Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement
Idea title: Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement
One Sentence description: Change the Story, Change the World
Addressing topic: Social Procurement Challenge
Team members: Mikey Leung, Zara Choy, Peter Dowson, Natasha Akib
Provide an overview of your solution and how it solves the problem along with a short description of your inspiration behind the idea:
Social procurement should be further along than it is today. But the problem here is rather like the chicken and egg: In order to grow one’s social enterprise to one needs investment, opportunities and most importantly contracts. But when buyers don’t have a sense of what the enterprise can do and what scale it could operate at, they aren’t ready to buy.
This is because social enterprises haven’t told their impact stories at scale, specifically for the social procurement marketplace. Their value propositions aren’t clear enough for buyers, especially the social and economic nature of that proposition.
Thus, our solution is what we do today at Digital Storytellers. While our main work is to tell stories of positive impact through film, we believe that the future is to train others in creating their own ‘Stories For Impact.’
Traditionally, our customers have been large scale non-profits, or even corporates, who want to tell their story of how they are purchasing more responsibly in the market. For example, we’ve also been contracted to create these two pieces which explain the social procurement concept in general:
We’ve discovered that all social enterprises need good storytelling, but we’ve also discovered that very few can afford it, let alone hire a professional video team to create a story for them that could attract social procurers. So our solution is to create “Stories For Impact” -- a set of learning tools and resources by which changemakers of all stripes and sizes can learn to communicate their impact story with more impact using their own skills and resources.
And thus our solution: we propose to facilitate a series of EIGHT impact stories from a carefully curated group of social enterprises. These will become a set of digital stories that become seeds for further growth in social procurement storytelling.
Describe your solution in detail, providing a high-level business plan addressing how you would implement your solution:
We believe that in order to grow the supplier capacity of social procurement, social enterprises need to target their stories to social procurers in a stronger and smarter way -- in short to tell their ‘Story for Impact’.
While we know that social procurers are already in the market and interested, the connectivity between buyers and suppliers is limited, and while some solutions intend to build marketplace connectivity, each of these suppliers still needs digital storytelling ‘nous’ in order for buyers to feel confident, engaged and realistic about what the social enterprise is and can do.
We know we’ve got a marketplace already going for our learning programs and have just completed a vastly successful crowdfunding campaign to prove the point. People want to learn to create their own digital stories of doing good. Based in Sydney, Stories For Impact now runs successful and well loved face to face workshops, clinics and programs across Australia. Many of our workshop participants have been social enterprises that can (or could grow to) meet the demands of social procurement.
We believe that well told impact stories will help lift the social procurement movement, and that the onus is on enterprises to communicate their value propositions, both social and economic. We want to enable suppliers tell their own stories (increase supply and quality of supply), and then facilitate the matching of storytellers with impact projects and organisations (fulfil demand, promote social procurement).
Digital Storytellers is a purpose-driven film-making agency. We craft impactful stories with positive narratives to make a difference in the world. Our mission is to help create a better narrative for the world, through telling stories that matter, and sharing our knowledge and resources to empower a wider community of storytellers.
Because of limited budgets and capacity, we are unable to serve all changemakers through our services in our agency, yet we see many amazing stories that need to be told. Stories For Impact was born from this challenge, and the opportunity that the rise of technology brings. It is a Digital Storytellers initiative with the mission of creating a global community of impact storytellers, to accelerate change through the power of storytelling.
Business Plan:We are currently developing online courses for both individuals and organisations, which teaches participants how to FIND, MAKE, EDIT and SHARE their stories with accessible and affordable technologies, like the smartphone in their pocket. Our plan is to scale the initiative via online offerings, grow the community of impact storytellers, support the development of those who wish to pursue pathways to purpose, and facilitate the matching impact storytellers with organisations who need storytelling work. The initiative has generated revenue from the workshops, clinics and programs, and will continue to do so from the additional online offerings. Once that is up and running and growing the community of Impact Storytellers, we intend to build a platform that supports our alumni on their storytelling journey to with showcasing who they are and their work, establishes them as a reputable collective of impact storytellers, and help match them with projects that need social impact storytelling, such as the social enterprises who lack their own storytelling resources, monetary or skills.
PHASE 1: Story creation
With the prize money from the challenge, we’ll tailor our tried and proven curriculum of how to FIND, MAKE, EDIT & SHARE stories and deliver this to a group of eight carefully curated social enterprises.
We’ll coach them to hone in on the messaging that resonates with social procurers and up-skill them to communicate their capacity -- all of this using smartphones and affordable equipment.
By the end of the program the social enterprises will have created videos to tell their social procurement stories AND have the skills to continue creating stories into the future.
PHASE 2: Story Impact
Once the stories are created, we’d take these stories out onto the road.
- In future, we could partner with sector intermediaries and deliver a campaign on top of these stories that will target social procurers. We can reach new procurers through a broad awareness campaign, or we could empower existing procurers to use the stories to influence their companies.
- If we join forces, we could even create a Social Procurement ‘travelling film festival’, which could be a series of screenings and events bringing together suppliers and buyers. Think of a cross between the Tropfest film festival and the activity and networking at The Social Marketplace.
Outline the budget required to achieve the ambition of your idea:
Phase 1: Create, launch and deliver Online Courses and Programs to individuals and organisations
- Sourcing the Social Enterprise Cohort $5,000
- Tailoring the Course work for the needs of Social Procurers $5,000
- Course Facilitation - $15,000
- TBC, but approximately $30,000 to run a broad awareness campaign from these stories, as well as an internal messaging campaign amongst companies who want to improve their social procurement readiness, requires investment from intermediary partners to make this possible
- TBC, a further $20,000 to run the 'travelling film festival' and marketplace to connect buyers and suppliers, also requires investment from intermediary partners to make this possible
Partnerships are critical for a stronger idea and delivering a solution. Who are the key stakeholders within your idea? Is your solution the result of a collaborative approach? If not, are you looking to bring other partners along:
We have worked with a range of partners in communicating the social procurement journey and would continue to engage them as our mission is aligned:
- Goverment: The Office of Environment and Heritage commissioned the above linked videos and wants more stories of social procurement
- Intermediaries: We have previously partnered with organisations such as Social Traders and The Difference Incubator
- Social Enterprises/Suppliers: Our brand is well known in the social enterprise ecosystem and many are already engaged in our workshops
- Corporates: We could approach other corporate sponsors (some of whom are our previous customers) who might like their brand to be associated with the social procurement marketplace
- Social Procurers: Via Social Traders, we have pitched to social procurers previously and would propose to engage them into this storytelling process in some way.
To strengthen the likelihood of success, a broad foundation of evidence is critical. What’s the evidence base that points towards your solution being a success? Is your solution addressing an unmet gap in the market:
Our strongest evidence is our two crowdfunding campaigns (2017 campaign and 2014 campaign). Collectively, these two campaigns have already raised over $50K in actual market demand for storytelling training. We know there is more need for training digital storytelling for social procurement. Our product is our solution at Digital Storytellers and we wouldn’t be around today if we weren’t addressing an unmet gap.
Leaders in social procurement have supported us previously. Here’s a message from Sandy Blackburn-Wright for our 2014 campaign.
Finally, we believe our own social enterprise, which has survived solely on market demand and never needed grant funding and has grown to approx $1M annual turnover is the strongest evidence that there is a critical need for social enterprises to reach a new slice of the market in order to scale. We are facing that same question constantly.
Who are the key beneficiaries of your solution:
The challenge calls us to consider the supply side of the solution although there is plenty of storytelling work to do for the demand side of the equation as well. By increasing the capacity of the supply side (ie social enterprises), we believe we would probably help solve the problem on the demand side as well.
Do you have funding partners interested in your idea:
Other funding partners are interested in our idea and we believe that the Social Procurement challenge award would help us convince these partners to invest more, and also give us the capacity to grow the Stories For Impact program, with a specific focus on social procurement suppliers. We close on actually closing agreement on our first ever grant which will help us grow the resources with the Stories For Impact program.
We also have customers -- especially workshop participants who are attracted to the creative allure of film-making and know that video would help them SHOW their story instead of just telling it.
Describe your most successful experience executing a solution to a problem:
Our strongest experience allies with our experience as a social enterprise. For five years we have been innovating, testing and experimenting with our creativity and our business. After living several years as a bootstrapped, grant-free organisation that survives or thrives on its creativity, we have begun the process of maturing our enterprises systems, processes and team.
We have discovered that we can’t replicate our own creativity and skills, but we can train other people to cultivate their own skill, art and craft of digital storytelling through video. We call our training program “Stories For Impact” as we believe that the stories of a better future are what will generate the momentum and supply the narrative for our movement to succeed.
Optional visual/picture/infographic that demonstrates your idea:
Idea Opened: 03:51 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Idea Closes: 06:00 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Time to go: Closed