About the Game Changer Challenge

More than 600 teams have registered to take part in this year's Game Changer Challenge.

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 introduced 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.

Registrations for this year's Game Changer Challenge have now closed and our judging panel is selecting the best team video pitches to take part in one of 8 virtual heats held across NSW.

Our wicked problem

Humans have unlimited needs, but the planet has limited capacity to satisfy them.

Challenge streams

This year we are offering two streams for our teams to choose from.


Teams who select the Create stream will work to create a product-based solution to answer: "How might we transform discarded items into something useful, beautiful or upcycled?"


Teams who select the Advocate stream will undertake action research, creating social change through Implementation Thinking and persuading others by answering: "How might we rethink the use of single-use plastics in our community?"

The challenge

1. Registrations are closed for 2021

Thank you to the more than 600 teams who registered for this year's challenge.

2. Virtual heats

Teams with the best pitch ideas will be selected to compete in a one-day intensive virtual workshop where they will learn and apply the processes they need to undertake in solving the wicked problem.

A total of 96 teams will compete across 8 virtual heats with each team pitching their ideas live to our judging panel to determine who will participate in the ultimate challenge final.

3. Ultimate challenge final

The best primary and secondary teams from each virtual heat will come together and participate in the face-to-face ultimate challenge final event at UTS Aerial Centre, Sydney in September.

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.

Video - Game Changer Challenge 2021 promo

Duration: 0:30

Is your team participating in this year's challenge?

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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

Student group in unison

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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Key dates

Week Description
Week 3, Term 2 3 May
Challenge opens!
Teams can start working through the challenge playbook
Week 8, Term 2 Friday 11 June
Video applications deadline
Week 1, Term 3 Monday 12 July
Virtual Heats teams announced
Week 5, Term 4

Tuesday 2 November
Virtual heat 1 - Rural North

Wednesday 3 November
Virtual heat 2 - Rural South & West

Thursday 4 November
Virtual heat 3 - Regional North & West

Friday 5 November
Virtual heat 4 - Regional South

Week 6, Term 4

Monday 8 November
Virtual heat 5 - Regional North

Tuesday 9 November
Virtual heat 6 - Metro North

Wednesday 10 November
Virtual heat 7 - Metro South & West

Thursday 11 November
Virtual heat 8 - Metro South

Term 4
Teams compete in the ultimate challenge final

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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