Intuit and all of these major companies that there are movies about,” Adams said. “We worked hard for the past four weeks. There were some trials and failures and good things that happened and it was a lot of work put into it. In the end we all came together and worked as a team and were able to put together a good presentation.”

Smith brought his company back to his home to inspire students at Marshall and in West Virginia to think more like those in Silicon Valley.

“I think it has inspired Marshall students to understand that the techniques that they learned over the past four weeks are techniques that can be applied here,” Smith said. “These aren’t secrets that the Silicon Valley has ownership of and what you saw here was seven really powerful teams taking on big challenges and I think we are going to solve these problems.”

Garner was happy to be in her home state and to see the students so engaged in Smith’s project.

“I am just so excited to see the wealth of talent we have here and how engaged kids are by what Brad brought to Marshall. It makes me so hopeful for the state,” said Garner. “Any time that we can shine a light on the positive of this state, we have to do it. We have to stand on the soap box and celebrate our students, our beauty, celebrate our innate talent and beauty. Just like Brad talked about, we have to celebrate our spirit as a state and what we have to offer.”

Pennington remarked that the “magic” is here in Huntington and within the people.

Smith’s final remarks encouraged the audience to “fail fast to succeed faster” in the future, just like the students did this past month. The winning teams of students take their celebratory trip to California this June.

Sadie Helmick can be contacted at [email protected]

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