About the Game Changer Challenge

Entries for Game Changer Challenge 2024 are now closed. See the list of teams taking part in the virtual semifinals.

What is the Game Changer Challenge?

The Game Changer Challenge is the department’s award-winning design thinking competition.

Open to public schools across the state the challenge centres on discovering solutions for a real-world, wicked problem by applying classroom learning.

What is a wicked problem?

A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that’s difficult or impossible to solve, normally because of its complex and interconnected nature.

Wicked problems push us to think outside the box, fostering innovation and creativity. The process of addressing these challenges can lead to breakthroughs in technology, policy and social norms.

Many wicked problems are related to environmental sustainability. By addressing this as a big issue, we can develop more sustainable living practices and build communities that are more resilient to changes and challenges.

Engaging with wicked problems empowers individuals and communities to take action and make a difference. It encourages young people to play an active role in their community and future.

The 2024 wicked problem

Make life better for all without harming the planet.

The 2024 wicked problem is powered by UNICEF Australia.

Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

Can you design a future where everyone, no matter where they live, can access and benefit from modern, sustainable, and resilient technologies and infrastructures?

Your challenge is to invent or innovate solutions that not only spark progress in communities locally and around the world but also ensure our planet stays green and healthy for generations to come.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a human-centred process 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.

A guide to Game Changer Challenge 2024

Step 1: Enter your school

Entries closed on Friday 31 May 2024.

Step 2: Build your team

Teams consist of 5 students and 1 teacher per team. Supervising teachers can be from any subject area. The primary category is for students from Years 3 to 6, the secondary category is for students from Years 7 to 12.

Schools can have more than one team, providing each student team member is different. One teacher can oversee multiple teams.

Step 3: Work through the handbook and prepare your video

Access the teacher handbook on our GCC2024 Teacher Hub and guide your team through the first stages of the challenge.

The handbook guides you and your team through:

  • The Wicked Problem
  • GCC framework and principles
  • GCC 2024 schedule
  • Video submission process.

All teams prepare a 2-minute video application after working through the playbooks at school.

Step 4: Submit your video application

Video submissions closed on Friday 31 May 2024 (Term 2, Week 5).

Step 5: Virtual semifinals

A total of 120 teams will take part in the virtual semifinals held in Week 4 and 5 in Term 3.

The semifinals are the design stage of the Game Changer Challenge and takes place over a single day, live online from your school. This stage is all about empathy, ideation, communicationn and innovative problem-solving.

Step 6: Grand final

20 teams will participate in the grand final event hosted at the department's Parramatta office in Term 4, Week 4.

The grand final is where teams will create and finalise their prototype and present their solutions to judges and industry partners at the Ideas Expo.

Video: Teacher experience at GCC 2023 (duration 1:36)

GCC 2023 teachers share the benefits of entering the Game Changer Challenge.

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


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Communication and Engagement
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