People talk about automation and jobs changing and, well, for the most part, they are all doom and gloom. I see these changes as a positive. Our script for the future isn’t written. If we put new digital skills in the hands of everyone, that empowers us all to determine and shape our own future.

This is why I am passionate about the Tech4Good work of the Telstra Foundation. It brings together the best of the tech and startup worlds and introduces it to the non-profit sectors. We at Telstra can have that local impact by helping our communities and sharing new skills to tackle society’s problems.

The word ‘hacking’ can have negative connotations. But it simply means to ‘hack through’ a problem. All sorts of people get together, to use their unique skills and knowledge to create innovative, new solutions to everyday challenges. You can make a difference outside of your day-to-day work life.

Telstra Foundation is partnering with Academy Xi for a special hackathon, Growth Hack Idol, to help non-profits tackle growth and outreach goals through digital marketing.

This is a competition in two parts. On October 11th, we will meet our hackers and non-profits, and learn about their purpose and challenges. The audience gets involved by assigning teams with problems to solve over the coming month. These teams will meet with their organisation to establish a strategy to achieve their marketing growth goals.

Next month, the groups will return and see what worked and what didn’t. The organisations will present what they learned and what impact the new ideas had on their growth. The audience will be involved in deciding the winner over a series of categories, including the most creative use of data, the best metric and the audience prize.

And that’s the way using Tech4Good can deliver new outcomes. We can change the way that folks think about solving problems by applying the lean startup approach. Fail, try again, and learn from that failure. It’s about changing the way we tackle problems, the way we get stuff done and the way we do work.

Growth Hack Idol’s purpose is to use technology or people’s skills to move things forward for non-profits. These organisations are doing great work, however sometimes they don’t have the time or the resources to apply new digital skills. If we can contribute to that, that’s a great outcome.

One of the non-profit partners is eOrygen. They are reinventing youth mental health services through science, big data and technology. This is close to my heart because my daughter, a student at Melbourne University, is studying data science.

She told me she wants to use big data for good. She wants to use analytics to help people. And if people like my daughter, Telstra employees or myself get involved we can use our capabilities to drive a good outcome for their future.

Sign-ups are now open for the event here. I encourage you to sign up, bring friends and family to make a difference in the lives of young people.

The non-profit teams are The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, StartOut and eOrygen. Even if you aren’t in the tech scene you can sign up to be in the audience or for the bold; you could learn new ways of thinking. We all have skills that we undervalue. And it is often surprising how easy it is to learn and apply new digital skills.

We have so much knowledge inside of us, all we need is the right opportunity to learn, to exercise that muscle. If you are newbies to the concept of a hackathon, it is about opening your mind to other ways of getting stuff done. It will give you a chance to get outside of your world and deliver services in a way that is going to be impactful.

The time is now to sign up and see how you can use your Tech4Good powers to help create a future you didn’t know was possible!