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The Minister's Innovation Challenge

​​The challenge provides opportunities for Year 8 students to engage in entrepreneurial learning. With support from industry mentors, students apply design thinking, developing innovative solutions to a local issue or problem.​

Year Level
  • Year 8
Content Type
  • Program/Overview
  • Career practitioner
  • Head of learning area
  • Principal
  • Teacher

​​The Minister’s Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for a broad range of Year 8 students at public schools throughout Western Australia to engage in design thinking and entrepreneurial education. In 2024, 40 teams of Year 8 students will be selected to participate in the 6-week challenge. 

Each team will develop innovative solutions to local issues or problems, supported by their school and an industry mentor. The 5 top-ranked school teams will share the $35,000 cash prize and some of the final pitches will be showcased during an online exhibition. ​ 


The Minister’s Innovation Challenge 2024

An informative video for schools who may want to apply for the challenge in 2024.

The Minister’s Innovation Challenge 2023

A short recap video of the schools and student teams involved in the challenge in 2023.

2023 participating schools and their projects 

Teams worked with an industry mentor to identify and solve a local issue or problem. Teachers were supported to help students use design thinking to develop innovative solutions. A summary of the problem statements and solutions developed by the school teams is listed below. 


Problem statement  


Albany Senior High School 

Albany needs to improve the sense of community and relationships to help people who feel alone to connect with others who have similar interests. Paired with increasing screen time and social barriers, this is leading to depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness.

A city-specific app that connects you to other people with similar or identical interests. The app also helps you play sport/s when you don’t have a team to play on. If you don’t want to join a sporting club you can join different groups such as art, gaming, music, and academics.

Balcatta Senior High School 

How might we initiate and advertise student-led clubs for future Year 7 students coming into High School to promote a sense of community and connectedness?

Establish a process where new Year 7 students can meet like-minded peers and engage in healthy extra-curricular activities. 

Baldivis Secondary College 

How can we help our local wildlife and encourage Baldivis secondary students to become ambassadors for creating a clean and sustainable environment?

Students will form a community group of climate activists and sustainability champions who will walk around before the end of school breaks to collect 10-cent cans for recycling. These funds will be donated to wildlife charities. Students will also collect rubbish while walking around and will go out into the community once a month to local areas to complete similar pickup and recycling. 

Bob Hawke College

How might we help ease heavy traffic and congestion at The Matthew’s Netball Centre car park in Jolimont, WA? 

An app that shows the live and predicted status of the car park at a given time with the option to host or share a carpool with a teammate or friends. The host can input the number of passenger seats they have available and then the option to collect other passengers from their home or another location. 

Butler College 

How might we provide students with healthier meals that will increase their in-class concentration, minimise hunger during school, won't break anyone's bank balance and does not involve the stigma of ‘handouts’?

Fresh Steps – this website gives students the opportunity to cook quick, healthy meals, so they can effectively use their time without having to spend hours cooking and end the school day without being starving and broke. The website will be easily accessible through the use of Connect and other school email platforms.

Champion Bay Senior High School 

After cigarette butts, chewing gum is the second most prevalent litter problem in the world. How can we easily remove chewing gum, which ends up stuck underneath benches in high-use areas in our school?

A surface treatment that makes gum easier to remove and prevents it building up over time. Canola oil was deemed the most effective way to remove gum, it’s inexpensive, does not have a strong smell and it is easy to apply a thin layer on surfaces. 

Clarkson Community High School

How might we improve the well-being of high school students so they can have a positive mood, attitude, and experience at school?

Pet Match – an app to enhance students’ wellbeing by connecting them with therapy dogs.

Coastal Lakes College

White school shirts are uncomfortable, go grey in the wash and stain easily.

A dark polo shirt that is sun smart, eco-friendly and affordable.

Dalyellup College

How might we create student-led spaces in high schools so students can improve their wellbeing?

The Thrive Room – an alternative student-led space, used by students, and owned by students. The space can be used for meditation, quiet games and activities such as yoga and mindfulness to support students with their wellbeing.

Denmark Senior High School

How might we reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean at Denmark beaches for people who live in Denmark and care about the environment so they can make a local contribution to reducing microplastic pollution?

An interactive art installation featuring a drinking foundation and rubbish bin, that is connected by a wave sculpture. This sculpture has space to educate people about microplastics.

Dianella Secondary College

How might we increase tolerance for students so they can feel accepted at school?

A podcast by students for students. Students are interviewed and it is posted on the school’s Instagram. By hearing other peoples’ stories, students can feel connected and as the students say, 'tolerance reduces your rhinoceros problems.'

East Kimberley College 

How might we reduce the effects of heat for people in Kununurra so they can explore the wonderful region?

Wearable ice packs made with the finest materials and newest technology. These slim and long-lasting ice packs can go anywhere from under your collar to the rim of your hat. They also come with strings for easy connection to clothing and accessories and can be removed easily when they become warm.

Ellenbrook Secondary College

Students are spending the entirety of lunch in a line, waiting to get food, instead of being active and socialising. Students are deterred by these long lines and don’t buy food, leaving them hungry and causing less sales for the canteen.

A remote system called 'LunchBox', allows students to order their food before school online. This simple system will allow students to go to a much smaller order line where they can give their order number and then collect their order, skipping the bulk of the lunch process.

Exmouth District High School

How can we ensure that visitors to the North-West Cape behave sustainably?

Provide visitors and people around the world with a platform for a fully immersive VR experience. Allowing people to become an animal and live, struggle and play as that animal. The hope is that those who experience the app will have greater empathy for the biology of the region as well as the threats to Coral Reefs worldwide.

Gnowangerup District High School 

How might we promote community gardening for the community members who are unable to care for their gardens so locals and tourists may think of our town as well kept and tidy?

Provide a coordinated, fun, social and voluntary service that goes around our town and tidies up untidy gardens.

Halls Head College

How can boat owners in our local community ensure their macro-plastics do not result in environmental waste that leads to micro-plastics in our ocean?The OPS – a filter that attaches to a boat’s bung plug to stop macro plastics from escaping.
Hampton Senior High SchoolHow might we prevent sun-glare for shift workers and travellers so they can drive safer?The ‘Sun Shield’ is designed to prevent sun-glare for shiftworkers and travellers so they can drive safely. The 'Sun Shield' is a moveable arm that holds a visor, which drops down to block sunlight while maintaining visibility for the driver.
Harrisdale Senior High SchoolHow might we improve desk design and classroom layout for Gifted and Talented students to maximises classroom productivity and flexibility during examinations, teaching and learning?The solution is a flexible desk design and classroom layouts for different teaching and learning needs.
Joseph Banks Secondary CollegeHow might we change the attitudes of students towards rubbish disposal so schools can reduce the amount of cleaning required?

Moto – a self-automated machine to collect rubbish at school with an interactive rewards-based system.

Karratha Senior High SchoolHow do we reduce boat crashes for recreational boat owners in the Pilbara region and surrounding areas?  SailSafe – a device that warns recreational boats through a distress signal as they approach each other. SailSafe is a compact, waterproof, solar-powered, energy-efficient device that transmits UHF signals to notify boat owners of any hazards within a signal range of up to 300 metres.
Lesmurdie Senior High SchoolHow might we reduce verbal abuse and harassment from spectators in local sports for playing participants and referees so they can have confidence and improve mental health during the game?An app to educate spectators on the impact of negative behaviour and the code of conduct in local sports. The app has the function to report negative behaviour to relevant management as well as penalise spectators by using a demerit system. By reducing the incidences of verbal abuse in local sports, the mental health and confidence of players and referees can improve.
Lynwood Senior High SchoolHow can we assist the community in monitoring and conserving water around the home?Aqua Dux – an internal water meter that can connect to any internal device or appliance and will only measure the water usage for a particular appliance. It can be hired and allows customers to effectively track and monitor internal water usage and consumption.
Manjimup Senior High SchoolHow might we raise awareness to help protect an underwater cable and hydroacoustic station at Cape Leeuwin, part of an International Monitoring System that listens to the ocean for signs of nuclear explosions?A high school STEM poster competition between local high school students in our region to create the sign that will be displayed at the Augusta Boat ramp.
Newman Senior High SchoolNewman suffers from extreme weather events such as floods, sandstorms, and extreme heat. These events can occur suddenly without warning and cause people in the community to be stuck in a bad situation.  Create a device that can notify people of extreme weather events, just before they happen, so that they can make arrangements to avoid the bad weather and the inconvenience that it may cause.
Ocean Reef Senior High SchoolHow might we give reminders to reapply sunscreen for local surf lifesavers, so they can be sun safe?A UV sensitive colour changing bracelet or band that gives a visual indication of when sunscreen needs to be reapplied.
Tom Price Senior High SchoolHow might we address the limited job opportunities for the youth of Tom Price?Jobs6757 – an app where adults can post quick and easy jobs so that young people can register their interest in doing the job in exchange for money.
Wanneroo Secondary CollegeHow might we increase the activities in Wanneroo for kids and teenagers so that they can have a good time and improve social skills, leading to a reduction of crime caused by teenagers with nothing to do?A local and affordable arcade that is fun for all and is unique to Wanneroo.
Warnbro Community High SchoolHow might we prevent further disturbances and human-caused habitat loss of the little penguins on Penguin Island for visitors who are unaware of their impacts so they can observe the birds peacefully?Travel to the island and strategically place ourselves along the walking paths to provide free and accurate information about the species to the public visitors, while demonstrating the desired behaviour for interacting around the birds.


2023 winners

The challenge took place over 5 weeks in Term 4 and culminated in an online exhibition where the Minister for Education announced the 3 top-ranked teams. Below are the videos of the final pitches from the challenge winners in 2023. 

First place 2023

Bob Hawke College

Second place 2023

Denmark Senior High School

Third place 2023

Exmouth District High School


The feedback below captures the sentiments of the teachers who participated in the 2023 Minister’s Innovation Challenge.

I will admit to feeling nervous and a bit daunted before the teacher induction. The induction day was extremely helpful and I liked that we followed the same path that students will undertake. It helped me to really feel part of this process.
The resources provided were a huge support and allowed facilitation of activities and processes to happen seamlessly.
The kids have really loved the process. It has been great to have a 5-week program and not 4, it has allowed so much more reflection and discussion.
The industry mentor was really knowledgeable and was really great with the kids.
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