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Archive for the ‘ Passion ’ Category

So, I started my very own Meetup group! I’ve had this idea (or maybe yearning, can I say yearning?) for awhile now. I’m a creative person working in a creative capacity within a very uncreative industry. I’m currently the Marketing Manager at a large public transport company, overseeing both strategic and creative marketing functions including communications, brand identity, art direction and promotion. I was also the in-house graphic designer in this organisation for four years prior to this role.

I love my job but could definitely do with more creative collaboration; my work environment leans more towards a conservative, operations focused mentality.

I really want to connect with other creatives and I thought, if I feel this way surely others working creatively within non-creative work environments do too?

So my Meetup group was born – Sydney In-house Creatives.

The aim is to bring together in-house-creatives who enjoy working from the inside but also crave a connection with other creatives to share experiences, bounce ideas and have a mutual understanding of the shared frustrations. It’s an opportunity to meet cool people doing cool things in uncool industries :-)

I personally would love to learn how others navigate the in-house environment, hear about successful in-house strategies, as well as make new friends.

The group is for marketeers, designers, writers, developers, employee engagement or CSR co-ordinators and similar.

If you work in a creative capacity within a more conservative or corporate environment in Sydney then join my group for a monthly drinks-mingle and dose of engaging conversation and inspiration.

Please share the link – http://www.meetup.com/Sydney-Inhouse-Creatives – if you know someone who would be interested. I imagine it will be slow growing as I’m not sure how on earth I will reach these people… Wish me luck!

SS48: A Hero Weekend

May 7, 2012 Passion Comments

What a whirlwind!! The Sydney SS48 weekend was awesome, I learnt heaps, met some really cool people and my team of six made some real headway on our start-up idea. It could possibly become a real thing!

But more on that later. For now, there is cake –

So the weekend started on Friday night where there was a meet and greet to kick things off. We put on name tags and navigated our way to our designated tables, littered with blank paper and coloured textas (kindergarten flashbacks, that’s pretty much how I remember my first day there too).

One very exciting aspect from the get go was that my kindness suggestion was shortlisted for one of the ideas! When I arrived in what became ‘the kindness corner’ I met five lovely people who were to become my team for the next three days – Paul, Jenny, Simon, Ben and Tony.

We were greeted by the organisers and listened to a quick overview of the event and the plan of action. We were introduced to some mentors who would be assisting over the weekend and listened to a keynote speech by Creel Price – holy moly has he done . Then we performed an ‘asset mapping’ activity overseen by Donny Maclurcan (founder of the social enterprise Project Australia and Post Growth Institute), which involved writing down our passions (heart), skills (hands) and knowledge (head) on post-it notes and then traveling around the room sticking them on any of the team posters that we thought we could contribute an asset to. The end result meant that our own poster held post-its from other SS48-ers who may potentially be able to assist in the long term. This is great as depending on who ended up in a team, there may be a need or skill required (a designer for example). It was a worthwhile strategy to learn, I can see how that approach – even as a more informal process – would be useful in other projects.

We worked in our teams for a couple of hours on our plan of action for the weekend, then we each team gave a one minute pitch. Paul did a great job representing our team, with his Captain Kindness alter ego making his first appearance for the weekend:

There’s a video of the first pitches on YouTube – watching them back now – gosh it was such a whirlwind, it’s amazing that groups had already nutted out ideas and direction:

We wrapped it up pretty late only to be back first thing in the morning, coffees in hand ready to get stuck into it. As an aside – check out the street art on the roller doors of the venue, Queen Street Studio in Chippendale; pretty cool!

So Saturday’s focus was on shaping the vision for our startup – which, after a hilarious 20 minute brainstorm with the six of us blurting out random words and phrases, we named it ‘All Hearts Alliance’. It was a real group effort, I couldn’t even tell you how we got to it – but the moment we had hit on the phrase and someone said ‘All Hearts Alliance’ we all started nodding. Someone spelled A-H-A and there was more nodding, then a second’s silence. It popped into my head and I exclaimed ‘a-HA!’ with a fist pump into the air. We all started laughing and it all clicked into place, as ‘a-HA!’ moments do.

Our motivation is that everyone is a kindness hero who can ‘unleash the kindness within’. The basic premise for our Startup is a random acts of kindness movement that is trackable through coded cards, with a gamification aspect that builds an online community of ‘heroes’. When someone performs a random act of kindness they leave behind a card that tells the recipient that they’ve been chosen and if they choose to accept the challenge their mission is to keep the kindness effect going. They can sign up on the app (as an anonymous hero or with a social media identity) and see where the card came from and where it goes in future. Eventually we hope to cover the globe with kindness!

Once we had a name and concept we set-up a web domain, twitter and facebook accounts, and then a market research survey. Our whole team hit up our social media networks to get as many people contributing as possible. We got our business and marketing plans underway and did a lot, a lot, of research. It was such a rewarding process to go through with a team of like-minded and passionate people. We all came to the table with different skill sets and backgrounds so the mix of ideas and how we built on them and developed our concepts as a group was really awesome. It just proves that six brains are much better than one.

There was a few speakers during the day, including Tom Dawkins who spoke about the power of peer funding. He founded Start Some Good which is a crowd funding platform for social enterprise/not for profit projects. It was a good idea to inject some inspiration/mental breaks during the day because otherwise… we might have gone a little bananas.

Sunday morning came around too quick! But the adrenaline of the weekend was still going strong so we turned up super early and managed to roll out our first promo campaign by getting a chocolate and Kindness Card on every seat by the time everyone turned up for the day. Lots of people scanned the QR code on their card which was a great first experiment for our concept. Our platform is reliant on a fair bit of custom web development so we won’t have a working prototype for awhile, but we have certainly fleshed out our concept and direction.

We had to do a 5 minute pitch that night so we spent the bulk of the afternoon preparing for that.

Paul, aka Captain Kindness, presented our pitch and he did a brilliant job. We spent ages rehearsing and got some good tips and feedback from some of the mentors beforehand.

Check out Paul’s giving our All Hearts Alliance pitch:

Sunday’s real focus became the pitch, which was important but it was slightly frustrating as it felt like it pulled energy from working on the actual startup. It was still a good experience though, and the process of pitching did help refine our ideas.

So, what a crazy weekend! It was hard work, lots of fun and a great personal development experience. My team has a solid concept to move forward with developing our idea which we plan to do – after a long sleep and maybe a week off first :-)

I think the organisers plan to expand Social Startup 48 to other cities so if you have the chance to participate then I definitely recommend you apply – you’ll have a brilliant experience.

SS48: I’m in!

April 17, 2012 Passion Comments

I have great news to share – I’m thrilled to have been accepted into a weekend event called Social StartUp 48. In their own words:

‘SS48 is a 48 hour gathering of amazing minds. You will spend a weekend building the model for an innovative business that creates social impact. You will be guided by specialist mentors and inspirational speakers, and you will pitch your idea to a panel of judges’.

WOW!!

Essentially the weekend brings together motivated people who are passionate about positive change and using business principles and know-how to create social enterprises that address a need.

This is really up my alley and just at the right time it seems. I have been attending a lot of different talks and forums lately and reading about inspiring initiatives and people, all of which has opened up a part inside me that I’ve not known what to do with. I’ve been wondering what my potential is to contribute in some way – what purpose can I serve? What can I do with this passion and intention I have? Sometimes when you wonder long enough the universe opens up an opportunity.

I saw SS48 advertised somewhere and off I applied. We had to propose an idea for a social start-up so I wracked my brain. There are a number of different causes that pull at my conscience. Sustainability. Society’s caregivers and their families – sibling support in particular. The plight of the homeless. Community. I didn’t have any major brainwaves – only one idea which extended on the many variations in the ‘random acts of kindness’ movement. I have long appreciated the efforts of WakeUp Sydney, where people perform random acts of kindness accompanied with a kindness card. The act is anonymous and the card is only left in order to urge the recipient to pay it forward. I love the anonymity factor and I have often pondered over the chain effect. The beauty of a link of kindness extending from one person to another to another to another. I thought about younger generations growing up in a world of less anonymity, but increased detachment. My idea was born.

I proposed the idea of trackable kindness cards, cards that still retained the anonymity of the kindness giver but tracked the link of kindness itself. Perhaps even allowing organisations or communities to start a kindness campaign and track the ripple. I think the idea could easily be built on, if it gets short listed anyway.

The weekend is happening on 4-6 May. I’m not too sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to uniting with other enthusiastic, compassionate and creative people. I hope there is real scope to expand a great idea and develop the strategic framework to make it happen. To end with a defined vision, strategy and a plan-of-action to continue building on would be ideal. We will see!

Ten amazing weeks culminated in a frenzy of deadlines as my internship at Janagraha came to an end. It was a fabulous experience, and one that I am truly grateful for. I worked with such an awesome group of people who offered not only support and friendship but the creative, collaborative work environment I was looking for.

It was a valuable opportunity and not wasted on me. I had pretty specific goals for this break from a work environment back home I have been in for seven years. I really needed a new perspective and it delivered in every way. The variety of design projects and a new dynamic definitely broadened my experience, skill set and confidence as a designer and communications professional, as well as re-invigorated my passion and purpose for my work back in Australia.

I was sad to say goodbye to ‘my team’ and the projects I left behind but there’s no doubt I left feeling satisfied with the work I did, in respect to what I contributed to the organisation and what I was able to take away.

As a parting gift my thoughtful team gave me a framed picture of the group of us sitting up on the rooftop of our office building, where we often went for tiny cups of sweet tea and coffee. It is funny the tiny moments, smells, tastes that stay with you when you leave a place and time – sitting on those steps with my Indian friends is one of those moments I know I will always feel like ‘it was just yesterday’.

When I’m connected again I will feature some of the work I produced for Janaagraha.