Developing solutions for engaging young people through SIP

SIP winning team Semester 2, 2024

Adversity Consulting Group have been named the winners of the Special Industry Project (SIP) for Semester 2, 2023 – a professional-development initiative offered by The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE).

The team comprised of five students from CBE, who successfully developed an innovative solution to the proposition provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission: how to effectively engage with young people under the age of 18, to educate them about their right to access quality and safe services.

The self-named group, Adversity Consulting Group, included Natalie Chung (Bachelor of Political Science and Commerce), William Michel (Bachelor of Finance, Honours), Freja Teijonsalo (Exchange program, studying Information Networks at Aalto University School of Science), Lucas Sieb (Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics) and Ilann Labouze (Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business).

“Being a part of the winning team of SIP is a rewarding feeling and is a testament to the hard work, collaboration and dedication of our team throughout the process,” says Ilann.

“We were extremely proud in presenting our findings and solution to the client following a challenging semester.”

SIP is a work-integrated learning course and has contributed to solving business cases presented by a diverse range of clients over the years.

Students develop technical and soft skills through working collaboratively with teammates and industry mentors in a real-world business environment.

“I got to develop my public-speaking skills. My speech for the presentation was riddled with stutters, and I kept forgetting my lines,” says William.

“But with practice throughout the semester, the speaking component of the presentation became a strength, not a weakness.”

In this interview, Adversity Consulting Group reflect on their experience in SIP, and expand on their professional development.

Q. Tell us about the business solution you devised for the NDIS Commission. What do you believe made it stand out to the judges?

Lucas Sieb

We recognised the importance of making information accessible and engaging for children. Our approach involved gamifying information and feedback mechanisms, using popular children's characters like Bluey to capture their attention. This method not only made the content more relatable but also ensured better comprehension.

In addition, we introduced an AI-based chatbot inspired by apps like Talking Tom – a virtual pet that children interact with to explore his world. This chatbot was designed to generate personalised responses and questions, refining its interactions based on previous feedback. It effectively transcribed and summarised responses before sending them to the NDIS Commission. Our goal was to gather more realistic and comprehensible data from a demographic that's crucial yet challenging to reach.

Central to our solution was a comprehensive, one-stop-shop app. This app was meticulously designed to be inclusive, accommodating all types of disabilities. It served as a hub for the various interactive elements we introduced. Complementing the child-focused app, we proposed a parent app and a service provider app to streamline communication and data sharing.

Three key factors contributed to our solution.

  • Integration and cohesion: Our solution presented a seamless narrative, with all components logically integrated into the app. This design made the solution easy to follow and use.

  • In-depth research and value delivery: We conducted extensive research to understand the specific needs of our target group and client. Our solution was comprehensive, addressing all relevant problems and continuously evolving to meet these needs effectively with a high degree of depth, which meant catering to and finding adapted models for differing disabilities. Choosing one in-depth solution instead of many was an approach that we took from previous SIP winners, and I believe this was crucial to our winning solution.

  • Engaging presentation: The team delivered an impactful presentation, involving the audience and showcasing professional prototypes. This approach helped in demonstrating the reliability and effectiveness of our solution.


Q. What were some of the challenges you faced when you took on the project? How did you overcome them?

Natalie Chung

Our group was faced with a highly complex problem which none of us really had much prior knowledge of. This made the challenge very daunting, but ultimately more rewarding. We overcame this challenge by compartmentalising the problem into more digestible components and focusing on targeted research. Each team member would conduct research on a specific topic, and we would reconvene each week to share what we had found. This was very successful in obtaining a wide scope of knowledge in the short time frame we had. As a result, each person in the group became subject matter experts in a particular area, raising the quality of our pitch overall.

Q. What compelled you to apply for SIP, and in what ways has it been invaluable to your professional development?

Ilann Labouze

I first applied for its unique hands-on format, as I was interested in the possibility of applying my skills and knowledge in a more practical scenario for a client. Furthermore, as this was my last semester at university, I thought that this course would be an appropriate bridging course between my university studies and my professional career. Participating in SIP has been fundamental in fast-tracking my professional development as it has exposed me to real-world challenges whilst also enhancing my problem-solving skills. Additionally, the experience allowed me to develop resilience and adaptability due to unforeseen challenges, which are crucial skills for the consulting industry.

Q. Has this experience transformed your plans for your future career? How has this experience contributed to your confidence in your own abilities?

William Michel

I have always been focused on a career in finance, however, SIP helped me gain crucial insight into the world of consulting. We were paired with a consultant from Canberra and held weekly meetings, seeking his advice on our report. Between this, SIP’s strong emphasis on teamwork, and the feedback and encouragement from the other members of the Adversity Consulting Group, my skills in organisation, research and writing improved. The experience also dramatically improved my confidence in public speaking – I did not realise how nervous I would get until the first humbling rehearsal of our mid-semester presentation.

Looking back to the start of the semester, I can see how much I have developed; I have learned a lot and feel more prepared for upcoming challenges in both my university and day-to-day life. I recommend that all CBE students apply for SIP.

Freja Teijonsalo

Taking part in the Special Industry Project highlighted a different set of skills from what I’m used to putting forward. I feel that I’ve formed a better understanding of what sets me apart from others and how I can best put my skillset to use in my future career.


Applications for the Special Industry Project in Semester 1, 2024 close Friday 16 February. Click here to find out more about the project. Applications for Semester 2, 2024 open soon.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.