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NZ Girls Win In United States

28 June 2002

A group of four gifted 13 to 15 year old Auckland girls have beaten over 2000 students at the Future Problem Solving championships recently held in the USA.

The “Shore Problem Solvers’ were placed second in the competition - out-smarting students from all over Australia, Canada, Korea, and every state in the USA.

The global Future Problem Solving competition is designed to promote positive futures using creative problem solving. The Shore Problem Solvers were placed second in the two major competition categories - formal written presentation and oral presentation - establishing them as the most successful team in their division.

The winning team consisted of Josie Wells (13) of Long Bay College and Julianne Falconer (15), Libby Pound (14), and Courtney Sutherland (14) of Rangitoto College.

The group received $15,382 in funding from Industry New Zealand’s Enterprise Culture and Skills Activities Fund to enable them to travel to the competition in Connecticut, USA. The Industry New Zealand funding supplemented the group’s own entrepreneurial fundraising activity. Rather than typical student fundraising efforts, the girls worked for companies developing marketing and strategic business plans.

Neil MacKay, CEO of Industry New Zealand says “These students have achieved a fantastic result all New Zealanders can be proud of. We established the Enterprise Skills and Activities Fund specifically to encourage people like the Shore Problem Solvers. It’s good to see yet another positive outcome derived as a direct result of Industry New Zealand’s Enterprise initiatives. These girls are excellent role models - helping to promote positive “can do’ attitudes and enterprising behaviours among New Zealanders”.

The Future Problem Solving Programme engages students in creative problem solving and stimulates critical and creative thinking skills. The programme is designed to encourage students to develop a vision for the future.

The competition theme was 'Virtual Corporations' where students were requested to answer questions such as: Will virtual corporations be able to stand the test of time? How will their structure change in the next century? What will be the effect of virtual corporations on traditional companies and consumers?

As a warm up for the international competition, and to fulfil fundraising goals, the Shore Problem Solvers helped New Zealand businesses in a consultancy capacity - exploring the social implications of becoming a virtual corporation for a large insurance company, investigating how to improve the image of auditing, as a profession, for an audit organisation and developing a marketing plan on how to promote oral hygiene to the teenage market for a well known dental chain.

This is the second entrepreneurial win for New Zealand.

Yesterday is was announced New Zealand won first place position in the global Enterprise Olympics. Secondary students from New Zealand competed against the top Enterprise students in the world in a 24 hour challenge which finished yesterday morning. Industry New Zealand was a key sponsor of the Enterprise Olympics.

Editors’ Note

Industry New Zealand’s Enterprise Culture and Skills Activities Fund

The Fund has been set up to help develop an enterprise culture in New Zealand by developing positive attitudes and skills for entrepreneurship, business growth, and business success.

Ten projects received the initial funding of $1.7 million from 83 applications representing all regions of New Zealand.

Some of the other projects that received funding were:-

- Young Entrepreneur Programme: training school leavers and unemployed young people in Northland to become enterprising and successful self-employed business owners

- Teengirls in Technology: a national educational programme designed to increase the profile of technology based business careers for young women

- Community Improvement through Youth: a six month scheme promoting the development of enterprise skills amongst high school students including recent school leavers who are unemployed.

- Business High School (Auckland) establishment of an international and entrepreneurial business curriculum course for high school students

- Interactive Web Business Game: a game for high school students nationwide.

Team Profile

Josie Wells is 13 and currently attends Long Bay College as a fourth former. Josie has attended the Future Problem Solving national finals in both 2000 and 2001 and gained first place in the dramatic presentation section, with her team, both times. She is a skilled public speaker and debater and last year received, with her team, the top Future Problem Solving team trophy at their school. Josie chooses to do Future Problem Solving as it stimulates her ability in creative thinking. With her experience in Future Problem Solving Josie believes she has something to offer to the community as a whole.

Julianne Falconer is 15 years old and in the fourth form at Rangitoto College. In 1999 she and fellow team mate, Courtney Sutherland, had the privilege of attending a meeting with the Mayor of North Shore City, George Wood, to discuss creative ideas for North Shore City in the future. In addition, she has also been involved, and received placings, in a number of speech contest finals and has taken part in the Scenario Writing programme. Julianne enjoys Future Problem Solving as it extends her understanding of important issues, helps to encourage creative thinking and provides great opportunities.

Libby Pound is 14 and in Rangitoto College’s fourth form. This is the fifth year she has been involved in Future Problem Solving. In 2000, she won the New Zealand Scenario writing competition for her age group and achieved a third placing in 2001. She is an experienced public speaker and debater and recently won the third form speech competition for her school. She is a competent, creative writer and enjoys the opportunities Future Problem Solving has to offer.

Courtney Sutherland is 14 years old and attends Rangitoto College in the fourth form. In 1999, she won the City Vision 2020 competition, along with Julianne Falconer. This competition focused on adolescents’ ideas in planning for the North Shore City’s future. Courtney attended a meeting with the Mayor, George Wood, to discuss her views on city planning. She has experience in public speaking and was in the final six of the third form speech contest. This is the second year Courtney has gained a place at the Future Problem Solving national finals, and has won the dramatic presentation section in both years.

The Future Problem Solving Programme website is:

Future Problem Solving Programme Goals

- Increase creative thinking abilities

- Improve analytical thinking skills

- Stimulate an interactive interest in the future

- Extend perceptions of the real world

- Explore complex societal issues

- Refine communication skills - written, verbal and technical

- Promote research

- Integrate problem-solving into the curriculum

- Encourage cooperative, responsible group membership

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