About the Game Changer Challenge

Does your school team have what it takes to solve a real-world wicked problem?
Sign up to this year’s Game Changer Challenge to learn new skills, unlock powerful design thinking tools and processes and have a whole lot of fun along the way.

#GCC2021 reinvented

Video - Game Changer Challenge 2021 promo

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Sign up your team by Friday 30 April.

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Get ready, Game Changer Challenge 2021 has arrived!

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The challenge is reinvented

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Game Changer Challenge 2021

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Game Changing idea!

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Game Changer is a design thinking challenge open to all NSW public schools.

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Are you a Game Changer …or a Social Changemaker?

You choose!

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Join the challenge!


NSW Government logo

State of New South Wales (Department of Education), 2021

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This year we are introducing a brand-new challenge where you can choose your adventure. Do you want to become a Game Changer or a Social Changemaker? It will be up to you to decide!

This year’s challenge kicks-off on 3 May when the challenge playbook and question will be released. Make sure you register your team by Friday 30 April so you're ready to start when the playbook is released.

Teams will work through the challenge playbook at their own pace, choosing which stream to follow.

Be a Game Changer

Teams who choose the product design stream will complete their first challenge by submitting a video pitch about the solution they have designed in response to the challenge question. 80 teams will progress to the heats and compete in a one-day virtual challenge. Winners from each heat will travel to Sydney to compete in the ultimate challenge final.

Be a Social Changemaker

Teams who choose the social impact stream will complete their challenge by submitting a video pitch documenting the relevant impact they have achieved in their school or broader community in response to the challenge question. The top 5 teams will travel to Sydney to present their achievements in a shark-tank style pitch session.

How to join the challenge

  1. Create a team of five students with different strengths and personalities and sign up by Friday 30 April. You will need to think of a creative team name too!
    To access the form you will need to sign in with your @education.nsw.gov.au Google account.
  2. Save the date for the teacher masterclass - Tuesday 27 April @ 3:30pm. You will receive all the details after you register.
  3. Prepare for the challenge by watching our Super 7 innovation showcase videos, work through the design thinking across the curriculum resource or look at our previous challenge pages.

What is the Game Changer Challenge?

Entering its fourth year, the design thinking challenge is open to all 2,200+ public schools across the state and centres on exploring solutions for a real-world, wicked problem.

This year we are introducing a dual-stream, student-led, step-by-step challenge where all teams start the challenge together by working through a design thinking resource called the playbook.

Who can enter?

The Game Changer Challenge is open to all NSW public schools and all ability levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to join!

  • Each team must have 5 students and a teacher.
  • Schools can sign up more than 1 team, but each team must have 5 different students. The same teacher can lead more than 1 team.
  • The junior category is for students from Year 3 to 6, and the senior category is for students from Year 7 to 12.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to solving complex problems. Empathy and collaboration are at the heart of design thinking.

The five-step process starts by encouraging problem solvers to walk in the shoes of those experiencing the 'problem' to gain a deeper insight into the challenges and issues they face (empathy).

This knowledge is then used to develop a clear problem statement (define), work on solutions (ideate), turn these solutions into tangible products (prototype) and then see whether the solution will work (test).

Design thinking is not a linear process. With each stage, you make new discoveries that require you to rethink and redefine what you have already done.

Design thinking brings our head, heart and hands together to find innovative solutions to complex problems.

This process can be used over and over again, for small or complex problems.

Key dates

Week Description
Week 2, Term 2 Friday 30 April
Team registration date closes
Week 2, Term 2 27 April at 3:30pm
Online teacher masterclass
(a recording will be made available if you can't attend)
Week 3, Term 2 3 May
Challenge opens!
Teams can start working through the challenge playbook
Week 7, Term 2 Friday 4 June
Game Changer stream submission deadline
Week 10, Term 2 Friday 25 June
Social Changemaker submission deadline
Week 3, Term 3 Tuesday 27 July
Virtual heat 1 - Rural North

Wednesday 28 July
Virtual heat 2 - Rural South & West

Friday 30 July
Virtual heat 3 - Regional South
Week 4, Term 3 Tuesday 3 August
Virtual heat 4 - Regional North

Thursday 5 August
Virtual heat 5 - Regional North & West

Friday 6 August
Virtual heat 6 - Metro North
Week 5, Term 3 Monday 9 August
Virtual heat 7 - Metro South

Tuesday 10 August
Virtual heat 8 - Metro South & West
Week 9 Term 3
8-10 September
16 Game Changer teams and 5 Social Changemaker teams compete in the ultimate challenge final held at UTS Aerial Centre, Sydney

Contact us

Do you have a specific question or need more detail about this year’s challenge? Send an email to GCC@det.nsw.edu.au

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