GSMA is a global organisation that unifies the mobile ecosystem, advancing innovation and reducing inequalities worldwide. Representing over 1,000 mobile operators and businesses, GSMA aims to unlock the full power of connectivity for societal and industrial benefit. Their key initiatives include Connectivity for Good, Industry Solutions, and Events, designed to drive positive impact through mobile technology.

The Challenge

Despite the GSMA’s extensive reach and impact, effectively integrating youth perspective into their member’s strategies and solutions stood as a key challenge for the organisation. The mobile industry, primarily led by adults, often missed out on the valuable insights that young people could provide. This gap led to the creation of products and services that didn’t fully align with the needs and preferences of the tech-savvy younger generation, resulting in missed opportunities and less impactful outcomes.

The Response

To address this challenge, GSMA collaborated with Participation People to organise a Youth Hackathon, Bringing Youth Perspectives into the Business of Connectivity. 

This unique event, born through youth collaboration facilitated by Participation People, aimed to bridge the gap between the mobile industry and young people through active engagement, co-creation, and youth-informed decision-making. 

The event gathered 15 young people aged 12-25, along with industry professionals and children’s rights experts, to collaboratively develop guidelines and models for effective and meaningful youth engagement in the mobile sector.

Our Impact

Powered by youth perspectives, the event successfully demonstrated the importance of connectivity in business and the benefits of integrating youth insights into the mobile industry’s strategies. Key outcomes included:

  • Youth engagement definitions: Clear concepts around youth engagement and co-creation were established to provide a clear path forward for GSMA and its associated organisations.
  • Guidelines for engagement: High-level guidelines and best practices for engaging young people are now being developed and will be rolled out globally.
  • Co-creation models: Detailed models for successful co-creation practice with young people were showcased to offer a clear and concise means of effectively gathering the insights of young people to facilitate meaningful change within the organisation.
  • Case studies and success stories: Documented examples of effective youth engagement were shared and celebrated to offer a glimpse into what’s possible for GSMA and its associated organisations.
  • Actionable frameworks: Practical tools and frameworks were provided for mobile operators to incorporate youth perspectives into their strategies for the future.
  • Business case for change: Participation People have developed a business case for change to help leverage youth engagement practice, making it business as usual for mobile operators. 

Armed with a wealth of actionable outcomes, participants left with a deeper understanding of youth engagement and its applicability, feeling empowered and motivated to integrate young people’s perspectives into their work.

Looking Ahead

With a new-found motivation to effect change through youth engagement and powerful co-creation models, the GSMA and Participation People plan to build on the success of this event by:

– Youth Hackathons galore: Hosting additional events to refine strategies further and expand the guidelines and models developed with young people. 

– Ongoing collaboration: Establishing continuous collaboration between young people and industry professionals to ensure sustained youth engagement that reflects the importance of connectivity in business.

– Implementation support: Support mobile operators in implementing the guidelines and frameworks provided during the event into their strategies for effective youth engagement.

“Youth engagement is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. By integrating young people’s insights into product design, development, and marketing, we can create solutions that resonate deeply with this generation, saving time and resources while hitting the mark from the start.”

  • Antonia Dixey, CEO and Founder of Participation People

Start your youth engagement journey with Participation People

If your organisation wants to leverage the power of youth insight to shape everything from design to functionality, marketing to branding, and strategy, we can help. 

Partner with us to bring young people into the heart of your business decisions within the technology sector, ensuring that your products and services are truly reflective of the needs and aspirations of today’s tech-savvy generation. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your youth engagement initiatives.