Training the changemakers of the future

Developing skills in NZ youth, while helping local businesses solve challenges.

three young innovators pitching their idea at the Wellington Innovation Hack showcase
Who we worked with

Participants aged 16-24 years old and local businesses

What we did together

15-week innovation programme

Key skills

Applied Innovation – lean, agile, discovery, ideation, market validation, prototyping

We know from research that Gen Z, the generation currently finishing up high school and entering the workforce, want to be more innovative but many feel they lack the skills to put their ideas into practice. 

This year we launched the Wellington Innovation Hack, to help bridge this gap. The programme was born by a desire to support local businesses recovering from Covid, while helping New Zealand youth build the right skills to enter the job market. We asked four household-named Wellington organisations to bring us their biggest challenge, and enrolled  18, 16-24 years old participants  to come up with innovative solutions to solve the problem. 

We were lucky enough to get some great organisations on board: Wellington On a Plate, Zealandia, Datacom and Kiwibank

“I think that if I was given these tools beforehand I would have been really skeptical that they’d be of much value– I think that this programme really showed how valuable these can be and how they can reliably make solutions happen. I think that working with the amazing team that I was a part of was really great for me too!

Elliot Blyth
Wellington Innovation Hack participant

How we did it

We invited the participants to join us for a 15-week programme with weekly sessions designed to fit around the participants’ school and work schedule. 

During the 15-week programme we guided the participants through the process of coming up with new ideas, testing them and getting ready to launch, by immersively teaching them some of the key innovation tools that can easily be applied to any work setting.

We are big believers in using immersive and hands-on learning as a way to really get young people on board and get them excited about learning new concepts. By using real-life problems presented by well-known local businesses, the participants get more invested and are inspired to dig deep and come up with great solutions. 

The Wellington Innovation Hack is almost like an internship programme flipped on its head. We train the cohort in innovation techniques and the businesses get to observe them in action solving real-world problems through validated learning and ideation processes. We’re very proud of our first cohort, who absolutely blew us away with their fresh thinking, empathy and optimism.

The result

The programme wrapped up with a final showcase where the Wellington Innovation Hack’s graduates pitched their solutions to representatives of each company. The ideas were well received by the participating businesses, who are now exploring opportunities to bring forward the projects internally. 

The Hack cohort of ‘22 also came away from the programme with the School of Innovation Certificate in Applied Innovation, which they can put on their CVs to show how they have used their experiential learning for real-world outcomes.

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