For one week in January, young innovators from across Australia descended on the Nation’s Capital to power up their ideas at the 2016 National Questacon Invention Convention.
The National Questacon Invention Convention is part of the Questacon Smart Skills Initiative which aims to contribute to Australia’s future by inspiring future innovators and technologists with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), design thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
The young innovators were given the unique opportunity to work with science communicators, inventors and entrepreneurs to design, develop and pitch their ideas for ‘assistive technologies’ - clever devices to help us do things easier, faster, better.
Highlights for these bright young minds included networking with entrepreneurs from the Canberra Innovation Network and showcasing their prototypes to government, business and community leaders including the Assistant Minister for Innovation, The Hon Wyatt Roy MP, Director General of IP Australia, Patricia Kelly, and Craig Connelly, CEO of The Ian Potter Foundation.
Our aim was to inspire them, but in fact they inspired us with their creativity, imagination and vision. We hope they continue to pursue innovation and STEM in their studies and careers, and take their brilliant ideas to market.
In the wrap-up of the Invention Convention, Carla Sanfrancesco, one of the participants said, that “the Convention taught me how to have confidence and act on my ideas and also made me realise how important innovation is in today’s society. I met so many talented people who have inspired me to continue to work on my prototypes and follow my dream of becoming an IT engineer. I would definitely recommend this convention as it has been a life changing experience which I am extremely thankful for."
None of these things would be possible without the support of a range of partners across education, government, business and community, including Principal Partner The Ian Potter Foundation, Supporting Partner IP Australia and mentors from Enable Development, The Creative Element and Make Hack Void.
What’s next? In July, the Questacon Invention Convention is off to Whyalla and Adelaide in South Australia. Then in September, it will hit the Gold Coast in Queensland.