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Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

The idea

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 has been 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 host a special cohort of impact storytellers from social enterprises and produce 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 participations have been are 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 an online courses are 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.



CURRENTLY: Phase 1: Stories For Impact Online Courses and Programs (for Individuals and organisations)

Launch Online Courses and e-Learning Platform that enables changemakers to FIND, MAKE, EDIT and SHARE their own powerful, world-changing stories using everyday technology, such as smartphones and tablets. Scale our impact globally by growing the community of Impact Storytellers. Online format overcomes geographical and capacity limitations for delivery, and reaches a wider market/community.


We are currently at this phase of development and propose that to create a cohort of social enterprises who specifically have the capacity to meet social procurement targets.


FUTURE - Phase 2: Impact Storytellers Interns/Mentor Program

A follow on program for those who have completed our face to face or online programs to provide a pathway to purpose. They will be assigned projects to work on, and mentored and supported on these projects.


FUTURE - Phase 3: Impact Storytellers Matching/Marketplace Platform

An Uber for Storytelling, where we provide an account and supporting services for our Impact Storyteller Alumni to find projects and organisations to work with. The platform will facilitate a matching of projects that require storytelling with qualified Impact Storytellers we have trained, and will serve both Impact Storytellers and the Changemaking Community globally.

Target Customers

Stories For Impact Online Courses and Programs:

Changemakers large and small - individuals (entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, independent grassroots changemakers, activists), organisations (Social Enterprises and Associations, NFPs, governments, councils, peak bodies, CSR initiatives, Collective Impact initiatives, Media & Educational Institutions, Philanthropic Organisations/Individuals, Leadership & Culture Change Organisations).

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

TOTAL: $85,000

Budget Breakdown:

  • Managing the Social Enterprise Cohort $5,000
  • Course Facilitation - $15,000
  • Screening Events in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne - $5,000
  • SFI Online Teaching Portal - $60,000 (funded elsewhere, see below)

STORIES FOR IMPACT TEACHING PORTAL: $60,000 - funded separately, 50% raised

    • Course adaptation & Production (Pre-Production, Scripting, Shooting, Filming, Editing, Graphics / Illustration, Talent) $52,000
  • Testing/Pilot & Revision $2500
  • Marketing $2500
  • Platform fees and configuration $3000

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 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 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 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.


Idea Opened: 03:51 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Idea Closes: 06:00 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Time to go: Closed


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The context

Idea Opened: 03:11 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Idea Closes: 06:11 PM, Friday 03 November 2017
Time to go: Closed

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Idea Activity

Idea Activity


Dr. Jodie Goldney commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Sorry, just had another thought smile.  I think that social procurement is a space of paradigmatic change-and to swing people to a different way of thinking is hard word...... I agree with you-one very effective way of enabling that change is through the use of stories.  They hook people in, they create a space where people can empathise, and as a result see new possibilities for themselves-people become inspired.  One testament to the power of stories is how governments disallow access to stories of marginalised communities e.g. refugees

I think this is a great idea, and you already look like you have a track record of success, splashed through with passion.  Good luck with it all.  Jodie


Dr. Jodie Goldney is now contributing to this idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement


Dr. Jodie Goldney commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Hi Mikey, as a qualitative researcher, I love hearing about other people's experience.  I'm wondering whether we might combine forces?  I could do a qual capture which would convert into the QAASP tools......and you could then convert some of those stories (assuming the participants agreed to be identified) into video stories?  I know that is a little different to what you are proposing above...but it's just a thought.  Based on my current understanding of what works well in social media, it's all about videos-and that is one way to lift the SEO of what you are trying to advocate for.  I also think there are synergies in our wanting to deliver our product on we could potentially share development costs around that?  There are some out-of-the-box instances that I'm aware of that might suit your needs (they need tweaking my end)-but you are probably across all of that already.  Anyway, at the very least, it might be worth our having a conversation?  I'm based in Sydney.  Let me know what you think.  Jodie


Mikey Leung commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Thanks Matt Perfect and Alex Oppes -- it has been our long-standing belief that social impact needs storytelling to really move ahead into new markets. 


Mikey Leung commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Okay, try number two. 

Lisa, Tim, Ryan, thank you for your invaluable feedback on our idea. Here's my response. 

1) Our workshop series includes a component which asks participants to consider how they will distribute the stories to the intended audience. We call it the "Share" component of our workshops. 

Find, Make, Edit, Share.

2) In the "Find" component we ask storytellers to carefully contemplate who they want to reach (ie audience) and how they want to reach them (campaign). We use our "Story Canvas" tool to flesh this out before making any stories.  

3) Finally the "Share" component delivers high level social media and digital strategies for outreach towards intended targeted audiences, but may not limited to digital communication. 

In the context of the Social Procurement challenge, I would suggest a travelling film festival to show off the produced stories and to engage social procurers in a creative and fun evening of learning more about the social impact potential they can create by investing in social enterprises. I believe we would find strong collaborations in the sector to help us move such a creative event forward, and a number of my proposed partners would also be clients of Digital Storytellers.  

I hope this helps a bit more with what we envision Lisa Wood Ryan Menner Timothy London. I welcome more of your questions! 


Mikey Leung commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

ARGH! I just typed a big response and your website told me the comment failed. No fun. 


Challenges Support is now contributing to this idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement


Challenges Support commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Hi Mikey Leung - In addition to Lisa's comments above, the following came in from the research panel:

Stories are very important, but people have to want to engage with a story.  In my experience, some kind of connection or relationship is a precondition for engaging with a story. Understanding the stories that hook in procurement staff is critical."

In what ways are you considering audience and outreach?


Lisa Wood is now contributing to this idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement


Lisa Wood commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Creating a story is important and powerful, but it’s impact is to a large extent dependent on story reaching audiences that are receptive to it - beyond assisting in creating the stories will you also advise/assist with targeted dissemination? 



Matt Perfect is now contributing to this idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement


Matt Perfect commented on the idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

Hi Digital Storytellers! Thanks for sharing this idea. Love your work... storytelling is such an art and so essential to developing 'Good Procurement'. I am particularly excited to see you want to include Social Procurers in this, because let's be honest, storytelling does not come naturally to procurement! We often make the mistake of thinking of Social Procurers as the ultimate decision maker but in reality they are all involved in complex multi-lateral negotiations with their suppliers, internal stakeholders and often their customers too. Being able to effectively communicate the value of impact, sometimes without focusing exclusively on the numbers (heaven forbid!) is essential to being able to scale 'Good Procurement' on both the supply and the demand side.  Good luck!


Mikey Leung is now contributing to this idea Stories for Impact - Digital Stories for Social Procurement

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Mikey Leung Co-Founder & Director
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Matt Perfect Founder and Impact Spender
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Lisa Wood Associate Professor, UWA
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Challenges Support Support
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Dr. Jodie Goldney Founding Director
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