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Too good to be true? Nope!

by Marian Wright, Program Director (Activate), Future Anything

Marian joined the Future Anything team in May 2024. In her first blog, she shares her powerful first interaction with Activate teachers and young people.

The first time I heard about Activate, Future Anything’s in-curriculum enterprise-thinking program, I was working in curriculum and compliance at the Australian Industry Trade College. I thought it sounded too good to be true.

A curriculum-aligned, fully resourced program that included teacher professional learning? A chance for my students to ideate, prototype and pitch innovative solutions to real world problems? Authentic learning experiences with industry networking opportunities?

Activate…where had you been my whole teaching career? My whole life?!?

I was lucky enough to score an invite to the 2019 Future Anything Grand Final. “Come and check it out” Nicole Dyson encouraged me, “the best way to understand Activate is to see the students and their journeys for yourself. Come and see them pitch to a real panel of investors.”

 Sounded amazing. I was in.

I thought I was prepared for what I was going to witness. I was not.

Young people solving real-world problems

That night, I met Braden who started a business called Moving Meds after losing his Pop to cancer. Struck by the importance of mobility during his Pop’s cancer treatment, Braden started Moving Meds to get medication from the pharmacist to those who needed it. Braden knew he couldn’t cure cancer but saw that he could make the lives of cancer patients easier with this innovative service.

I met Cassandra and Ruby, who cared deeply about the period poverty that so many girls and women in Australia face. Not satisfied with the lack of access to adequate sanitary products and menstrual hygiene education, these two young people founded OvaryAct to design and distribute products that would address this issue in their local community.

I met the crew from Culturehood, who would go on to be the National Grand Final winners that night. Moved by the percentage of women who were affected by domestic violence in their own culture and community, these young people founded Culturehood to raise awareness and make a difference.

Rise up with us” they said, “so that no woman will suffer from the awful consequences of domestic violence.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

I don’t think there were any dry eyes in the room by that point.

Who were those people that said teenagers didn’t care about anyone or anything other than themselves?

In the audience at the back of the room, I clapped loudly for the brave educators who embedded Activate in their own school curriculum and walked alongside these students as they embarked on their own entrepreneur’s odyssey.

I clapped for the parents who had given time to practicing pitches and creating props and presentations.

I clapped for the students who showed me for the first time what agentic and authentic learning looked like.

What I experienced in that room at The Triffid that night in 2019 has stayed with me for some time.

This is what classroom learning CAN be.

Looking back, I think this was the moment when I really realised what classroom learning could be, what it could unleash in our students who were still at school. We didn’t need to wait for them to graduate or gain a tertiary qualification to go and change the world. They could do it right now.

In fact, with the guidance of some legendary educators and mentors, they are doing it right now.

Needless to say, I’ve been an avid champion of the work of Future Anything since that night.

When the opportunity to take on the role of Program Director for Activate came up, I jumped at the chance. While I’ll be leading the development, delivery and growth of Activate, what I’m most looking forward to is connecting with the teachers and young people who really are bending the future, one student-led idea at a time.

Whether you’re ‘Activate-curious’ (like I was all those years ago), have just dipped your toe into the program, or are a seasoned Activate expert having delivered it a bunch of times, let’s chat!

Feel free to drop me a line at I’d love to chat, talk through your questions, come visit and celebrate your wins.

About the author: Marian Wright

Marian has a keen interest in the evolution of work and is particularly curious about the interplay between the labour market and formal schooling.

She is deeply invested in working with schools and industry to design learning that activates the agency of young people and educators to make an impact in a complex world.

At Future Anything, Marian is the Program Director for Activate, leading the development, delivery and growth of Future Anything’s flagship in-curriculum enterprise- thinking program.

Future Anything’s Activate in-curriculum program and student workshops build confident communicators of all ages, by empowering young people to develop, and then persuasively pitch, innovative social enterprise solutions to the problems they care about.

Find out more about our programs here.

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