crowd 2045499 smlParents and teens have many ‘debates’ about freedom and responsibility. Often heated discussions can range from what is appropriate to wear; who they hang out with; what rules are fair; and what behaviour is expected of them.

Teen Start-Up: People Power is an innovation competition for teens aged 11-18 years which took place on the 22-24 January 2018 at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD). It draws on many of the issues that teens are grappling with, relating them back to the values underpinning Australian democracy such as freedom of assembly; freedom of speech and expression; and the rule of law. Teens are challenged to look at their own values and imagine how they could make the world a better place by re-thinking how we practice democracy in Australia.

The 3-day innovation competition was delivered by local innovation consultancy, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre. Over the 3 days, students were taken through the innovation development process from idea to execution.

Students worked together in teams or individually to come up with an idea for a product or service that they believed provided a solution to a problem their generation will face in the future, including:

  • the role of social media in elections, spreading political ideas, relaying community service announcements during disasters and mobilising support for aid relief;
  • the role technology can play in the delivery of government services from voting online to the universal access to medical records;
  • how we access our politicians;
  • the role the media plays in ensuring transparency;
  • the role citizens can play in setting Government priorities, co-designing Government programs and helping with their delivery (e.g. Citizen Science projects);
  • how we can harness civic and government data to better meet constituent’s needs (e.g. reporting local problems);
  • the role community-driven, bottom-up endeavours and connections can play to ensure all voices are heard; and
  • the role of civic hackers in identifying ways to provide public services more effectively and efficiently than Government can do alone.

The event concluded with the students pitching their concepts to a panel of judges. Students had the opportunity to meet with local entrepreneurs; people involved in the political process; and subject matter experts. They also enjoyed a facilitated learning program at the Museum of Australian Democracy to inspire their thinking. In the program students explored what democracy means and how citizens have participated in active citizenship. They also explored the historic chambers where political debates and decisions were made. 

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About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.