Young people put their mark on the future at Vivid Sydney


On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in conjunction with The Powerhouse Museum, host fastBREAK, a rapid fire event showcasing young innovators. Starting at 8am, five speakers are given five minutes to tell the story of their innovation – and why it chose them (or why they chose it). But this month the format has changed. It’s bigger and bolder. And it’s on this Sunday as part of Vivid Sydney.

With the theme SAVE THE WORLD, this fastBREAK will feature 5-minute talks by:

  • Senator Scott Ludlam, outspoken Greens Senator for WA
  • Tom Tilley, triple j’s Hack’s man about town
  • Jess Scully, the creative powerhouse behind Sydney’s Vivid Ideas festival
  • Urthboy, music innovator, entrepreneur and performer
  • Dan Ilic, comedian and driving force behind A Rational Fear
  • Ella Weisbrot, social justice and climate change campaigner with AYCC
  • Alex Greenwich, the independent Member of Parliament for Sydney

vw-fastbreal Jess Scully, festival director of Vivid Ideas and returning fastBREAK headliner said, “Creative people can – and will – save the world. We’ve got the skills, the passion, the radical point of view. When you empower young, creative people to use those skills they’re pretty much unstoppable – because they bring the vital elements of energy and optimism to the mix.”

Since launching in 2010, fastBREAK’s five minute format has showcased over a hundred creative changemakers and provided the inspiration for many more.

At fastBREAK – Save the World – in addition to the speakers, there are also two workshops and a band. And the world famous (ok, locally famous) breakfast courtesy of Black Star Pastry, and visual installations and storytelling courtesy of Sydney Digital Publishing (SDP).

When: Sunday 25 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, 2007


Pitch the Future–Young Social Innovators in Action


You know what it’s like when inspiration hits … an idea galvanises in your mind like a bolt of electricity, sending your pulse racing. And the more you think on it, the more you feel your nerve fibres tingling.

But what happens when you tell someone about your idea? Your mouth dries. The words tumble out one on top of the other … you get tongue tied, excited and afraid. What happens if someone steals your brilliance? What if your idea is no good?

Now imagine, that you are taking your idea and pitching it to a room of strangers. Imagine that this idea is a deep seated passion and could have a real social impact if successful. And then imagine pitching your idea against four other people just as passionate about their idea as you are about yours.

Pitch the Future event at the Vivid Ideas Festival last night. Check out the story as it unfolded below. And who won? You’ll have to follow along to find out!

Vibewire’s 6 Under 26 – Australia’s Hottest Young Innovators


When we think and talk about innovation our attention naturally tends towards a vision for the future.

But more often than not, that vision of the future is being set by middle aged women and men. Leaders of political parties, “captains of industry”, and community leaders of every size and shape tend to achieve their status not only through their commitment and enterprise but also due to their age. And often, I wonder, where is the voice of youth? Where is the perspective of those young people who will have to live with the decisions made now?

That’s why I am excited to share the great work of Sydney, Australia-based not-for-profit, Vibewire. Today they have announced the 6 under 26 – Australia’s hottest young innovators to watch in the year ahead.

The young innovators tipped to make the world a better place come from a broad range of backgrounds, from indigenous youth empowerment initiatives, sustainable food movements to programs that foster social entrepreneurship in high schools to organisations that encourage young women to take up engineering and technology.

Over the last 12 years, Vibewire has helped launch over 90 startups and kickstarted the careers of hundreds of young people. But this type of innovation does not occur in a vacuum. It requires incubation and support.

You can help Vibewire support more young change makers by joining this crowdfunding campaign. With a one-off donation from as little as $10, you will be contributing to a vision of the future that young people have a hand in creating. Support this great organisation here.

Vibewire’s fastBREAK – Lies

Each month, Vibewire, in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts a fascinating and always illuminating event that showcases innovators and the ideas, passions and personal motivations that inspire them. Each person is asked to share the personal story – the WHY, not the WHAT or the HOW. In a way – fastBREAK is like a TEDtalks for young people.

In July, the topic for the month was “lies”. Why do we lie and what does it say about us and our world. This topic was explored by

  • Hannah Law, social media director with Switched On Media
  • Tim Burrowes, journalist extraordinaire and driving force behind Mumbrella
  • Simon Cant, innovation consultant at CANTT
  • Jack Hilton, magician known as the Great Hiltini
  • Dev Singh, entrepreneur and marketing strategist at Sketchpad Ideas

As always, it was a brilliant morning, with Sydney’s art and business communities mingling in the Powerhouse Museum’s fantastic Boiler Room, nourished and inspired by the BlackStar Pastry’s inventive deliciousness.

fastBREAK happens on the lasts Friday of every month from 7:45am. Everyone is welcome – and if you’ve never come, we’d love to see you there in September. Put it into your diary today!

Vibewire’s fastBREAK – like TEDtalks for young people

At Vibewire, where I serve as honorary president, we have a vision of inclusion and leadership for young people. We say it’s about ensuring young people participate in the “conversations that matter”.

A great example of this is our monthly fastBREAK event (last Friday of every month). It showcases the passions, ideas and often very personal motivations that inspire our young artists and innovators. Produced in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, fastBREAK has become a vital event in Sydney’s cultural life – connecting young artists, innovators and entrepreneurs with like minds from the government, business and creative industries sectors.

Last month we had a stellar line up of speakers:

  • Luke Geary, managing partner of Salvos Legal
  • Annalie Killian, director of innovation at AMP
  • Nic Newling, youth mental health advocate with Bite Back
  • Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney
  • Marita Cheng, inventor and Young Australian of the Year

You can watch last month’s speakers in action using the playlist below (it will take about 30 minutes all-in-all). Or better yet, come along to the next event live. You’ll leave inspired, well-fed (thanks to the Black Star Pastry folks) and feeling part of a vibrant community. I hope to see you there!

When a Kid’s Perspective Challenges Your Own

As President of local youth non-profit organisation, Vibewire, I am constantly amazed at the energy, insight and passion of the young people that I come in contact with. But often, these opinions, ideas and insights are ignored by others – by the mainstream media, employers, opinion leaders and by those with “more experience”.

And yet, some of the most stimulating conversations that I have ever had have come from being inclusive – from asking for the input of others. So what happens when young people are given the skills and opportunity to lead discussion? How can it challenge us all? How can it open our minds?

These are some of the questions that are at the core of Vibewire’s regular monthly fastBREAK event, co-hosted at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. We give five people, five minutes to share their story and their passion.

It strikes me that these stories and these types of event are ever more important in a society where public opinion and media can be bought at market rates and exercised in the favour of those with the means beyond the dreams of the many. How do we take the “long view” when the bombardment of media narrows our vision to the next week, next budget or next election?

Maybe we need a new perspective – a fresh pair of eyes on the road to our shared futures. Take a few minutes to watch this great TEDx talk by 11 year old, Birke Baehr. His topic is the “food system” – but his vision is long and his message clear – “We can either pay the farmer or we can pay the hospital”. Apply the same thinking to the other industries that we see toppling – and think about the type of world you want to live in. How do you participate? You can start by joining us at the next fastBREAK. It might just amaze you.

Vibewire’s fastBREAK Featuring Dan Ilic

On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts #fastBREAK – a breakfast event featuring young innovators and creatives. This is not just a chance for people to “pitch” to the assembled audience of curious business people, artists and entrepreneurs – it goes a step deeper – challenging the speakers to share something deeper – to share a sense of purpose.

Last Friday, with the umbrella theme of “Rage”, five speakers again assembled to engage and entertain the audience. On the bill was well-known comedian and performer, Dan Ilic. Through storytelling, anecdotes and a spot of culture jamming, he showed just how young innovators are challenging the norms, the political narratives of our times and moving from “rage to action”.

The next #fastBREAK will be held slightly out of sequence – on May 18. It is part of the Sydney Writers Festival and promises to be literary, challenging and more than entertaining. It’s like a breakfast that’s good for you …

And don’t forget – the event is sponsored by the pastry gurus from Black Star Pastry in Newtown. It’s the best $10 you’ve ever spent in Sydney! Be sure to book early!

Take a #fastBREAK and Play This Friday

I can still remember the sketchy, randomness of the very first #fastBREAK event that we held back in 2009. Rather than spending a Friday morning drinking coffee and chatting with friends before work, we went out on a limb. I asked Scott Drummond, Jye Smith, Isadore Biffin, Elias Bizannes and Matt Moore to give us five minutes of insight and passion. And together they inspired a movement.

Three years later, Vibewire’s #fastBREAK series is a cornerstone of Australia’s innovation scene – drawing young, established, mid-career and seasoned speakers into an intergenerational conversation with a curious and inquisitive audience.

Co-produced by the Powerhouse Museum, #fastBREAK is a brilliant opportunity to step out from behind your device, computer or even your TV and soak up inspiration and imagination from people who are pushing against the envelope of social innovation and creative industrial practice. It’s an hour of ideas, passion and personal storytelling from 7:45am on the last Friday of every month. It is designed to get you out of bed, fed, caffeinated and inspired and then off to work.

But don’t take my word for it – book in and see for yourself.It’s the best $10 you’ll spend this week.

Are You the Agent of Your Own Change?

Have you ever made a deep change in your life? Did you look at the status quo and decide you didn’t like the shape, smell or grind that defined your life? If so – did you have the courage to change? Did you make that u-turn?

At the recent fastBREAK event – Vibewire’s co-production with the Powerhouse Museum, five speakers explored this topic. My favourite was this one story by Phil Gomes. He explains how he was able to turn his interest and passion for bikes and cycling into a job as an online editor with SBS Cycling Central.

It wasn’t easy – or even quick. But Phil makes the point – “be the agent of your own change”.

How Young People Are Faring in 2011

HYPAF-cover-full-report-236x335 Can you remember when you first left home? Do you remember what it felt like – that first week – being solely responsible for all aspects of your life? For me, it was thrilling, but also daunting. It was really only in the silence of that first night that the reality set in – childhood was seriously over, and this new life was entirely in my own hands.

I finished school during an economic recession and walked into a competitive and shrinking job market. I’d done well enough at school yet still found it hard to secure that vital first job. I can remember feeling the pressure, the desperation and exhaustion of doing interview after interview. It took longer than I ever expected to retire from the ranks of the unemployed.

But in 2011, times are better, right? We are more economically stable – secure and growing than we have been in decades. Some would even say, we are “booming”. But the Foundation for Young Australians’ new report How Young People are Faring 2011 suggests that this prosperity and wealth is not “trickling down”. In fact, key findings indicate that young people are more vulnerable than the rest of the population to economic instability:

  • more than one quarter of all long-term unemployed Australians are now aged 15 to 24
  • since 2008, the percentage of young Australians without a job for a year or longer has almost doubled
  • despite Australia’s relative economic buoyancy, teenagers in Australia have higher rates of long-term unemployment than in many other OECD countries.

In my view, this means that we need to redouble our focus on catapulting young people into the workforce. It’s about ensuring they have the support, confidence and capability to transition into the world of work in such a way that it benefits all.

This is precisely why the work that I do with local non-profit Vibewire is important – it’s pointless having opportunity available if you aren’t able to understand it, grasp it and accept it. The team at Vibewire work everyday to build resilience, capacity and skills through a vibrant internship program, this year generating over 20,000 hours of experience for young people. You can support Vibewire, become involved as a mentor or even as an intern. Please do – you  won’t regret it.

The full FYA report is available for download here.