The power of young minds…Mastercard’s nationwide search for young inventors to make the world a better place using technology

January 19, 2020 | Sydney | By Barkha Patel

80 percent of children in Australia worry about the future, but believe technology can be used to change it

Mastercard challenged young inventors to solve problems with technology

Eighty percent (80 percent) of young people in Australia aged between 8 and 15 years old have fears about the future, according to new research commissioned by Mastercard that identifies the common concerns that children have about the future.

The research explored the things children worry about most, with “money”, “education”, “not getting a job” and “bushfires” being some of the serious issues identified.

Despite these concerns, 90 percent of young people surveyed believe their generation will be the one to bring about positive change because of their ability to think differently from adults (32 percent), their creativity (48 percent) and great ideas (44 percent).

As the first generation to be born into a fully digital world, Gen Z believes technology and innovation have the power to make the world a better place (83 percent).


In light of the findings, Mastercard launched a nationwide search for aspiring young inventors, inviting them to undertake a Mastercard Innovation Challenge to come up with a new invention or idea that uses technology to make the world a better place.

The Innovation Challenge encouraged children to use technology to solve problems where they believe it could have the biggest positive impact:

  1. Education – 69 percent
  2. Bringing different cultures together – 36 percent
  3. Helping others in need – 33 percent
  4. Making friends – 32 percent
  5. The environment – 32 percent

Mastercard will be giving the finalists a national platform on which they can share their passion and ideas at the Australian Open.

Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia, Mastercard said: “Mastercard’s Innovation Challenge has shown that some of the world’s brightest minds are also the youngest. As one of the organisation’s biggest sponsorship platforms, the Australian Open provides the perfect opportunity to combine technology with doing good by providing these children a stage to show to the world what they can do and how innovative technology can be used in enhancing people’s lives.”

Wormald, alongside other technology and innovation experts from Mastercard, took part in the judging process that evaluated entries from across Australia.

The three finalists and their ideas include:

    • Isabel, a 7-year-old finalist from Victoria, believes that technology has the power to help others and this inspired her to develop an app that can locate and feed homeless people.
    • Celia, a 12-year-old finalist from Western Australia, is passionate about education and aspires to help others access learning and educational resources. This inspired her to develop a digital program called ‘HoloTeach’ – a holographic educational program targeted at remote and rural communities.
    • Nikolas, a 12-year-old finalist from New South Wales, believes that technology can be used for good – to help children suffering from anxiety. This inspired him to design a soft toy that can detect anxiety in kids and help alleviate it by playing music and giving them advice such as breathing exercises.

Isabel, Celia and Nikolas will pitch their idea to a panel of experts, including Wormald and professional tennis coach Darren Cahill, at Mastercard’s Innovation Hub at the Australian Open on 30 January 2020. The winner will be announced on the same day.

Commenting on the finalists, Wormald said: “It was inspiring to see how each of the three finalists tapped into different passion points with their ideas and used technology in new and interesting ways to help solve issues that their generation may face in the future.”

Commenting on the ideas, Darren Cahill said: “If there’s one thing tennis and technology have in common – it’s the power young people hold to completely change the game. It’s been great to come together with Mastercard on their search for young innovators and ideas.”

The winner will receive a unique STEM innovation camp for them and their entire class at school – all in the name of inspiring the next generation of children to pursue careers in STEM. Runners-up will receive a Priceless tennis experience including a masterclass with Darren Cahill.


On behalf of Mastercard, PureProfile commissioned an online survey of more than 500 Australian children between the ages of 8 and 15 nationwide. The research explored the common worries Australian children have about the future and the extent to which they believe technology has the power to solve these problems. The survey also explored the positive impact technology plays in different areas of children’s lives.

Barkha Patel, Vice President, Communications, International Markets (IMK), Mastercard

Media Contacts

Matilda Freedman, Mastercard
Jade Barringer, Agency (Eleven PR)
+61 406 816 092 |

Mastercard and STEM (Girls4Tech™)

Launched in 2014, Girls4Tech™ is Mastercard’s award-winning, signature employee volunteer and education program aimed at creating future problem solvers.  Based on global science and math standards, the curriculum was created in conjunction with top engineers and technologists at Mastercard to teach the foundations of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles. Over the past five years, more than 3,500 Mastercard employees and more than 430,000 girls across 25 countries have participated in the program.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.