Hearing Something Different?

I just returned from the IFA+ Summit in Berlin, a two-day conference in conjunction with the IFA consumer electronics show. I gave a 9 minute talk on innovation– a long way to travel from New York for such a short presentation, but the two-days of sessions with approximately 300 attendees were high-energy. To add to the time-limit challenge I opted to split my talk into three topics. The third concerned opportunities to better design products for females. Not necessarily products solely for females, but to better address females in the traditionally testosterone-filled category of consumer electronics. I somehow hit the timing right, getting to the gender topic at the three-minutes-to-go mark.

The point I was making was simple, males and females are different, in many ways. Few females believe that consumer electronics companies consider them seriously. The bottom line: a super opportunity for companies to create products and services that are more sensitive to female-centered values. And because so few companies are doing it well, it’s frontierland!

I’ll make a disclaimer here that I made during the talk – males and females have tendencies to think and act in specific ways. The reaction people had to my three-minute gender discussion was interesting. Lots of “yeah” responses. A few quizzical looks. And because the topic of gender seems to be emotionally charged, just a few people who seemed to hear something very different from what I actually said – along with ore or two that seemed uncomfortable that I brought up the topic at all. 

One question I was asked – “Why did you use the term ‘females’ rather than ‘women,’ because it sounded like I talking about a species.” Well, yeah. Another comment: “I know a male that acts like that also.” Well.. okay. What I mainly gathered from the discussions following my talk is that this is the first time many people have thought about the topic. Gender is not discussed, or considered – and by a few, purposely avoided.

- dan formosa