Digital illuminate:nextgen Challenge

The illuminate:nextgen Challenge is the flagship program of illuminate Education Australia, providing high school students with an authentic entrepreneurial environment for them to activate the confidence, creativity and capability to reach their full potential through solving problems in their community.

Supported by experienced facilitators at every stage with input from the community and our partners, participants work in teams to develop a new project or business idea while developing key life skills including:


  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Presentation Skills


  • Critical Thinking
  • Inquiry (Research)
  • Digital Literacy
  • Financial Literacy

Solving Problems

  • Creativity
  • Design Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Reflection


  • Collaboration
  • Organisation
  • Perseverance

With over 12,500 students across Australia having completed the program – and a vast majority completing our week-long illuminate:nextgen Challenge – alongside international recognition for our work, the challenge is an incredibly impactful experience that will leave your students, teachers and wider community inspired for years to come.

What Does A [in-person] Program Look Like?

With so many elements built into the illuminate:nextgen Challenge, it can be hard to put it all into words.

To help with that, our partners at Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand produced this video in association with the University of Newcastle’s Ourimbah Campus, where over 150 students from 12 different schools came up with new ideas in agribusiness and connecting consumers to local produce in 2017. You will see key sessions throughout the challenge and journey with teams and their teachers as they grew in their confidence, creativity and capability with the challenge.

Digital Delivery Mode

In response to the current restrictions due to COVID-19, we have adapted the challenge to allow students to complete the five-day experience virtually from their own school. The digital challenge also allows individual students joining with other schools to collaborate and complete the challenge.

The whole process is still facilitated by staff from illuminate Education Australia, with industry and community collaboration throughout to create a similar experience in the virtual environment.

Throughout the challenge experience, a range of digital technologies are used to allow students to collaborate effectively – but also to take into account that students should also have a break from screens throughout the intense experience. Click on each of the following to find out more about the mix of technologies that we use.

Live Sessions

Interactive live sessions where students can interact with facilitators and speakers to be on the same page and give real-time progress updates.


These are streamed using a video platform installed on servers that are 100% Australian. It is accessible through most web browsers so no additional software needs to be installed on computers.

Filmed Information Sessions

Pre-filmed sessions on key concepts including financial accounting, marketing, strategy, collaboration, inquiry and communication techniques that are uploaded to YouTube.


They can be downloaded in advance if the internet connection is poor.

Chat Platform for Collaboration

Software that allows for regular collaboration and is used for each team to meet, discuss and complete the challenge.


We either use what the school uses or an illuminate Education Australia provided platform. This platform is hosted in Australia. It is accessible through most web browsers so no additional software needs to be installed on computers.

Online Resource Website

Creates an easy space for students to access key information and gain assistance from additional information that supports the challenge. All work is submitted in the same space.

Through the text-based chat platform and the video conference platform, illuminate Education Australia facilitators are always on standby, ready to help teams, discuss issues or provide assistance with their proposed solution to thrive throughout the challenge experience.

The Innovation Process

Across the week, students explore the innovative process designed by illuminate Education Australia, growing in their skills and confidence within themselves throughout the journey.

Stage 1

Teams grow their understanding of a relevant issue in their community.

Stage 2

Teams creatively explore and refine possible solutions to their defined problem.

Stage 3

Teams develop business models for sustained impact as well as marketing materials that connect with target customers.

Stage 4

Teams present the idea for support and showcase how their team will work collaboratively to deliver the solution.

Stage 5

Teams prototype their solution and test it in a stressful situation.

Stage 6

After completing the challenge, teams can take their idea further and make it real.

Contact Us

We’re always eager to hear from people who are interested in what we do – whether you are a school, a potential partner or someone who just wants to get on board with what we do. You can either get in touch with us directly below, or else use the form on this page and we’ll respond to you shortly;

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