The Start Something brand, curriculum, workshops and engagement strategy were all created using the Wildwon design process, specifically to meet the needs of people in regional NSW.
Through user interviews and co-design activities myself and the Wildwon team engaged with our target audience of ‘hard to reach’ regional community members who were active on social and environmental issues but didn’t yet identify as entrepreneurs. We uncovered common challenges to these audiences and prioritised these in order to create our focus areas for the Start Something content:
Idea generation and project definition, which became ‘Shape Your Idea’;
Early stage financing which became ‘Finding Finance’; and
Digital storytelling which became ‘Tell Your Story’.
Key findings from the research phase showed that when it came to language in regional areas we needed to strip out jargon and focus on ‘keeping it real’ and ‘telling it straight’. Additionally, we found that many people we interviewed had a wealth of experience working on community and environmental issues and when they saw a problem they simply started doing something about it, and had never considered it to be ‘social entrepreneurship’.
There was also a mistrust of Government as well as inner-city visitors entering their community to ‘teach’ them. These insights helped build up the case to rename the project ‘Start Something’ and create a brand that looked very different to any Government initiatives these communities may have seen in the past.
Experience design principles were developed that became the guide and measure for all design and communications leading up to, during and after the workshops. These principles informed everything I did for the project; from the language, images and promotional channels we used to the key moments created for the workshops.
Pacing through the experience of a ‘Start Something’ participant via a detailed Learning Journey Map meant being able to pre-empt any pain points throughout the workshop experience and change the model accordingly. Surveys with participants after each workshop also helped adapt the flow for the next stop on our road trip to four regional areas of NSW.
At the oversubscribed Start Something workshops, people readying to launch sustainability initiatives and social enterprises got hands on with real tools such as the Business Model Canvas, a Digital Storytelling Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas to refine their plans. They heard the story of a successful social enterprise startup journey from a ‘local voice’ (ie. someone like them from their local area) and scripted, filmed and produced a pitch and crowdfunding video end-to-end. Projects included eco-tourism enterprises, solar farm startups, sustainable hemp farming, an insect-based protein company and an exciting social housing initiative for recently arrived migrants.
One of the key objectives of this project was to make the workshop model replicable. By creating a facilitator handbook, each participant was given the ability to deliver the knowledge back to their communities.
Each attendee left with a 44 page handbook, covering everything in the workshop with extra references. They also became part of the online community via the Start Something Alumni Facebook Group to continue learning and sharing.
A four-episode podcast series was recorded as a training tool to further extend the reach of Start Something to others in regional NSW.
The podcasts were created because some people couldn’t attend the regional workshops and from the insights report we knew that people in rural areas are out and about a lot so they wouldn’t have access or be able to use screens (e.g. driving long distances, working on a farm) so a podcast was the best mode of delivery.
The program was initially delivered as four workshops in Western Sydney, Bathurst, Byron Bay and Albury and now continues as a set of resources available to anyone.