An iGen’s Take on Mobile World Congress 2024: Q&A with Avanti Sharma


Luxembourg's representative speaker of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) reflects on her takeaways from the massive 2024 event in Barcelona & shares her thoughts on intergenerational collaboration, inclusion, digital safety & more. Meet Avanti Sharma, Pre-teen Technology Specialist & Head of Business Development at Workshop4Me, on a mission to create positive change by way of sustainability & gender diversity in tech.

You moderated a panel at MWC Barcelona called Never Too Young to Lead

In your experience, how does your generation’s perspective differ from that of the older generations more commonly represented at events like these?

At global, large-scale conferences, the primary audience is made up of adults in their mid-thirties, meaning that they have already gone through a rigorous cycle of learning & observing how things are done in the industry. This has great advantages, but tends to enforce regimented decisions-making. iGens (due to their younger age) are less affected by how things are currently done, giving them the ability to better think outside the box.

Why do you think it’s so important to integrate youth into these relevant, important conversations? What’s the benefit of intergenerational collaboration?

Today’s youth will be the leaders of tomorrow shaping our future. Integrating their perspectives with those of older generations provides a big advantage with respect to critical thinking. The youth can provide fresh suggestions while more experienced generations are able to find a way to implement them into the real world, thanks to their existing knowledge about the industry.

When did you realize that you could be a thought leader too, despite your age? 

From a young age, I was always encouraged to take up tasks on my own, & solve my own problems. I have been lucky enough to have parents who let me do as I wished & spend my time as I wanted. This made me realize that I have the capability to make decisions & execute them on my own, regardless of how old I am.

Do you think that young people often don’t realize that they have the power to make an impact? 

I definitely think that most young people are unaware of the impact they can, & are, making in the world. I believe that it largely has to do with how they are perceived. When discussing a young person, people often refer to them as irresponsible, immature & lacking decision-making skills. When we regard the younger generation like this, they often end up living up to these expectations. This leads to a continuous cycle in which they lose confidence in themselves & their ability to lead. Our words make a big difference, so choosing them wisely can help shape a better future.

What was your takeaway from this panel?

My key takeaway was to make large-scale events, such as MWC Barcelona, accessible to younger generations so they can truly understand the industry & see what’s out there. As an iGen, there is often a lack of guidance when choosing subjects & career options. This is especially applicable in the tech industry, where adolescents are often misled about what it means to be in tech (cue the stereotype of a hacker wearing a black hoodie at midnight). Conferences like MWC show technology in a completely different light, as an area in which young people can make a difference. Gil Rosen, the CMO of Amdocs, mentioned this piece of insight during the panel.

You were on a panel discussing How we can Empower the Vulnerable in the Digital Environment

What are the most important conclusions you took from that conversation?

1) Vulnerability comes in many different forms, & each form is unique.

2) We have the power to make a change, & use technology to our advantage.

3)  We must start by asking the vulnerable what they need, before coming up with solutions on our own. (This was something I suggested during the conversation, which was well received by the audience.)

What’s the key to safer digital environments? 

At the end of the panel, an important aspect of safer digital environments was mentioned: the need for a reduction of misinformation online. This would drastically help to minimize the divisions & conflicts we see today. Currently, we see major differences in the same story, based on which newspaper publishes it, because media outlets wish to convey their opinion as news. We must work on shifting the model of media to state the facts first & opinions afterwards, letting readers form their own perspectives on the matter.

Are safer digital environments also more inclusive? How so?

Safer digital environments are at the heart of inclusivity, as technology is our future & making it safe to all naturally fosters inclusivity. On average, we check our phones 58 times a day. Creating a safer environment for everyone allows connections with even the most vulnerable, humanizing them & treating them as equal. This leads to inclusivity in our society, both online & in person.

What impact do you hope to have?

I hope to see a change in the perspective of the media, & its evolution into its role as the fourth pillar. Sustainable Development Goal 16—Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions—will play a critical role in achieving the UN’s 17 goals for 2030 & that starts with changing our mindset. By cleansing the information we read online & separating fact from opinion, we focus on solving the challenges we face today by working as an inclusive team.

📷 credits: Workshop4Me a.s.b.l & MWC Photography Team
digital luxembourg, a movement made by you