Explore how your organisation engages with young people.

The world needs a new way to engage with young people.


Around the world young people are leading the way in solving the big economic, social and environmental challenges of our time. They are using technology, innovation, networks, optimism, and their ability to think globally, to contribute ideas for change.

Our best future will depend on how well young people are engaged to rethink our world.


This tool will help you look at how you currently engage young people, so that you harness this resource to make your organisation more successful and relevant. It will take around 15 minutes to complete. At the end you will have a report on your current approach, as well as some ideas for improvement.


  • Feeling curious?
  • The case for rethinking youth engagement
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  • How your organisation can use this diagnosis
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  • Learn more by clicking on these coloured boxes through- out the tool.

Tell us a little bit about your organisation.

Hang on there! Please make a choice.



We'll need to know a bit about your organisation and why you're here!

Let's start with a few quick questions.

What type of organisation are you?

Which of the following groups of young people are you looking to better engage with?



If your organisation engages with both groups we'd encourage you to use this tool twice to see how your engagement practices compare for young people who are internal and external to your organisation.

Which of the following age groups are you primarily aiming to engage with?

Which of the following best describes your situation and type of assistance you need?

Does your organisation work within any of these social and environmental sectors? Check all that apply.

Which of the following industry groups does your business work in? Check all that apply.



Thank you!

Next we'll identify the key challenge your organisation is facing. Click on the down arrow button to move on.




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What are the challenges your organisation is facing?

Hmmm...it would appear that we don't know anything about you! If you could just scroll your way back up and fill out a few screening questions we can then identify a set of problems and challenges that typically match you as an organisation.

In this section we're asking you to identify which challenges your organisation is concerned about. You'll be asked to select from a set of six key challenge themes that organisations like yours might be confronting now, or are likely to encounter in the future.

That's it! You've identified challenges that you're experiencing from our list.

If you've got other issues you'd like to let us know about please describe them below.


And when you're done click the down arrow to answer just a handful more questions to complete the diagnosis.

How are you engaging with young people today?

Whoa wait there... We'll need you to make a choice to continue.




Hmmm...it would appear that we don't know anything about you! If you could just scroll your way back up and fill out a few screening questions and identify some of your challenges we can come back here shortly!.



This section asks you to choose from options that 'best describe' how your organisation engages with young people today, and your organisation's capacity and appetite to change.

These questions are slightly longer but shouldn't take more than a few minutes to answer.

Which of the following tools and techniques are you using to engage young people today?

That's all for the questions. You're diagnosis is ready!

Your diagnosis shows your current youth engagement approach, your capacity for change and innovation, and the relative importance of a set of key tools and capabilities for better engaging with young people that are matched to your challenges.

Some of these concepts might be new to you, or you might know them by another name. Either way, we've included information and case studies to illustrate each of these tools and capabilities that you can access from the diagnosis or from the supplementary module that follows it.

To help you better understand your diagnosis, we've included a guide option that will take you through each part of the diagnosis. You can start this by clicking the GUIDE ME button, and move through each section by clicking on the series of NEXT buttons. Alternatively you can click on any part of the diagnosis to zoom in and read the explanatory commentary.

Start here
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Your youth engagement diagnosis.

youth engagement diagnosis our organisational assessment GUIDE ME key challenges we face with young people Here's a summary of the big problems you've identified for your organisation. These are challenges where young people could be better engaged to help, and form the basis of our diagnosis of the tools and capabilities your organisation should focus on to engage with young people. how are we engaging with young people today our engagement approach inform consult involve collaborate empower our understanding of the challenge and need to improve engagement low high our willingness to innovate to improve low high our capacity and resources to improve our engagement approach low high These assessments are based on your responses. They provide a first-pass interpretation of your current approach and should be treated as indicative only. These assessments are high level. Don't be too upset if your dots seem a bit low. And don't be too excited if your ratings are higher than you think! NEXT working with young people on our organisations challenges tools and capabilities we need to better engage young people high relevance to our challenges low Co-design Coaching and facilitation Cultural Intelligence Digital engagement Rethinking young people Social entrepreneurship SEE THE OVERVIEW NEXT We're seeing organisations work with young people to achieve incredible outcomes for both their own mission and for young people. These organisations are using a collection of new tools and capabilities that resonate with young people today. We've grouped these tools into six areas in this chart, and rated their relevance and effectiveness against the types of challenges you've identified for your organisation. The tools and capabilities we think are suited to your challenges float further to the right. You can learn more about each one by clicking on the leaves. HOW WE COMPARE co-design. is about putting young people in the center of the design and decision making process for creating (or tweaking) systems, policies and products why use it when to use how it works in practice Co-design shifts our thinking from working for young people to working with young people. The process creates a dynamic, participatory and iterative approach that leads to better outcomes and social innovation. Co-design is suited for dealing with complex problems that require diverse perspectives and skills to create innovative solutions. For example, young people have unique strengths in areas like: 1) creative technology 2) thinking globally and 3) experimenting with new systems and models. Co-design is participatory: young people are involved in all phases of a design process: • empathising with young people to define the problem or challenge through their eyes and in their language • having young people contribute and develop ideas for solutions • iterative prototyping and testing of ideas and solutions with young people. See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about co-design in practice with young people. coaching & facilitation. is about guiding a group toward a shared outcome by creating a safe space that support individual perspectives and form unique approaches to problems and challenges. why use it when to use how it works in practice Coaching and facilitation shifts our thinking from the traditional 'teacher-student' type relationship of one-way communication, to an environment where agency and potential of young people is enabled: a safe space for learning and collaboration (and failure). Coaching and facilitation are especially useful for problems where personal beliefs, biases and perceptions impact on groups of young people and their outcomes. Coaches and facilitators manage and match their self-awareness with group-awareness (i.e. by 'reading the room') to form insight into how best to engage participants to define the problem or challenge through their eyes and language. depending on the challenge type and group dynamics, (and in conjunction with a healthy dose of spontaneity), facilitators draw on a different set of facilitation tools to engage and support a group. See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about facilitation in practice with young people. cultural intelligence. Is about how to function effectively in different cultural contexts through awareness of personal biases. It helps us see inequality through the lens of structural power dynamics based on gender, race, class etc. why use it when to use how it works in practice Young people - like all of us - see the world though their cultural background. But cultures often set expectations on young people, which we need to be aware of in order to engage and help them thrive. Cultural intelligence can benefit any challenge where social interactions are important. However cultural intelligence is especially powerful when dealing in challenges that drive social change. Meaningful social change reduces inequalities that are underpinned by structural power and privilege. Cultural intelligence is by nature a personal skill that can be developed through experience and self reflection. For organisational challenges, the infusion of cultural intelligence in the design of a youth engagement approach is invaluable to ensure appropriateness and meaning. See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about cultural intelligence in practice with young people. digital engagement. is about making the most of digital capabilities and emerging technologies for engaging young people in co-designing products, services, learning experiences or campaigns why use it when to use how it works in practice Digital has become an essential part of engagement. young people today are expected not only to use digital systems, but to configure, build and re-imagine them. Young people do not distinguish between face-to-face and digital experiences; the two blend seamlessly together. Both should always be considered when designing experiences for and interactions with young people. Various digital tools - including social media, apps, and digital communities - might be used to co-design: • customised, student-centered learning experiences • products and services that are relevant to young people • content strategy for campaigns See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about digital engagement in practice with young people. rethinking young people. is about seeing young people in a different way. It is appreciating their value and unique strengths rather than perceiving them as a problem to be solved. why use it when to use how it works in practice Young people will inherit complex global challenges - like climate change, geopolitical instability, inequality - and an increasingly uncertain job market. But they aren’t being prepared for this. Exploring the lens through which young people are perceived is core to any successful engagement with young people. Rethinking young people requires a shift in mindset towards a strengths based approach. It also involves understanding the complex context that young people are operating in today, as well as t he social, economic and environmental drivers of change. See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about organisations who are already rethinking the role of young people. social entrepreneurship. is about new and existing tools and models for creating transformative change available to young people today. It includes market-based, policy-based and other interventions why use it when to use how it works in practice Young people will inherit complex global challenges - like climate change, geopolitical instability, inequality - but aren’t being prepared for this. Groups of young people thinking about creating change on a local community or global level need access to skills, networks and connection to social purpose (i.e. tools for social entrepreneurship and innovation). Multi-disciplinary problem solving, design thinking, theory of change, and business model design are some of the many tools used for social innovation, whether you are an activist, advocate, or social entrepreneur. See the gallery of case studies that follows this diagnosis to read about social entrepreneurship in practice with young people.

How are we doing compared to others?



Be inspired: how organisations are engaging young people to tackle their challenges

Organisations are already achieving amazing outcomes by embracing these new tools and capabilities for working with young people. We've added some case studies here to inspire you to think about how your organisation might re-imagine how you engage with young people. We'll be adding more case studies to this list shortly so please stay tuned!

  • Code for Australia: Hacking open data for a better government
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    Hacking for better government.

    What can government’s do to create better solutions to issues as complex and varied as celebrating Aboriginal culture and history, intergenerational skills exchange, harm minimisation for passive smoking, climate change adaptation, place-making, mobility and accessibility, waste management and education, growth, and digital inclusion?

    Young data hackers partner with local government and community find solutions to complex community challenges

    Three city councils in Victoria – Melbourne, Ballarat and Greater Geelong – recently explored solutions to fifteen critical challenges through a collaboration with FYA young social pioneers alumni Alvaro Maz’s Code for Australia and the Municipal Association of Victoria Technology. The project put young fellows in the councils for six weeks to explore the challenges through data released in GovHack 2015 — an annual competition involving the release of government data..  The fellows helped identify social challenges, procure related datasets, and engage government and community organisations to work on solving the challenges together.

    Fifty-four projects were undertaken and eight won awards in the competition for Best Open Government Data Hack, Best Policy Insight Hack, Best Journalism Data Hack, Best Professional Team, Best WWI Hack, Best Mitigation Disaster Hack and Best Public Servant Team. Commendations were also given for Most Useful Product or Service for the Public, Indigenous Issues, Structure of Government Bounty, Best Journalism Data Hack, Best Entrepreneurial Hack and Best Youth Team.  The project was also awarded a MAV Exemplar Award of Excellence at the Municipal Association of Victoria Technology Conference.

    The project has demonstrated an effective way for governments, young technology fellows and the community to co-design innovative service and policy improvements using open data. 

  • SA Government: Students co-designing education in South Australia
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    Students co-designing education

    Nine schools in South Australia have been involving young people in the co-design of learning with teachers, and have demonstrated dramatic outcomes:

    Students and teachers co-design teaching and learning in South Australian government schools.

    • improved standards of learning and achievement in literacy and numeracy, mathematics and science
    • increased proportion of students achieving their South Australian Certificate of Education
    • reduced gap between highest and lowest achievers, and
    • improved teacher quality and leadership capacity.

    The Teaching for Effective Learning (TfEL) pilot was established by the South Australian Government’s Department of Education and Child Development in response to research that showed more effort was needed to create engaging and intellectually stretching learning experiences for young people (S.A. Pedagogy and PISA). 

    In the pilot, students work shoulder to shoulder with teachers and leaders to co-design learning.  Students provide critical and creative thinking and feedback and have proved to be powerful change agents in shifting ideas about effective learning and teaching.  The pilot schools have developed:
    • democratic feedback processes between students and teachers
    • students’ co-designing learning with their teachers
    • students involvement in teachers’ facilitated professional learning and development.

    These practices are building teacher capacity, changing the way students and teachers perceive each other, and are informing future systemic strategic action.  More importantly they are shifting outcomes for young people.

  • Student Volunteer Army: Mobilising a student army in in response to natural disasters
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    Students mobilising for natural disasters

    Christchurch’s students have organised into a “Student Volunteer Army” (SVA) that rapidly deploys in the wake of natural disasters.

    Following earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010, students organised a SVA through Facebook. Over 2 500 students cleared over 65 000 tons of liquefaction from properties. By the time the 2011 earthquakes occurred, they had built a mobile management system to prioritise the deployment of volunteers based on the needs of residents logged by website, text or call. They were able to mass deploy volunteers who:

    Mobilising a Student Volunteer Army in natural disasters

    • provided 75 000 volunteer hours to shovel over 360 000 tons of liquefaction from properties
    • delivered chemical toilets and information pamphlets
    • provide a street presence to provide meals, clean water, sandbagging and assistance to those affected
    • saved the Government over $1million in labour costs (at minimum wage)

    By March 2011 the SVA’s Facebook page had 26 000 followers and they now also off the community one-off activities throughout the year to connect the community, encourage community sharing, or build or restore community parks or buildings.

    The SVA has worked because it is organising in a way that is appealing to young people. It puts young people in the driver seat – utilising their skills at collaboration, open-source technology, and networks – to let them lead, learn, think and solve problems together, with the community. 

    They are sharing their model of coordination and leadership to mobilise young people in disaster affected regions across the globe including Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Pacific Islands and Nepal.

    The SVA is making a difference to communities, translating skills between generations, and making service part of the student lifestyle. 

    Find out more about their work at: www.sva.org.nz

  • myEd Rethinking teaching using new learning management systems
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    Rethinking teaching with technology

    In a world of information abundance, the role of teachers is shifting from content dissemination to facilitating and contextualising content through practical projects. Simultaneously the boundary between face to face and online experiences for young people is disappearing. Teachers are looking for intuitive, simple tools to help them navigate their new role in an increasingly digital world.

    Young people working with teachers to create a new learning experience

    myEd is a next generation online learning platform co-created by innovative schools around Australia to help easily empower teachers to redefine the way they use technology in their classroom. This represents a transition from the industrial-age one size fits all model to a more individualised, project based learning model that meets each student at their point of need.

    myEd is underpinned by a student-centred learning pedagogy. It enables students to not just be consumers of learning, but creators. This means that students can create their own learning journeys. In some cases, students have designed and run teacher professional development on how to use the platform effectively.

    myEd promotes a model of learning that helps students build enterprising skills, such as collaboration, problem solving and digital literacy, which they need to navigate the changing world of work.

    myEd provides a seamless workflow to help a teacher better deliver deeper learning, and challenge students at their point of need to become passionate, fully engaged and self-driven students.

    Find out more about the myEd platform at www.myedapp.com

  • OurSay: Digital conversation platform gives young people their say
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    Digital conversation platform gives young people their say in Hepburn

    Hepburn Shire drastically increased the input of young people in its Youth Strategy by adopting the innovative digital conversation platform, OurSay.

    Working out what young people want through digital conversation

    OurSay is a social enterprise revitalising democratic participation through digital engagement. It provides a platform that allows organisations to use digital engagement to get their leaders closer to their community’s opinions to make good decisions.

    OurSay helped Hepburn Shire involve young people in the design of its youth strategy through a digital town hall. This conversation platform could be accessed by young people across the Shire’s widely dispersed small rural towns at any time.

    It dramatically increased engagement with young people, crowd sourcing 300 ideas from residents aged 14 to 24. The 300 ideas were submitted and viewed over 1 200 times, in a municipality with a population of less than 15 000.

    Hepburn Shire have praised the effectiveness of OurSay's innovative digital engagement platform saying that it allowed them to “drastically increase the number of young people who engaged with our consultation process. Being a rural Shire made up of a number of small towns and with only one Secondary College, a lot of young people travel outside the area for School and other activities. Using this platform allowed us to have a forum for engagement they could access at any time and from anywhere.” (Adam McSwain)

    Find out more about the OurSay platform at www.oursay.org

  • Case studies: More of these case studies to be. added soon...
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    Want to read about more case studies?

    We'll be adding more case studies and links to this section shortly. Please check back soon.



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