My Big Idea

The My Big Idea campaign has been inviting everyday Australians to stop and think about what we’d like to see improved about our country.

Anyone can submit an idea and vote for other peoples’ ideas, and the top 10 winning ideas will be brought to life. A further 500 people will be invited to participate in an innovation capacity-building program.

You might be drawn to vote for ideas like Kenny Chy’s suggestion to teach young people ‘life admin’ or a novel proposal to allow people to switch houses to move to more convenient suburbs for their work places. Or perhaps an idea that you are passionate about professionally will catch your eye, like the proposal to restore river vegetation corridors (one I voted for!).

My big idea quoteBut why seek to solve complex policy solutions via crowd sourcing non-experts?! The project mission is “to make it easier in Australia to make long-term decisions”, according to Ralph Ashton, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Australian Futures Project’s (who are coordinating the My Big Idea campaign). An important part of that is opening up difficult conversations and promoting positive, pro-active dialogues and broader engagement with policy issues that effect our everyday lives.

Many share Ralph’s frustration that the excellent knowledge and enthusiasm available in Australia is all too often stymied, in what is supposed to be our ‘Innovation Nation’. Shaking up the status quo and building the bridges required for transformation takes time, and this project is one step in the right direction, particularly given that many Australians currently feel powerless and dissatisfied with our parliamentary representatives.


The My Big Idea campaign has got me thinking…

  • How do we overcome cynicism and provide enough momentum for ordinary people to take small steps towards change? A cultural change is needed in Australia to remove ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.
  • What is the role of experts in a democracy? Academics don’t have all the answers, so how can experts work better with the general public?
  • True engagement – the number one issue that arose out of the initial focus groups for My Big Idea was ‘Caring for the elderly’ – a surprise to many. How can we get to grips with understanding what people really care about across the population?

My Big Idea is ‘reverse policy internships’ – what’s yours?

reverse policy internshipsWhen browsing through the top 10 topic areas on the My Big Idea website, thinking about what I could contribute, I stopped on ‘effective government’ because a healthier, more sustainable relationship between Australians and our environment (my primary interest) is impossible to achieve without good governance. So, My Big Idea, reverse policy internships, is to develop a policy internship program – for policy makers to spend time in industry, academia, in the broader community, to encourage shared learning and awareness of a wider range of knowledge and values. It’s really just ‘my little idea’, but if it gets a conversation started, I’m happy with that!

More on… submitting your big idea (by 3 August 2016)

If you don’t have a perfect idea front of mind, I found it is easiest to start by browsing the shortlisted top 10 topic areas, and seeing which best fits with your interests. The ‘accountability’ header caught my eye and the accompanying video really got me thinking. ‘Concern for future generations’ has received the greatest number of ideas to date, and ‘honesty’ has attracted original ideas like the introduction of seasonal honesty days. You will need to register to submit your idea and to vote – but it’s quick and easy.

More on… voting for the best big ideas (by 10 August 2016)

The easy bit – and you can vote for as many great ideas as you like! There are plenty of ideas to browse through and a neat search function. Simply click ‘vote’ on any you love.


More on… the Australian Futures Project

Relatively new to the thought leadership scene in Australia, the Australian Futures Project is not politically aligned and is a not-for-profit organisation. In addition to the My Big Idea campaign they have coordinated leadership training for parliamentarians, convened and executed innovation activities with NSW agriculturalists and explored ways to tackle the fear of failure culture in our society and politics.




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