The Next Generation Network hosted 20 teenagers in Mountain View for Digital Natives Day, where the guests provided feedback on Intuit products and learned about designing mobile apps.
Have you ever wondered how a teenager can do her homework while browsing the internet on her laptop, with several instant messaging windows open and music blaring? That ability to respond to several different stimuli at the same time is called “continuous partial attention,” and it is prevalent among the next generation of Intuit employees and customers.
Some call them “digital natives,” and they include anyone who has grown up with constant access to the Internet. This state of digital immersion has sculpted their brains in ways that people have never experienced before.
To understand the apps and products that will be relevant to our customers in the next 5-10 years, Intuit’s Next Generation Network hosted Intuit’s first ever Digital Natives Day in Mountain View.
High school students from Intuit families, local schools and UC Berkley’s Young Entrepreneurs At Haas Business School program spent the day providing feedback on Intuit products and playing their hand at product management and marketing.
“It’s important for product managers to get first-hand feedback from digital natives so they understand how the next generation of customers think and act,” said Gretchen Salyer, Global co-leader for NGN. “We got very honest feedback on what they loved about our products and some of the things we should think about changing.”
Hanging out at Intuit
Product managers from Mint, Weave, Snap Payroll, MoneyDue and MoneySmart led the digital natives through a focus group-like session where they signed up for Intuit products and tested features on iPhones.
Intuit CEO Brad Smith stopped by to meet the digital natives and answer questions. He explained why they are hardwired for continuous partial attention and what that means for them and for Intuit.
The day ended with teams of digital natives brainstorming their own app ideas and presenting them to a panel of executive judges.
For one high school senior, Digital Natives Day transformed his perception of Intuit. “I honestly have no idea what Intuit does,” he said during breakfast. But later in the day, after his team won the app competition, he beamed about how much he had learned. “It’s amazing to see everything that goes into making an app. I can’t wait to show my friends Weave!”
The future of Intuit’s business will not be about switching everything to cater to digital natives. But we do need to understand that our future customers don’t just have a new set of skills, they have a completely different neural toolkit.