On the 27th of April, I was privileged enough to participate in my first Venture Makers Innovation Challenge at Bankstown City Campus with the student team at Launch Pad! It was a very memorable experience.
Taking place from 9am to 5pm, we were divided into teams, given a challenge prompt to solve and had to come up with an innovative solution.
This prompt was:
How can we promote Mental Health in Western Sydney?
When brainstorming our initial solution, I decided to pair my recent pains to create something that would be beneficial and relatable for majority of society. The main problem our team aimed to solve was the ongoing stress loved ones face when looking after an individual needing immediate hospital care. We wanted to focus on this problem due to it being overlooked in the community, however, is just as important.
Now with a game plan up our sleeves, the day commenced with Brad Twynham (our facilitator for the day) discussing the importance of non-verbal communication in pitching. Brad taught us the importance of hand movements and how each can be tailored to appear likeable, credible or neutral. Understanding the psychology behind the body language helped us feel more confident when pitching our idea later in the day.
In later sessions, Brad taught us how to identify both a problem and solution quickly to create an immediate business solution. This segment of the day was hard for me, especially coming up with several ideas within a limited amount of time. I was not exposed to this form of brainstorming or making quick decisions before. However, utilising both the Lean Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas and with my team behind me, we were successful! This session taught me that creating an innovative solution does not need to require a sufficient amount of time, but rather can be solved quickly. It also taught me the importance of collaboration and being on the same page is crucial for success.
We had a rejuvenating lunch break and got back to developing our solution. I was very happy with where we were at that point in time, so much so that I was shocked about the solution we created.
Soon, it was time to practice our two-minute pitch. Having access to mentors throughout the day to evaluate our pitch helped us as a team overcome potential barriers we faced. Each mentor was very supportive of our idea, helping take the stress out of presenting and channelling our inner entrepreneur. I cannot thank them all enough.
The last session of the day was the presentation of each group’s pitches. We headed down to the Auditorium. I was very nervous leading up to our group’s pitch, so much so that when it was time to present, I accidently made mistakes. However, it is all a learning curve for me. Seeing the confidence of each team and how they explained their unique concepts was very inspiring. I was amazed by the ideas they came up with.
Winners of the Challenge were:
What a way to finish the day!
I had many takeaways from this event, but these are ones that stuck with me;
- Having the chance to work in a like-minded group to create a solution we are all proud of
- Try public-speaking in front of a big audience for the first time
- Innovation does not need to take time. Any idea is a good idea
In addition, witnessing other groups’ solutions and pitching their ideas continues to excite my own entrepreneurial journey in the future.
Last of all, I would like to commend and thank Launch Pad for hosting such a transformative event. This has helped me go beyond my comfort zone and is something I did not picture myself completing a couple years ago. As a member of the Launch Pad student team, I am extremely grateful to have had this experience surrounded by people who share the same passion as me.
Photo Credit: Nataly Thomson
Learn more about the past Venture Makers Innovation Challenge and stay tuned for future challenges!