Uncertain? You’re Not Alone at Vibewire’s #fastBREAK

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fastbreak-uncertain

If there is one thing that we can all agree upon, it’s that we all feel UNCERTAIN.

It could be about work. Our partners. Our future.

Do you have a calling or a mission? Do you feel out of touch? Let down? Discombobulated?

Chances are, you’re not alone.

In fact, Vibewire’s upcoming fastBREAK breakfast on 27 May at 8am, is your chance to find out just how un-alone you really are. And you can do it by being with others who feel the same uncertainty.

Join me and five great, young leaders as they share their insights into uncertainty at the first fastBREAK event for the year.

It’s FIVE speakers with FIVE minutes to tell their story. You get to meet and mingle with the speakers and audiences, drink coffee and eat breakfast and still be back at work in time for your WIP meeting. Just a couple of the speakers you will see include:

BRITTANY LEE WALLER
“I like to think of myself as a storyteller, less bad dad jokes more witty, life of the party sort of raconteur. A girl can dream, right?”

Brittany Lee Waller is a freelance writer, editor and content producer. She has spent 8 years working across Gourmet Traveller, Peats Ridge Music Festival, Drinks World Asia, Rare Birds and Nine Network Australia. Brittany founded storytelling site Meet the People because she has always believed that people should be at the essence of everything we do. She likes short walks to the bar and prefers everything to come with a pop culture reference.

OSMAN FARUQI

Osman Faruqi is the co-founder of MetaPoll. He has worked closely with a number of research firms in Australia as a campaign strategist and political adviser for the Australian Greens. He also has an in-depth understanding of Australia’s media and political landscape as a result of his work as a political journalist, broadcaster and commentator. He likes politics, ice cream, Gossip Girl and nationalising things.

Get your tickets here.

Investing in the Future of Young People

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Through Vibewire I have been working with young people for over seven years. It’s a not for profit association whose aim is to be a launchpad for young change makers. In the time that I have been involved, I have been astounded by the way that, given an opportunity and some nurturing, young people can truly accelerate their professional and personal trajectory. We have run hundreds of events – some large scale and some barely more than a meeting. We have provided project experience and internships for hundreds of people who have gone on bigger and better things. And we have seen dozens of social impact and tech startups incubate, grow and scale.

But it is largely a thankless task. Just as soon as we launch one cohort of young people into the world, another comes along. The challenges remain the same:

  • Lack of opportunity for meaningful work
  • Soft skills require substantial work and support
  • Challenging and entrepreneurial roles are few and far between.

And in many ways, Vibewire’s programs of spaces (coworking for young people), skilling (workshops), startups (mentoring and support) and showcasing (amplifying the work of young people through events and online promotion) have been designed to consistently deliver these outcomes. But it’s difficult to maintain. Hard to attract sponsorship and support. After all, Vibewire has always been youth-led and youth-run, and as such, our teams are constantly learning the ropes. Learning what it takes to build corporate relationships. Learning what it takes to deliver on project promises. Learning the business of creativity and business.

I am often asked what keeps me involved.

My involvement in Vibewire is beautifully summed up in this great speech by Eric Thomas. It’s a gift of love. An investment in the next generation. And a mark of respect for the futures of the young people who come through Vibewire’s doors.

Look at Me-When Screen Time Changes Lives

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Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye
— Val Doonican

In my childhood home we listened to both kinds of music – country and western. There was none of this “modern” country – it was heavily loaded with Johnny Cash, Charlie Pride and Waylon Jennings. There was a smattering of Willie Nelson, albums of Dolly Parton before 9 to 5, and even some Elvis. Of course, there was Slim Dusty. But one of my Nan’s favourites was Val Doonican’s Walk Tall. She would say it was more than a song – it was a handbook for life.

The concept of looking the “world right in the eye” is deeply ingrained in us. Certainly in Western culture. So much so that we believe it’s hard to look someone in the eye and lie. This has been debunked as a myth, but its cultural currency remains strong. In 1997, Dr Arthur Aron published a paper that showed simply staring into the eyes of a stranger for four minutes uninterrupted can have a massive impact on the development of “closeness” or “relationships”. Recently, this was charmingly re-enacted (under more open conditions) by Mandy Len Catron and written up in the New York Times.

But what happens if a person you love – a child – your child – won’t look you in the eye? This is the case for many parents of children with autism:

People with an autism have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships. They do not respond to many of the non-verbal forms of communication that many of us take for granted like like facial expressions, physical gestures and eye contact.

But what if that could be changed? And what if technology could help?

Samsung in Korea worked with universities to create an app that taught autistic kids to look at faces, decypher emotions and understand what is going on with the person they are “communicating” with. The Look At Me app is the result:

The Look at Me app aims to improve an individual’s ability to make eye contact. A multidisciplinary team of clinical psychologists, cognitive psychologists, and psychiatrists have dedicated their participation in developing the app curriculum. The app is currently under clinical testing to verify its effectiveness through research. The app keeps children motivated and highly concentrated by using the camera function of digital devices that often appeal to children’s interests.

And now, following the success of the app in Korea, Samsung Canada is donating 200 tablets preloaded with the Look At Me app to Autism Speaks Canada.

This is technology that really has the potential to change lives. It brings technology, creativity, health and psychology together in an ingenious way. And at least in some households, it will be perfectly acceptable to have plenty of “screen time”. It would be great to see the same kind of program here in Australia.

HT: Digital Buzz Blog

Creating a sustainable food culture with @OzHarvest for #ThinkEatSave

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In 2013, OzHarvest set themselves the goal to “feed the 5000” using rescued food. And after that first successful initiative, in 2014, the aim was to grow the one-day event significantly. For ThinkEatSave, OzHarvest partnered with with the United Nations to tackle the issues of food and nutrition security and sustainable food systems.

Some of the nation’s top chefs, politicians and celebrities united at events held across Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Newcastle to take a stance against food waste, and serve thousands of members of the public a free, delicious and hearty hot meal made from surplus produce that would have otherwise ended up as landfill.

Amazingly, food waste is currently costing Australians up to $10 billion each year, while two million people still rely on food relief – with global food loss + waste reaches 1.3 billion tonnes (yes, billion).

Here are some of the social media highlights from an amazing day

Speak Up About Mental Health

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Thorpe-and-ParkinsonYears ago when Mark Pollard and I were working on The Perfect Gift for a Man, we felt like we were doing something important – encouraging people, men in particular – to speak up, write and share their stories. And it wasn’t just the fact that young men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of women of the same age – nor even the severe impact that depression is having on young people – that was staggering. It was the way that people and stories came out of the woodwork once we asked.

Stories are a powerful way of connecting – but they do need to find a space in which to be told. Vibewire’s recent “Serial Issue” on Mental Wellbeing unearthed some great stories, showcased some new technologies and revealed surprising statistics about mental health in Australia.

And Ian Thorpe’s interview with Michael Parkinson last night was a great step forward in the conversation about mental health. As Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut.com says, “The positive impact that will result from Ian’s eloquent discussion of his struggles will be felt by young people right around the country today.”

But making sure this impact continues to build momentum, there are some things that you can do:

  1. Share this ReachOut.com fact sheet on coming out
  2. Post this information about self-help for Depression
  3. Email these stress strategies to young people you know
  4. Talk about bullying with your family tonight
  5. Call at least 1 young person you know today and remind them that they’re loved

In addition, if there are young people you know going through tough times, please let them know that help exists:

  1. For a safe and anonymous online service there’s ReachOut.com
  2. For face to face counselling there’s headspace
  3. For telephone support there’s Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 & Lifeline 13 11 14

And remember, speak up about mental health. It’s hard for it to stay hidden when it’s discussed in the light of day.

Tales of the One in Ten

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Disadvantage can shape an entire life. This short, animated film by The Smith Family called, David & the Big Heavy, follows the true story of a young boy struggling to cope with issues at home and school as his family adjusts to life in a new country.

But then something happens that he could never have imagined.

Watch and share and help change someone else’s story.

Why One in Ten Australian Children Live with Disadvantage and We Don’t Do Anything About It

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We hear empty promises all the time – from our cultural, political and business leaders. They pass over the airwaves, across the internet and through our minds. In many instances, we filter them out – discard them as spin doctoring or static in an already-too-noisy world. Often these claims are backed up by statistics or a number – $10 billion worth of investment, 65% of respondents – but by the time we reach the “proof point”, the objective has already been lost.

Bob Hawke 1980Remember former Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously promised by 1990, “no Australian child will be living in poverty”?

But 1990 came and went. And a new campaign from The Smith Family explains that we are perhaps, farther away from this noble goal than ever. In fact, one in ten Australian children – 638,000 kids – live with financial disadvantage.

What does financial disadvantage look like?

Take a few minutes to watch the video from The Smith Family. It does a great job of capturing the sense of disadvantage and the powerlessness that comes with it.

What you can do to change this

But the video also provides some suggestions for action … for achievable change that you can support:

Prove me wrong and change a life.

Bob Hawke 1980Creative Commons License State Library of South Australia via Compfight

Pitch the Future–Young Social Innovators in Action

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You know what it’s like when inspiration hits … an idea galvanises in your mind like a bolt of electricity, sending your pulse racing. And the more you think on it, the more you feel your nerve fibres tingling.

But what happens when you tell someone about your idea? Your mouth dries. The words tumble out one on top of the other … you get tongue tied, excited and afraid. What happens if someone steals your brilliance? What if your idea is no good?

Now imagine, that you are taking your idea and pitching it to a room of strangers. Imagine that this idea is a deep seated passion and could have a real social impact if successful. And then imagine pitching your idea against four other people just as passionate about their idea as you are about yours.

Pitch the Future event at the Vivid Ideas Festival last night. Check out the story as it unfolded below. And who won? You’ll have to follow along to find out!

Don’t Give Up

Beginners

Creativity is hard work. Actually, work, life, everything is hard work.

For every 100 good ideas that you put up, you’ll be lucky to see one take root.

For every “yes” that you get, there’ll be dozens of “nos”.

And for every spark you ignite in others, there’ll be whole audiences of blank faces.

Remember, too, it all takes time.

Effort.

Resistance to the resistance.

But your time will come.

If you hold tight.

Push through that last mile of indifference.

And self-defeat.

Learn.

Be humble.

And generous too.

But most of all.

Don’t give.

Up.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Inspired by Stan.

Startups – How Do You Like Them Apples?

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Starting a business is like flying by the seat of your pants. Even experienced entrepreneurs experience the simultaneous challenges of validating and launching a product, marketing, resourcing, managing staff, engaging stakeholders and securing funding. Often – in the whirlwind – a strategic approach to marketing is lost. Or worse – ignored. My view (as it would be), is that it is never too early to market.

But wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that you could accelerate your marketing? What if you could draw upon the experience and know-how of not just your best-friend-who-does-some-marketing, but one of the world’s most respected agencies?

You are thinking big dollars, right?

And yes, it could easily cost $100k.

A Little Help from Leo Burnett

During the Great Depression, Leo Burnett opened a small advertising agency. As a symbol of hope in a gloomy and challenging time, a bowl of fresh apples was placed at the front desk to welcome clients.

These days, Leo Burnett is one of the world’s largest communications companies – and they still welcome clients with fresh apples.

And now – with Help from Leo – they are aiming to give one new Australian business the chance to win $100k in strategic and creative advice.

How? They are taking the apples and turning them into a cider business.

If you think your business – your startup – or your idea could do with a boost, it’s time to hone your pitching skills. To be in the running, the minimum entry requirement is a short written statement of up to 250 words describing your business vision. Polish your words and enter at www.helpfromleo.com.

Prize is up to $100,000 (incl. GST) worth of strategic and creative advice for a single project, and excludes execution of ideas, including production or placement of any TV, press, radio, digital or other campaign, and also excludes 3rd party / external costs. Value of prize will depend on project winner requests. Conditions apply see helpfromleo.com. Ends 03/05/13. Entrant must be 18+ and own or own a majority of an Australian business with an ABN operating for 2 years or less as at 02/04/13. Limit 1 entry per business. Crafted by Leo Burnett with assistance from Eling Forest Winery.

Good luck!