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Brisbane Innovate: social isolation

The Challenge

The problem we are striving to solve:

How might we, as a city, better connect Brisbane's communities who are potentially excluded or isolated so that Brisbane is a more inclusive city where everyone has people and places to connect to? 

When we lack meaningful social connection we can become lonely. Loneliness strikes different people at different times for seemingly different reasons. Sometimes it is not being physically close to other people or a particular person. Other times people can be lonely even when surrounded by others, because they lack genuine connection. While often temporary, loneliness can linger and become a serious threat to our physical and mental health. 


Key Stats:

In Australia:  

  • more than 65% of people ‘often felt lonely’ 
  • one third of the people said they did not have anyone to confide in about their loneliness 
  • one in four women and one in three men reported that they did not have someone to help them if in need.

Council is committed to fostering collaboration within industry, academia and the community to ensure Brisbane maintains its world-class healthy communities in the face of growing social isolation. 

What we know can help:

The following have been shown to overcome social isolation:

  • eating right: engage in a healthy diet
  • move: exercise regularly
  • going out: attending social functions, visiting friends, exercising, doing the shopping or even just going to a public place can help 
  • family and friends: making new friends or re-connecting with those you have lost touch with 
  • community: starting a new hobby, class, joining a club are ways to make new connections 
  • volunteer: through helping others you can feel more connected 
  • animals: getting a pet or fostering an animal can reduce feelings of social isolation.

Why now?

The solutions to this problem are probably not 'disruptive' as we often think of the word, rather, the 'disruption' will come from finding a better way to coordinate and connect existing services and using new knowledge and technology to solve this age-old problem. 

Having said that, despite the promises of technology of connecting everyone, digital disruption has, in some cases, increased social isolation and exclusion .... so the time is ripe to solve this challenge despite technology and disruption.

What happens if nothing changes?

As the world changes rapidly social isolation and exclusion is at risk of increasing rather than decreasing. It's essential that at this point of Brisbane's growth we develop collaborative, coordinate and sustainable mechanisms to ensure everyone in Brisbane is included and part of her community.

About Brisbane Innovate

Brisbane Innovate is Brisbane City Council's open innovation platform.

We are using Mindhive to continue the discussions away from the face-to-face gatherings of the warm-up event on 10 October or the main event on 7 November and to tap the wider knowledge of the hive.

You don't need to live or work in Brisbane to participate in the discussions or the events.

More information about Brisbane Innovate can be found on the website.

What does success look like?

Success for this challenge right now is a number of programs, initiatives and networks that better coordinate existing efforts, and create new solutions There's no one solution to this challenge - it's more likely a well networked cluster of solutions managed by domain experts.


Challenge Opened: 11:56 PM, Sunday 14 October 2018
Challenge Closes: 01:30 PM, Sunday 30 December 2018
Time to go: 39 days \ 18 hours \ 45 minutes


Do you want to contribute to this Challenge?

The context

The Mindhive process, in this challenge, is designed to facilitate ongoing conversations amongst Active Problem Solvers participating in the Brisbane Innovate process, as well as others who have interest, expertise and insights into this problem.

We are looking for NEW solutions that rely on collaboration. If the solution already exists as a deliverable product or program somewhere in the world, that's not what we're looking for here. The purpose of Brisbane Innovate is to develop NEW solutions to civic problems through collaboration.

Of course this challenge is not unique to Brisbane and no doubt there are ideas and insights from around the country and the world that can inform the solutions here. Further, once a solution has been developed, implemented and proven in Brisbane, there's no reason why it can't be implemented by in other parts of the country or world.

There are of course many solutions to this problem. We're looking for something new and/or a new way of organising solutions to this challenge so that they provide greater impact and reach more people at risk of isolation or exclusion.

A number of services and programs are already in place in Brisbane. A more detailed list of these can be found on the Brisbane Innovate Challenge page -

Brisbane Innovate - The Process

The next steps:

1. Develop ideas with collaborators from outside your current organisation (see Solutions for those developed at the Brisbane Innovate Warm-Up event

2. Prepare your idea for presentation / discussion at the Brisbane Innovate main event on 7 October

3. Register for the FREE main event to secure your seat and receive updates, as well as to be reminded to submit your idea

Challenge Opened: 11:56 PM, Sunday 14 October 2018
Challenge Closes: 01:30 PM, Sunday 30 December 2018
Time to go: 39 days \ 18 hours \ 45 minutes

Do you want to contribute to this Challenge?

Thought Leader

Monica Tseng
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Lewe Atkinson Global Partner
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Cat Matson Chief Digital Officer, Brisbane
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Vibhor Pandey
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Myles Beaufort Director / Business Owner
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Carolyn Cullen
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Terina Edwards Coordinator
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Mathew Townsend
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Ryan Foster
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Nagarajan Venkatachalam
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Leonie Sanderson
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Bernardo Figueiredo
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Rosie Odsey
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Kristian Goodacre Principal Consultant
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Daniel Dawson Technical Lead
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Sue Lettmann
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Ben Novakovic Engineering Manager
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