The First Brain Blitz

January 23, 2013


You’re probably wondering what a Brain Blitz is… well it’s a concept at The Chic Geek that brings people together for a brainstorm session, so we can learn from each other and problem solve with collective mind power. We had our first Brain Blitz session last Wednesday at Waves coffee house (they have a pretty awesome boardroom). After some initial confusion (there are two Waves’ within 4 blocks of each other) we all ended up at the same place. We wanted to find out what other women (and men) were looking to get out of The Chic Geek. For those of you who missed it, here’s a summary of what we found:


1. Filling the knowledge gap
There’s a huge knowledge gap between full-time developers and non-developers who work in the same company. It’s like driving a 1990 Pontiac Sunbird and expecting it to go from zero to 100 in six seconds. It’s critical for these types of people to be able to communicate, especially if they’re working for a highly technical, highly complex startup. The solution? Offering really basic, foundational overviews of topics like, “what does a programmer do” and “what exactly is a programming languages and what are the different types.” These types of workshops and learning sessions would form the building blocks to start bridging that knowledge gap and make the technical side less intimidating to non-techs.


2. Peer learning
While education is a large component of The Chic Geek, that doesn’t necessarily mean classroom-type learning. There’s a huge opportunity for peers to learn together by teaching subjects to each other. That also helps address the issue of presenting, public speaking and being a subject matter expert. Don’t get me wrong, we still want to spice things up with speaker series and small group learning, but the point is to develop a casual, no-pressure learning environment where we can swap experiences and skills.


3. Freemium model
Were Chic Geek events something that could be worth paying for? The answer was… not really. Or at least not yet. The whole concept of The Chic Geek is to engage and support the community, not make money. An attendance fee for more complex, hands-on programming workshops would be appropriate, but less so for introductory events.


The Next Steps: Now that we’ve heard from some of our peers in the community, we need to take that feedback and run our first event! We wanted something general enough to attract a larger audience (and act as an intro to The Chic Geek) while profiling women doing amazing work in the community (to inspire others). So we’ve got something brewing in our idea lab… but you’ll have to stay tuned!


Extra loud shout-out to Jason Zeiler (Startup Calgary and A100), Jenn Egroff (AcceleratorYYC), Tegan Watson (Uncommon Innovation) and Daniel Ginez & Heather Laursen (Bookcycle) for being the brains behind this Blitz session. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Thanks for reading this blog post! If you’re interested in being part of another Brain Blitz or just being more engaged with The Chic Geek, send us an email, a tweet or join our mailing list!


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