It is little wonder that Wyatt Roy has established such cultural affinity with the Israelis given the man’s innate and bountiful chutzpah.
Whatever you think of the Assistant Minister for Innovation (and he does have his detractors), you have to admire his ability to get things done. And chutzpah is the secret weapon.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have friends in high-places either. So when he was looking for an inaugural Patron for his just-announced DICE Kids program, asking the Prime Minister’s wife (the already very busy and impeccably-credentialled Lucy) became an option.
DICE Kids is a not-for-profit that aims to foster and encourage digital and entrepreneurial skills among children – to give Australian kids exposure to the commercial world early. DICE stands for Digital, Innovative, Creative, Entrepreneurial – entirely on-message for this government.
The first DICE Kids initiative – a National Lemonade Day – was one of the ideas to come out of Mr Roy’s Policy Hack. In fact, it won the Policy Hack pitching contest, and attracted immediate support from a couple of the judges, including CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall.
Six weeks later and DICE Kids is a funded reality with Lucy Turnbull as its Patron. That’s a very cool turn-around time.
Ms Turnbull said: “We need to nurture in our very young people the belief that everyone and anyone can be innovators … empowering them to believe that with skill, passion and hard work, every Australian has a real chance to put their great ideas into action.”
The DICE Kids’ National Lemonade Day is meant to encourage young kids to set up, market and run a lemonade stand for a day, giving them early exposure to what it’s like to run a business, and to understand the inputs and outputs of the commercial world.
DICE Kids will be headed by Melbourne-based Erin Watson-Lynn, a PhD candidate and delegate to this year’s G20 Youth Summit. She led the team which came up with the Policy Hack pitch, which was based on the highly-successful Lemonade Day USA.
Ms Watson-Lynn said a pilot program on a day to be determined next year would target 180,000 primary school participants.
“It will be a nationally-coordinated day delivered though community organisations and schools,” Ms Watson-Lynn said.
“It’s about inspiring young people and that cultural shift towards entrepreneurship – giving them the belief that they’re able to do it. It’s about planting the seed of innovation early.”
And finally, just to revisit the issue of chutzpah. The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop – a Western Australian MP – was on hand at Mr Roy’s Christmas party and office opening in Brisbane this week.
We’ll just say that again – the Foreign Minister and deputy Liberal leader from WA helped open Wyatt’s new office in Queensland in the same week he was able to entice the incredibly experienced Prime Minister’s wife to be Patron of a passion project.
How does he do it? Chutzpah.