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Innovating for a Better World: Australian Changemakers Shine at the World Summit Awards 2024

In the picturesque Los Lagos region of Southern Chile, nestled amidst breathtaking natural landscapes and a burgeoning hub of conservation efforts and environmentally conscious innovation, the World Summit Awards (WSA) 2024 celebrated its 18th Global Congress. With “planet_hack” as its central theme, this year’s congress underscored the urgency of climate change—the defining issue of our era. The aim was clear: to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds, ecosystems, and expertise areas to exchange knowledge and collaborate towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The congress was divided into three crucial subcategories: Hacking the Climate, Hacking Social Cohesion, and Hacking Impact Entrepreneurship – each addressing pivotal challenges and opportunities in today’s world. Under the patronage of UNESCO, the event served not only as a platform for dialogue but also as a beacon of hope and innovation.

Among the highlights of the WSA 2024 was the notable success of Australian winners, who shone brightly on the international stage. Out of 182 participating UN member countries, Australia distinguished itself with the highest number of winners from one country, boasting three groundbreaking projects that exemplify the spirit of innovation and social entrepreneurship:

  1. Culture & Heritage: Audio Guides by Vacayit
  2. Health & Well-Being: Risk of Hospitalisation Module by PenCS
  3. Learning & Education: ELLDI by The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation

Particularly outstanding was the achievement of Audio Guides by Vacayit, which clinched the “WSA Global Championship” in the Culture & Heritage category. This innovative solution has changed the way people experience and interact with cultural and heritage sites, leveraging technology to enrich the tourism experience with accessible, engaging, and informative audio guides.

In the domain of Health & Well-Being, the Risk of Hospitalisation Module developed by PenCS represents a significant advancement. This tool aids healthcare providers in identifying patients at high risk of hospitalisation, enabling early intervention and potentially saving lives through timely care and management.

The Early Language Literacy Development Index (ELLDI), an initiative by The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation, marked its excellence in Learning & Education. Co-chaired by Professor Tom Calma, former chancellor of the University of Canberra, ELLDI addresses critical gaps in early language and literacy development among children, particularly in underserved communities. Professor Calma’s participation as a panel member in the “Hacking Social Cohesion: Digital Divides” discussion at the WSA Global Congress underscored the project’s commitment to bridging educational divides and fostering inclusivity.

These Australian winners, with their diverse and impactful projects, embody the spirit of the WSA 2024 theme. They not only highlight Australia’s prominent role in global innovation and social entrepreneurship but also reinforce the country’s dedication to addressing pressing global challenges. From enhancing cultural engagement and improving health outcomes to advancing education and literacy, these initiatives contribute significantly towards achieving the UN SDGs and creating a more equitable, sustainable, and cohesive world.

Adding to the celebration of Australian achievements, Sachi Wickramage, National Expert for WSA Australia and a Board Director & Member of the Grand Jury for WSA Global, shared his insights on the significance of these wins. “The Australian winners at WSA 2024 are not just innovators; they are pioneers at the frontier of digital ecosystems striving for social impact. Their projects embody the essence of what we aim to achieve through the World Summit Awards – leveraging digital innovation to create inclusive solutions that address our most pressing global challenges.” Wickramage highlights the global significance of such innovations in the chapter titled “Navigating The Digital Frontier: A Journey of Inclusive Innovation and Social Good” in the book launched at WSA 2024, “Digital Ecosystems and Social Impact – WSA 2024 Global Review of National Developments,”. Authored by WSA Grand Jury members from 24 countries, including Wickramage, the book serves as a testament to the power of digital technologies in driving social change, with the Australian chapter showcasing the country’s commitment to inclusivity and social good through digital innovation.

For Australian social entrepreneurs, the achievements of Audio Guides by Vacayit, the Risk of Hospitalisation Module by PenCS, and ELLDI by The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation serve as a source of inspiration and a call to action. They exemplify what can be accomplished when innovation, passion, and a commitment to social good converge. As we look towards the future, these successes beckon us to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible, to innovate with purpose, and to harness the power of technology for the greater good of humanity and the planet.

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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