LIFEHACK announces New Zealand’s first Social Innovation Lab

10 June 2014

Are you interested in using entrepreneurship to solve complex social problems? LIFEHACK is calling for Kiwis to take part in Lifehack Labs: New Zealand’s first Social Innovation Lab.

Lifehack logo

Applications are now open for participants and mentors to take part in Lifehack Labs, a five week long, design boot camp, that will kick-start high impact problem-solving projects to improve youth wellbeing.

Using entrepreneurship to solve complex social problems, the Social Innovation Lab is a first for New Zealand, joining a small number of emerging Labs that tackle systemic issues around the world.

“Just like a scientific lab is used to solve complex scientific problems, a social innovation lab is used to find solutions to ‘wicked’ social issues,” says Sam Rye, Programme Director of Lifehack Labs.

Lifehack Labs is the latest collaborative initiative from Wellington-based organisation Enspiral Foundation, in partnership with Ministry for Social Development.

“After running a series of weekend events to see how technology can be used to tackle youth mental health and improve wellbeing, we found that people around the country were excited about using their skills and talents to build digital tools such as mobile apps, responsive websites and social media campaigns which would improve the lives of friends and whanau.

“We knew that weekend events would never go deep enough to build resilient teams who would be able to do the hard yards and take these technology ideas to scale. So we’re delighted to announce Lifehack Labs – the bootcamp for people looking to solve problems that matter,” says Sam.

Applications are now open for the five week long programme, which kicks off in mid-August 2014. The social innovation lab will be run in Wellington, which is establishing itself as a vibrant tech start-up scene with the likes of Xero, Powershop and Trade Me all headquartered in the capital.

Using the power of creativity and social entrepreneurship, Lifehack Labs seek to give people the platform to develop solutions to the challenges they see in the world. By educating, challenging and inspiring through engaging experiences, a custom tailored support programme will make the digital solutions from the Lifehack Labs available to wider audiences.

Lifehack Labs will require participants to step up to a full-time commitment during the five week programme. Stipends will be offered for accommodation for successful Lifehack applicants.

“We’re looking for the Kiwis who have unreasonable hopes for their own lives and for improving the future of rangatahi (young people) in New Zealand. Progress comes from unreasonable people – so we’re putting the call out to the doers, the tinkerers and the dreamers who want to put their skills to use to solve problems that matter,” says Chelsea Robinson, Lifehack Labs co-lead.

“We seek talented people from diverse backgrounds – graphic designers, game developers, mobile fanatics, anthropologists, user experience specialists, entrepreneurs and psychologists – to join us for a unique opportunity to spend five weeks mashing up the best of technology with youth wellbeing research; and social innovation skills with entrepreneurship,” she says..

Around the world, cross-sector partnerships are emerging to teach entrepreneurship to people who want to take on complex social problems.

“When we connect and share ideas with our peers in Singapore, London, Melbourne, Bali and Canada, we see multi-million dollar projects in progressive nations.

“There are already projects like Good for Nothing, HopeLabs, ReachOut.com and HackingHealth who are all part of the wellbeing-tech space; and we know that Lifehack Labs will have a lot to offer to this community too,” says Sam.

Lifehack Labs will convene a range of industry mentors, alongside programme partners including Enspiral, Akina Foundation, and Ministry of Social Development from Wellington.

Twenty places are available for the Lifehack Labs experience. Lifehack is aiming for 80% of the participants to be under 30 years of age. Applications for Lifehack Labs close on 29 June 2014. More information can be found by clicking here.

Opportunities for mentors and partners to join the Labs experience are still available. If you’d like to find out more about how you can share your skills and expertise with 20 of New Zealand’s brightest young minds, contact Chelsea Robinson.