Ideas to Impact

Take your ideas and create change in the world

What is innovation?

How would you describe entrepreneurship?

Is entrepreneurship only useful in technology areas?

Tim Kastelle loves ideas and spends much of his time thinking about how they can lead to change in the world.

    In this series Tim asks:
  • What change would you like to create?
  • What makes an idea good?
  • How can others help?
  • Are great entrepreneurs born or made?
  • Why is it important to try out your ideas?
  • Should you start big or small?

Tim graduated from Princeton University with a degree in economics. He has worked in marketing and management positions in a variety of industries including radio, office equipment, industrial chemicals, higher education and software.

How your ideas can create change

Tim starts by defining creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation.

He then explains how it is not enough to HAVE an idea; you need to ACT on that idea.

And your idea must create VALUE or be useful.

Ideas create change - Tim Kastelle

But innovation is not just about tech start-ups and new gadgets. Innovation can take place anywhere and anytime.

As Tim says:

Using ideas to create change is an increasingly important part of life – and possessing the skills you need to do this is essential.

But I'm not an entrepreneur - Tim Kastelle

Are Creativity, Entrepreneurship & Innovation the Same Thing? at
Making Ideas Real Tim Kastelle at TEDxUQ 2014
David Burkus on The Myths of Creativity

Joanne Cheong: Being an entrepreneur by building a community

UQ student Joanne is Managing Director of the Global Innovative Youth Conference. In a great example of entrepreneurial thinking, Joanne and her peers saw an opportunity and built something. In this case, that "something" was not an app, or a product, but an international community.

Joanne Cheong: Being an entrepreneur by building a community

Global Innovative Youth Conference on Facebook

What change would you like to create?

Pitching your idea is almost as important as the idea itself.

Once you have an idea that you think you can act on and that you think has value, you need to take it out for a test drive.

You need to communicate the idea to others so that your great idea has impact.

Tim uses the 'Pixar Pitch' as a way of telling the story of his ideas.

He suggests you think about the change you’d like to create and write up a Pixar Pitch for that idea using the following story spine.

What change would you like to create? - Tim Kastelle

  • Once upon a time ...
  • And every day ...
  • Until one day ...
  • And because of that ...
  • And because of that ...
  • Until finally ...

Build a Pixar Pitch for a change that you would like to create.

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling at Aerogramme Writers' Studio
Pixar Story Rules at The Pixar Touch
Daniel Pink on Honing Your Pitch

Nkosana Mafico: Entrepreneurship for Social Change

UQ student and entrepreneur, Nkosana Mafico, explains how some ideas don't work but can be beneficial learning experiences.

Nkosana is using his entrepreneurial skills to have social impact in Africa, and what started as a small project is steadily growing to be something that is creating change for many people.

Nkosana Mafico: Entrepreneurship for Social Change

More information available at Cyala Ltd.
Nkosana's TEDxUQ talk

What makes a good idea?

You have developed a pitch for your idea and people seem to think it might just work. But how do we know if it is really a 'good idea'?

To have an impact with your ideas, you must create value for people.

There are two ways to do that.

The first is to solve a real problem. Think about the problems that you have and try to solve one of those.

Or you can try to understand some of the problems of other people.

This is solving a pain.

Or you can help people do something that they like.

That’s creating value by creating a gain.

What makes a good idea? - Tim Kastelle

Download the Value Proposition Canvas and use it to describe the value created by one of your ideas.

The Worst Innovation Quote Ever at
Achieve Product-Market Fit With Our Brand New Value Proposition Designer Canvas at Business Model Alchemist

Skye Doherty: Working on the future of news

Skye is a former journalist and now lecturer in journalism at UQ. In an exciting example of finding new ways to imagine existing practice, Skye's NewsCube app takes advantage of new technologies and ways of interacting, and uses them to create news in an innovative way. Skye started with a vision of what she wanted, then built several different prototypes to figure out how to make that vision real.

Skye Doherty: Working on the future of news

Explore the NewsCube App and more at
NewsCube on Twitter
NewsCube on Facebook

We're all in this together

The best ideas are ones that are built with other people, and some of the world's most famous innovations were built on the work of others.

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Isaac Newton, 1676

Ideas build on each other, forming a densely interconnected network, and new ideas are grounded in old.

We're all in this together - Tim Kastelle

Go to IdeaHub or IdeaNetwork UQ and join in! Help someone else work on their great idea, or work on one of your own. The best ideas come from people with different areas of knowledge, so this isn't just for engineers or business students -- everyone can add value.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
The Innovators, a talk by Walter Isaacson
Difference Engine Demo by Robert Scoble
ENIAC Programmers Project
Nilofer Merchant on Community and Innovation at TEDxEmbarcadero 2011

Khoa Tran: Entrepreneurs are everywhere

Khoa is a former president of UQ's Idea Network, a completely student-driven initiative that proves the value of building things collaboratively.

Khoa Tran: Entrepreneurs are everywhere

UQ Idea Network

Get the right mindset

Entrepreneurs have certain characteristics that have been identified by researchers.

So when someone asks "Are great entrepreneurs born or made?" the answer lies in whether or not you think these can be learned or not.

Do you have a fixed mindset or growth mindset?

If you have a growth mindset then you are likely to believe that the characteristics can be learnt, and you will agree that anyone can be an entrepreneur.

Get the right mindset - Tim Kastelle

Take the Mindset Survey to see which way you lean. Then think about what you can do to help build a growth mindset.

The Power of Believing That You Can Improve, Carol Dweck's TEDx talk
Talent is Everything, and Talent Can Be Developed on

Kim Wilkins: Creating new worlds

Kim Wilkins is a senior lecturer in writing at UQ and the author of twenty-six novels, the first of which was published when Kim was an undergraduate at UQ. Kim epitomises growth mindset thinking. She started with a drive to create, and worked through many experiments that didn't work. Even though she has achieved great success as an author, she continues this process today.

Kim Wilkins: Creating new worlds

Kim's blog: Hexebart's Well
Creativity in the Age of Distraction, Kim Wilkins at TEDxUQ 2014

Try and try again

You won't know if your idea will work or not until you test it out.

You might be lucky the first time and have success with your idea. But it is probably due to luck rather than planning!

Ideas really need to be tested out, so we need to work out what our model of the world is, how we expect it to change once we implement our idea and then try an experiment.

Then do it all again perhaps!

Tim says:

"... build things, test them with people, and iterate towards perfection."

Try and try again - Tim Kastelle

Gaming Can Make a Better World Jane McGonigal on using games to do things differently

ClickDish: Discovering value through experiments

UQ MBA students Greg Jones and Mouli Vyagrapuri won the Commercial Prize at the 2016 UQ & Era Innovation Lean Startup Challenge with their startup ClickDish. Greg and Mouli's startup experience highlights how our first ideas almost always don't work. It's also a great example of prototyping and running experiments to learn fast -- the amazing thing in this story is their learning velocity.

ClickDish: Discovering value through experiments

Explore the ClickDish website

Aim big, start small, scale fast

Most ideas -- even the ones that end up being big -- start small.

World domination might be a great goal, but you need to start in your own backyard. Observe what is happening around you and see if you can come up with ideas that can make change in your world and start there.

Your idea might end up being a world changer.

Aim big, start small, scale fast - Tim Kastelle

Smart people should build things

Researchers have identified personal characteristics that set innovative people apart from others.

Think about a change you’d like to see in the world, then figure out a small way to trigger that change.

Smart people should build things - Tim Kastelle

Hal Gregerson: The Innovator's DNA

So, what have we learnt?

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation are not about ideas -- they are about making ideas real to create value. This isn't just about technology -- all of us can use ideas to create value for people. In fact, this is a core skill in the 21st century.
  • If we're trying to create change, we need to solve real problems.
  • Great innovations almost always come through group efforts. Who you work with and how you work with them are just as important as what you work on.
  • The skills you need to create change are not innate -- they can be learned. The best way to build these skills is to build things, see what happens, and then build something better.
  • Experimenting is something that we all need to be better at.
  • Most big ideas start small -- don't try to do everything at once.

Good luck!

What next? Explore UQ's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pathways.

Return to the Masterclass Home Page.