Change in the Fast Lane- The Vodafone Change Accelerator

Do you have an innovative idea for creating change? Got great expertise in youth and community development?

We want you to come away from the accelerator programme with a greater understanding of technology, future possibilities and yourself. We’ll be bringing in a range of experts and organisations to support your learning development on a range of topics.

When we read the brief for NZs first Vodafone Foundation Change Accelerator back in July, we knew it was something that challenge and grow our organisation and our team and we wanted to be part of it!

Getting the call in August set an incredible adventure in motion that took our ‘What if …’ and made it into something tangible and real.

Our ‘What if?’ was pretty simple, ‘What if we could take everything we have learned from our ‘in person’ ambassador programme and use technology to make this available to 12-14 year olds anywhere in NZ with an internet connection?’

How could we hold onto what makes our approach successful within the online space?  The collaboration, connection and creativity that empower our young people to create meaningful change one person at a time.

From Day One, we knew that we were involved in something quite special.  The Vodafone Foundation have a unique ability to build real connections between organisations and with their incredible team.  The Change Accelerator whanau are an incredible group of human beings who do work that makes a real impact.  The generosity of time, ideas, support and love enhanced our work and supported us through challenge and motivated us to be better.

Kicking off Week One with Enspiral and Tech for Non-Tech as well as engineering empathy highlighted what is possible when as SLB so clearly expressed, “you come as a learner, not an expert”. This gave us the opportunity to start thinking about where we could take our idea and what was possible.

Week Two took everything we had thought we knew about pitching and storytelling and pushed it further!  The Incredible Kit and Erica from the Ministry of Awesome took us through, step by step how to make an impact and express clearly and meaningfully what we are about!  The next few weeks and peer feedback and a lot of practice (and failing super hard along the way) developed our skills far beyond what we entered with and gave us the chance to evolve how we share our ideas and our story.

The week ended with the Social Enterprise World Forum and the chance to learn from incredible organisations working in the space that we want to explore as options for us to be more sustainable in the future.  Some key take aways here around collaboration and processes that nurture your vision while still getting shit done!

Week Three and things got REALLY, real!!!  Our interactive designer, the PHENOMENAL Yasmine arrived from Wellington and Rapid prototyping began.  We learned more about User Personas, we were challenged to think about who we wanted to reach and how we could do that (and how not to) and we spoke with young people from across NZ to get their insights into questions we had and how we could capture their ideas to support what our young people were collaborating on.

Things then got really hard.  We quickly learned just how easy it was to complicate an idea and lose the heart of what we wanted to achieve BUT we also learned how to learn from that, to reflect, refine and start again and by the following Wednesday, we had … A THING.

A prototype of ‘It Starts With You”, a collaborative Social and Emotional Learning Space for 12-14 year olds that developed practical skills and strategies to create change.

Across Six Themes:

  • Looking after Me
  • Me and Others
  • My Place in the world
  • Understanding Bullying
  • Taking Positive Action
  • Being Prepared

Check out the Video walk through below

Or through Youtube http://

The next step is to secure funding to pilot the programme with 30-40 students in 2018, co create the content with our team and get the word out about a space to be part of making bullying a THING OF THE PAST!

But the learning did not stop there.  Working with Vodafone’s Kitchen Team and re visiting Design Thinking and working through taking our organisation to the next level, business planning with the incredible Andrew and making a plan for the way forward.

Never before have we taken part in an experience that had such practical and aspirational growth.  This experience exceeded every expectation we thought we had.

THANK YOU to Lani, to Rach and to Cris; To Lauren and the Xone team; To Antony and the Vodafone Foundation Board for taking a chance on an idea (a wish) and believing in what could be created given the wrap around support and expertise of your incredible team.

To find out more about the Change Accelerator and the other AMAZING projects, check out the video below, IT’s AWESOME!!!!