Communications & Media

Innovative and inspiring ideas in the spotlight

Tasmania’s best and brightest ideas have been recognised during a special community awards event in Launceston.

Since May, University of Tasmania students and alumni have been developing interesting and innovative ideas for the Big Idea Challenge, presented in partnership with the Office of the Coordinator-General and Enterprize. The new competition invites entrants from the North and North-West to brainstorm real businesses and social projects which could transform the State.  

More than 240 individuals pitched their concepts to a panel of judges across three categories: Commercial, Community (Social Enterprise) and LoRa (Internet of Things).

Twelve competitors were shortlisted with winners announced in each category, as well as the recipient of a People’s Choice Award, on Monday, 30 July:

·        Commercial category winner: Chocomeleon
John Robertson, Gabriela Paniagua and Bianca Deans designed a spatula which changes colour to assist the process of tempering chocolate.

·        Community (Social Enterprise) category winner: Miles of Smiles
A social initiative brainstormed by Nina Kristinsson, Ella Polley and Emily Wong for the introduction of portable dental clinics that deliver free dental care to people who are homeless.

·        LoRa (Internet of Things) category winner: AutoGuard
Developed by John Robertson, Ben Richards and James Benson, this concept involves the deployment of drones to help surf lifesavers during rescue operations.

·        People’s Choice Award winner: Chocomeleon

University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community, Partnerships and Regional Development) Professor David Adams congratulated competitors for demonstrating a tremendous level of creativity and innovation.

“The Big Idea Challenge has empowered our students and alumni to create a positive future by arming them with design, business and social enterprise start-up skills they can utilise throughout their careers,” Professor Adams said.

“There is tremendous value in the entrepreneurship of our communities. We are embarking on a co-design process for our new Burnie and Inveresk campuses that will tap into the creativity and entrepreneurship skills of our students, staff, alumni, industry and community.”

John Perry, Tasmania’s Coordinator-General, said the competition provided an opportunity for local ideas to be shared and developed.

“There are lots of great ideas in Tasmania waiting to be developed. The University’s Big Idea Challenge is a great initiative that my office is delighted to assist and support and hopes to see continue and grow for many years to come,” Mr Perry said.

Casey Farrell, General Manager of Enterprize, said the innovation hub had been excited to work with participants and support their entrepreneurial journeys.  

“The number and quality of entries in the Big Idea Challenge has confirmed that there's great potential for new, innovative start-ups in Tasmania,” Mr Farrell said.

Published on: 03 Aug 2018 2:21pm