Wellington Innovation Hack puts Gen Z in the driving seat

A new Creative HQ programme has put young locals to work on real-world innovation solutions

A team of young innovators pose for their showcase photo

Four household-named Wellington organisations have tasked a team of local Gen Z innovators to find solutions to some of their most pressing problems. This week, the participants will reveal their ideas. 

Creative HQ’s first-ever Wellington Innovation Hack connected a cohort of 18, 16-24 year-olds with Kiwibank, Datacom, Zealandia, and Wellington on a Plate so they could apply a range of innovation methodologies to challenges and opportunities these organisations are facing now or expect in the future.

“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,” Head of Creative HQ’s School of the Innovation, Dr Colin Kennedy, says.

“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.”

Mayor Andy Foster, who is attending tonight’s showcase, says the Creative HQ is a council supported organisation doing essential work that will benefit the region long-term.

“We need more innovative thinkers in Wellington who can tackle the big issues the city is facing. It’s very exciting to me that we have a growing number of young people who are not only looking to think more innovatively, but are being handed the tools to succeed by the likes of Creative HQ.”

“Congratulations to everyone who participated – I look forward to seeing what you all do next.”

During the programme, members of the Hack cohort were matched in groups with one of the four organisations. Each group has come up with a range of solutions and ideas for the organisations to consider. 

“Our hope is that they can take these skills and build on them throughout their careers, and ultimately contribute innovative solutions to the range of problems Gen Z will face in their lifetime.”

Dr Colin Kennedy
Head of School of Innovation

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

“For these young people, the certificate will be a way to stand out from the crowd to potential employers, as well as give them a whole new set of skills that will allow them to take on new opportunities within the organisations where they currently work.”

“It’s been fantastic to work directly with this group as they’ve been given the space to ideate, prototype and test their ideas. We can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Keen to be part of the next youth programme? Register your interest here to find out about upcoming programmes and opportunities.

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