National Recycling Week provided the perfect opportunity for TOMRA Cleanaway’s outreach and engagement activities to support the community broaden its understanding of recycling and recycling systems. As sponsors of the NSW Department of Education’s design thinking program, ‘Game Changer Challenge’ (GCC), we had two of our team on hand throughout finals week to guide and mentor students from across NSW.
Michelle Mandl-Keating from our team reflected on the week, “I could not be prouder of working with the NSW DET and students from all over NSW for finals week of the Game Changer Challenge. From Kingscliff, to Trangie and Sanctuary Point, each group of students represented their schools and areas with empathy for their community and school peers. It was a fantastic experience!”
NSW Department of Education Design Thinking Challenge
GCC is NSW DET’s annual design thinking competition. Over 2,200+ students from across New South Wales primary and secondary schools were tasked to find solutions to a real-world, wicked problem – ensuring healthy lives for all, at all ages.
36 teams were selected as finalists to represent their schools at the Game Changer Challenge finals, which coincided with National Recycling Week. Students were encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills learned from the classroom to discover solutions to one of society’s most pressing issues – healthy living. The process empowered students to think critically by defining the wicked problem, envisaging solutions to that problem and creating quantifiable results. The process is a powerful problem-solving tool used for developing capabilities such as critical thinking, collaboration, empathy, and creativity – all the skills students need for their future careers.
In 2022, GCC focused on solving and responding to the UN Sustainable Development Goal – ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’
As a result, the students participating posed the wicked problem: ‘We have a global challenge of ensuring healthy lives for all, at all ages.’
TOMRA Cleanaway, an Industry Partner Supporting Students
One of the key components of GCC is its connections to leading industry partners and design-thinking experts who can offer their professional expertise, life experience and career-developed skills to the students during the Challenge.
TOMRA Cleanaway’s Communications and Engagement Manager and previous Game Changer Challenger judge, Michelle Mandl-Keating (below left), and Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Monique Spicer (below right) were proud to represent TOMRA Cleanaway and Return and Earn at the Challenge.
Through their involvement, the team provided expert advice and assistance to the future Game Changers eager to help the finalists further develop their remarkable ideas.
Of the 36 finalist schools, Monique and Michelle assisted 9;
- The Ponds High School, Nowra Public School, New Lambton South Public School, Jerrabomberra Public School, Sanctuary Point Public School, Trangie Central School, South Coogee Public School and Leura Public School taking their innovation to the next level.
Reflecting on the intensive final’s week, Michelle said,
“I was able to offer my industry experience and knowledge of behavioural change, which benefited those students’ seeking advice on early adoption for their pitch”.
“I could not be prouder of working with the NSW DET and students from all over NSW for finals week of the Game Changer Challenge.
From Kingscliff to Trangie and Sanctuary Point, each group of students represented their schools and areas with empathy for their community and school peers. It was a fantastic experience!”
On Wednesday, the 9th of November, the finalists took to the stage to pitch their solutions to the wicked problem to a panel of judges, all executives from across NSW Government departments. Judges were led by NSW Department of Education Secretary – Georgina Harrison, Deputy Secretary – Martin Graham and Executive Director at NSW Health – Meredith Claremont.
Team Majam from Aurora College were crowned the Primary School Champions of the ‘Game Changer Challenge’ for their ‘Green Wellbeing’ truck with garden beds and a kitchen to bring fresh food to those communities impacted by a natural disaster.
Team Quick Stitch from Gymea Technology High School were crowned the Secondary School Champions for their ‘Quick Stitch App’, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that links to information needed to assist teachers administering first aid in various situations.
Team Quick Stitch from Gymea Technology High School, the secondary school champions for their ‘Quick Stitch App. Picture NSW Department of Education
Kingscliff Public School won the Design award for Impact and Awareness. Krambach Public School won the Design Award for Teamwork and Research. Randwick Public School won the Design Award for Innovation and Implementation.
TOMRA Cleanaway was proud to be a part of the challenge and would like to congratulate all the schools that participated in the competition.
More information about the Game Changer Challenge.