Image by Alexander Suhorucov

Blog 001 – The Beginning Of OnRamp, A Women’s Upskilling Programme, Created By Vibewire

By | OnRamp, The Feed

When I first joined Vibewire I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I was going to be doing for OnRamp. This program was completely new and the board entrusted me to bring their idea to life. All I knew was that the goal was to close the wage gap. Future jobs require 70% more enterprise skills aka people skills than it used to, and there were research proven skill sets that would boost people’s capabilities. We knew that women are less likely to ask for the job or ask for the pay rise. I’ve seen this in myself and the women around me as well.

Armed with this knowledge, we decided to build a program that targeted the issues on both ends. Not only do we build their confidence, but also their communication, leadership and presentation skills. Our board member Mike Biggs offered his knowledge of teaching in order to build a curriculum that we could work with. To make sure our curriculum was solid, we reached out to a few of Mike’s and Vibewire’s contacts, women who also had teaching experience and understood the issues we were tackling, to get their feedback.

Shoutout to Susan Wolfe, Tanya Wong and Melanie Kendell for your support on building the curriculum to elevate women’s careers! They shared great ideas that we wouldn’t have considered, helped with the structure and flow of the program to ensure it made sense. Perfect. Now all we needed were speakers…. (To be continued)

How to Pitch Your Idea

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, SkillsGym

You could have the most amazing product or idea that a hackathon has ever seen, but if you don’t use your pitch presentation effectively no one is going to take notice.

In this series of videos Nancy Duarte explains the importance of presentations and using them effectively when it comes to pitching an idea or product. Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in a number of respectable publications as well as having written five best-selling books of her own. Her firm is a global leader in visual messaging surrounding business and culture. She’s a ‘persuasion expert’ that manages to weave storytelling and story patterns into business communications.

In these videos Nancy Duarte gets right to the heart of what will make our presentations better when we start to work on our pitches.

  • Don’t get creative before you understand your idea – Putting together your presentation is creatively telling your story in a linear fashion. If you start to put your idea into a pitch presentation before you fully understand it, it becomes so much easier to miss out on thinking about the finer details. You need to make sure you understand your idea in its messiest form before you can make it look pretty.
  • A great pitch doesn’t start with ‘Save As’ – It’s super easy to open up an old pitch deck or presentation and then work your new idea into these old slides, but it isn’t going to be effective. Each new idea will have its own story, its own audience, and your presentation should represent that. Start fresh with a new presentation, give your idea that respect and originality it deserves.
  • Are you spending too much time on your presentation? – Obviously having a presentation to accompany your pitch is important, but how much time is too much time when it comes to making your slides? It’s all about proportion as Duarte suggests. The presentation should be proportionate to what is at stake. If you spend the whole hackathon perfecting your presentation you run the risk of not delving deep enough into your idea, the challenges, or any number of things.

These are all great things to remember as you prepare for your next pitch. 

8 Ways to Hack Healthcare Ethically

By | Hack4Health

According to a recent World Economic Forum Mental Health and Tech Report, mental health disorders are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and could cost the global economy around $16 trillion by 2030. That’s TRILLION.

Globally, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people – and was one of the core topics that we investigated in our Hack4MentalHealth in 2018. And while some great solutions were developed, it’s clear that we are a long way from stemming this challenging tide.

One of the great surprises – and delights of the Hack4MentalHealth was the development of powerful tech solutions. Built in close consultation with mental health experts and individuals with lived experience, we saw artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, cloud-based deep learning platforms that connected chatbot engines to mental health experts, and data-driven prototypes with ambitions to change the face of mental health for young people.

As we prepare for our upcoming Hack4Health, we know that mental health is top of the priority list for young people. We also know that our community of hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians are keen to apply their expertise to these massive challenges.

With this in mind, this recent World Economic Forum report on Mental Health and Technology provides a great framework for the development of ethical technology. They outline eight actions – many of which are fundamental to our Hacks4Impact approach:

  1. Create a governance structure – build ethics into the heart of your data collection, analysis and distribution architecture
  2. Develop regulation – balance human rights and innovation
  3. Responsible practices – incorporate lived experience into the development process
  4. Test and then learn – continually test and learn from your users
  5. Consent at scale – work with communities and obtain their consent
  6. Measure impact – connect your test and learn approach to a measurement framework
  7. Build sustainably – don’t build a walled garden – leverage open tech and platforms where possible
  8. Be generous – prioritise low income and disadvantaged communities.

You can read the full report here.

You can put your ideas into action by joining us for Hack4Health in September. It’s your chance to impact the future of health.

If your organisation is interested in sponsoring a challenge area at the Hack4Health, please leave a comment below.

Share your vision for the federal election – join us for electionWIRE 2019

By | electionWIRE, The Feed

When the postal survey on legalising same-sex marriage was announced, an extra 90,000 Australians registered to vote. And the upcoming 2019 election has seen the highest ever enrolment rate ever – 96.8%.

With 1.69 million of the 16.4 million Australians now registered, issues affecting young people should be high on the agenda. After all, we represent just over 10% of voters.

And yet, when we look at the policies, the way they are being pitched, and the focus of spending and programs – there’s little focus on the needs and aspirations of young people. Or is there?

What would YOU like to see in the big picture of your future?

Join us for #electionWIRE on Twitter

Rather than just hearing what the political parties want to tell us, we want to hear your perspectives:

  • What’s important for you in the election?
  • What are your frustrations?
  • What do you want to see change?

Hosted by comedian, film-maker and rabble-rouser, Dan Ilic, you can join us on Twitter, following the hashtag #electionWIRE:

Where: Twitter
When: 6pm AEST
Who to follow: @Vibewire @DanIlic

We are creating a list of topics – but we’d love to hear from you. We’ve got:

  • Climate change
  • Housing affordability
  • New Start
  • Homelessness
  • Mental health

But if you have a topic you’d like to discuss, leave a comment below. Or just turn up on Thursday night and share your perspectives on #electionWIRE.

Youth Homelessness is Getting Worse, Not Better

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing, The Feed

Despite the millions that have been invested in tackling homelessness, challenges remain. In fact, there seems to be more ways to be homeless than every before:

  • We live in overcrowded housing, sharing rooms with extended families and even strangers
  • We avoid the dangers of rough sleeping by couchsurfing and staying with friends a few nights at a time
  • We huddle in boarding houses and supported accommodation when we can find a place
  • We sleep rough.

Imagining a different future for young people

Imagine for a moment what it is like to do this. Think of the stress and anxiety that comes with not having a safe place to rest at the end of the day.

And then imagine that you are a young person.

The simple fact is that youth homelessness is rising. The CHP fact sheet reveals that youth homelessness has increased 26% from 2006-2016. And more recent figures confirm this worrying trend.

The thing about homelessness is that it often combines other challenges. For example, if you are homeless, it’s likely that you have experienced family and domestic violence, have (or will develop) mental health issues and experience financial exclusion and poverty. These create the conditions for a difficult downwards spiral that well-supported adults struggle to deal with. A young person may never find their way to a more stable future.

Think about the young people in your life. Think about the young people you pass in the street. Help us imagine a different future for them.

What you can do

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Vibewire was established with the belief that young people should create, not inherit the future. And our Hacks4Impact are designed to put power, choice and decision making into the hands (and minds) of young people. In April 2019, we are calling on the hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians to help us develop new solutions to homelessness. We know that what we have on offer are not working – and we need to start somewhere. That somewhere is the MnM Institute on 5-7 April. Join us we make a difference.

Two Ways to Make NSW a Better Place for Young People

By | Hack4Homelessness, Hackathing

Over 9000 young people experience homelessness in New South Wales.

In 2017, we ran our first social impact hackathon – on homelessness. We brought together a range of partners, peak bodies and companies and connected them with young creatives and entrepreneurs from the Vibewire community. We had great mentors from, Jewish House, NSW Council of Social Service, SGCH, QBE Insurance, Minerva Collective and Exodus Foundation.

People with the lived experience of homelessness shared their stories, our hackers, hipsters, hustlers and humanitarians “hacked” solutions.

Two years later and we’re still seeing the same or similar challenges. And the problem seems to be getting worse. Youth homelessness has increased at a rate of 92% since 2006.

What we learned through the hackathon process was that homelessness disproportionately impacts young people. And because it impacts early, it changes their future.

Yfoundations are running a petition in the leadup to the 2019 state election. They have a simple ask – make NSW a better place for young people. Sign up and share your concerns.And if you want to go a step further – put your passions, skills and experience to good use and join us for our Hack4Homelessness in April 5-7. We’d love to see you there.

Laura Rojas is appointed as Vibewire’s new Executive Director

By | The Feed

Announcement: Vibewire’s commitment to young women in leadership, Laura Rojas is appointed as Vibewire’s new Executive Director.

Youth-led and youth run not-for-profit, Vibewire has announced, the next-gen leader, Laura Rojas as Executive Director on International Women’s Day.

As an organization, Vibewire acts as platform to support and advocate young people to think differently. Vibewire backs young people as the change makers of tomorrow through skills workshops, open-forum talks, social impact hackathons, and a long standing creative and tech coworking space for under 30s.

With Laura’s background in technology and business, and a keen interest and understanding of the startup ecosystem in Sydney, she is well placed to build on Vibewire’s almost 20 year history as a youth-oriented social and creative innovator.

Laura explains, “I’ve known about Vibewire for a while and have seen it shift and change into a community that is adamant on making a difference to young people. It provides a sandbox approach that encourages play and a safe way to try new ways of doing things. I feel that spaces like Vibewire are imperative to the development of tomorrow’s world.”

Hitting the ground running, Laura and the board are busy in planning mode to deliver another rich year of social and creative impact innovation. Vibewire’s second social impact hackathon of the year will be held in May, 2018 – with a focus on “financial inclusion”.

“It feels apt that on International Women’s Day Vibewire appoints a young woman in a leadership role – one who will help create a new future for women and young people across New South Wales. We look forward to working with and supporting Laura and the team in the years ahead”, says Vibewire President, Gavin Heaton.


About Vibewire

At Vibewire, we’re not your average co-working space, incubator or accelerator.

We are a skills gym that makes young people ‘enterprise’ fit. Whether you’re an artist, freelancer, working in a startup or a corporate – you’ve noticed the world is changing rapidly around us.

We’re backing young people as the future makers driving this change. We know to get things right, you usually need to get it wrong first. In the results driven world of business and study, you’re often marked against your abilities. There’s not always a space and community where you can experiment and learn, fail safe and push boundaries.

That’s what we’re all about – exercising your brain through an intensive program with real project briefs, expert coaches and our inspiring members. We do through through 4 workout sessions – Soapbox Club, Dollar Dollar Bill, Hack-A-Thing and Start Up Sundays – as a part of our Skills Gym.