The voices of young people need to be heard when government agencies are developing policies and services. However, engaging young people in these processes can be difficult. Agencies often lack effective and consistent methods for creating involvement and there is evidence young people are increasingly disengaged and disinterested in civic processes. This may be a reflection of an out- of-touch system, but either way, it is clear government needs to try something different.
We spoke with the team from Ministry Of Social Development – Youth Engagement to find out more about their project.
What will you be working on in the next few months? Give us your best pitch.
Currently, political processes in New Zealand do not empower young people to engage in a meaningful way. We are going to develop a platform for young people to express their ideas and inputs in a fun and engaging way. This will provide direct and indirect feedback to policy-makers, who can take this input and create more representative policies for all New Zealanders.
What is the Youth Engagement project all about?
Our project aims to experiment with the use of technology to address the underlying challenge. The plan is to design a system that leverages young people’s attitudes and behaviour allowing engagement on issues that they care about. Through this project the team hopes to draw out insights for both policy and service developers.
What difference will the project make to NZ public sector?
If it succeeds, it will serve as an easy way for policy-makers to inform young people and receive input. We have spoken with policy-makers and their number one problem, when engaging young people, is reaching a diverse group of individuals. Including perspectives of more young people in policy is an important step in creating policy that is relevant and representative.
What are you hoping to achieve by the end of LL GovTech?
To demonstrate that our platform is something that young people will use and that it provides valuable insight to policy-makers. If we achieve that, then we should be able to bring others on board to turn the idea into a reality.
What are you looking forward to the most during your time in Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator?
Learning about a very important problem from other people’s points of view. That, and hopefully adding some value to help overcome the problem!
Want to keep hearing more about the Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator? Stay up-to-date by signing up here.