Ambition lab needs you!

Here at Impact48 we are busy preparing for some exciting events in 2014.  In the meantime we’d like to share the work of some other organisations that we find exciting; check out Ambition Lab:

AmbitionLabCalling all techy people with different skills sets to make an impact on the Ambition Lab Hackathon (happening in Strathclyde), from 12pm Fri 29th to 6pm Sat 30th. Everyone will work together to create digital solutions to help young people to achieve their dreams.

If you cannot make the start – don’t worry! The node will be recapping the project throughout the evening so feel free to join us after work or university!

The winning digital concept design will be rewarded with £1000 cash prize and a day visit to Cisco head office.

Visit www.ambitionlab.co.uk/hack to find out more and to register.

Any enquiries please contact fungying.koshy@keyfund.org.uk

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The Edinburgh Cyrenians Weekend: 48 Hours And A New Journey Begun

The dust has settled on another Impact48 weekend. The volunteers have dispersed (and hopefully recovered), the presentations are over and the hard work is done. Let us look back on what was achieved over the weekend and what will hopefully remain for The Cyrenians long after.
The Impact48 weekend was all about creating something that was complete and real; something the charity could take advantage of immediately. The team had decided on three areas to pursue. These were:
  • The online finance reporting project
  • The “Give in Kind” social enterprise development
  • A project to achieve quick but important wins on the current website

So after 48 hours, a round of pastries, 4 pizzas, 2 crates of beer, 4 loaves of homemade bread, 4 batches of delicious soup, 6 bags of crisps, (some) fruit, a whirlwind of tweets, a whole lot of coffee and more cake than we care to remember, what impacts were made?

The “Give in Kind” social enterprise development

The challenge for the volunteers was to facilitate the development of the “Give In Kind” social enterprise by providing a basic functional webpage/site and a system which would enable the posting of requests for unwanted items as well as the transaction of these goods between a private individual and recipient registered with the charity.

  • Design: Our designer Scott Burns was able to work up a brand, iconography and full website design in a (long!) day. Scott had to work fast in order to give the developers the most amount of time possible to work on the functionality. The charity desired a standalone brand that still fitted with their existing main brand. See his awesome designs here!
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Our web designers extraordinaire deep in concentration

  • Development: The developers job was to build out the “Give In Kind” social enterprise site and to try to tie all the functionality together in a ridiculously short amount of time. The functionality of the website had a lot of moving parts and this wasn’t really a project anyone could finish in a weekend. However our team astounded us with how remarkably far they had gotten for the past 48 hours and on very little sleep too!
  • Marketing: Jennifer Tough & Kathryn from the Cyrenians worked together on a 3 phase marketing plan including online and offline activities, as well as the Give in Kind elevator pitch. For this they worked up a Prezi to capture the concept of the social enterprise in a visual and engaging way. Jennifer also set up a blog for “Give in Kind” over the weekend, which meant that Kathryn could start blogging about the project’s progress straight way!

Check out the Prezi!

  • Knowledge shared: Although amazing progress was made with the “Give in Kind” site we wanted to make sure that we provided The Cyrenians with something which would allow them to test the feasibility of the social enterprise project right away. Therefore Karen spent some time showing Kathryn from The Cyrenians some existing online tools, such as Basecamp, which could be use to help with the project’s feasibility study at an eariler stage.

Online Finance/Impact Reporting Project

The challenge was to increase the success of and awareness raised by the online Financial and Impact reports by the addition of new formats and interactive elements. All charities have to produce an Impact report and can struggle to present that information. Improving these online reports was identified as vital in furthering the Edinburgh Cyrenians cause as these reports contain valuable information at a detail not presented anywhere else on the website.

Development: Barry developed a micro site specifically created to host and display these reports. The micro site was designed to fit with The Cyrenians brand and allowed more flexibility in presenting the new reporting style and format.

Design: An infographic was created using easel.ly and was designed to capture the vast array of services offered by The Cyrenians in one image – not an easy task! This infographic was created as the centerpiece of the new micro site’s homepage to help visitors better understand all that The Cyrenians do.

Microsite-Infographic

Knowledge Shared: Karen also identified other infographic tools which were free and could be used by Phil at Cyrenians to better communicate the valuable information from the Edinburgh Cyrenians’ accounts. Data was taken from the two annual reports, the Financial Accounts and “Impact” report and transformed into something new and exciting! Check out a sneak peak below.

impact report

See the full micro site here!

Improvements to the current website

In addition to the two bigger projects being undertaken over the weekend the team identified quick, but important wins to be had on The Cyrenians current website. A few tweaks made were:

  • Embedding The Cyrenians’ twitter feed onto their homepage – to increase social engagement and increase the chance of that all important “follow.”
  • Displaying a link to the new micro site and Impact and Account reports on the homepage – to get more people exposed to and reading the hard facts and numbers which emphasise just how valuable and important The Cyrenians are in the work they do.

Knowledge, Information & Insight Share

There were little (but important) ripples of impact over weekend too! A major theme in the feedback gained from the Impact48 weekend with Music in Hospitals was the importance of the knowledge shared over the weekend. So this time around we made sure the information sharing and learning aspect for The Cyrenians was a focus. It was a rare opportunity for The Cyrenians to have a diverse and skilled group of people in one room and valuable knowledge on tap. Over the weekend we made sure they had the chance to take advantage of all sorts of advice, insight and information shared by the volunteers. Aside the various tools and technical knowledge passed on, The Cyrenians also received tips on communication, email marketing and social media. And it wasn’t only the Cyrenians who benefited from this either, information and expertise was passed from volunteer to volunteer too!

The Presentations

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So at around 6pm on Sunday, the tools were downed and the beers were cracked open in anticipation for the evening’s presentations and judging. The guests and judges began to gather in the Attacat office. Two of our very special guest were The Cyrenians CEO Carol-Anne Alcorn and Peter Taylor OBE, one of Scotland’s most respected and celebrated successes in the hospitality and tourism industry. No pressure team!

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Cyrenians’ Phil Reilly presented the new micro site designed for their accounts over the weekend.

Peter Taylor seemed very impressed with the micro site homepage stating “A picture tells a thousand words.” 

While Cyrenians CEO Carol-Anne said of the micro site’s homepage “It works to answer one of our biggest questions, what do the Cyrenians do?”

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Scott reveals his Give in Kind web design.

The guests and judges were absolutely delighted with the result of Scott’s design work. Scott received a tremendous amount of praise, with guests and volunteers tweeting about his work – and his colleagues at IfLooksCouldKill and those at ConfBuzz couldn’t help but take notice.

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They were also visibly astounded by the speed and genius of the development team’s work. The phrase “in awe” was actually used when considering what the developers and designers  had achieved for the charity in a very short amount of time.

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Impact48 participants presenting the weekend’s work

A new journey begun

What an incredible weekend! It was clear to see the passion of the individuals behind The Cyrenians and this weekend’s outcomes have been designed to be easy for current and future staff and volunteers to take forward. We just can’t wait to see how the impacts made over the weekend will develop. We can’t wait to see the “Give in Kind” social enterprise take off and what impacts will be made from injecting some life into their annual reports! Perhaps another shot at a COFRA (Charity Online Financial Reporting Award.)

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And the impact doesn’t end there! Jeff Chang had said he hopes to “keep helping out with the project if the Cyrenians decide to continue and expand “Give in Kind” over the year to come.” It is safe to say that The Cyrenians would be all the better for having his genius (and seriously amazing work ethic) on board! And we are sure he is not alone.

Time can only tell how big the ripples of impact made will grow. These impacts may not take the form we envisioned and we may have made impacts we didn’t realise we had, but we have hopefully helped The Cyrenians take a step in the direction they want to travel. We hoped to address important issues the charity was interested in tackling but didn’t have the resource to do so. What will come from the weekend’s impact in the future we can’t tell but what we can know now is that we managed to bring a variety of ideas and skill together and set the ball rolling for these projects to grow and develop in the way The Cyrenians want them to. In the 48 hours we had to work with The Cyrenians, they managed give back to the team more than they probably realise. They inspired us with their hope and compassion. The Impact48 weekend was our way of contributing, however small, to the kindness and goodness that Cyrenians spread. We hope you keep on inspiring.

We just want to say a huge thank you to all the amazing people involved and to all who made The Cyrenians Impact48 weekend possible.

Until next time!

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org and sign up to our newsletter.

Meet Our Volunteers: Kara Brown, Human Rights and Communications Enthusiast

As the Impact48 Weekend draws to a close, it’s time to say hello to our final volunteer – Impact48 blogger Kara Brown. A law graduate and writer with a passion for all things humanitarian and creative, Kara has spent the past few years working with NGOs and charities in India, Africa and at home here in bonnie Scotland. Here’s her take on Impact48.

karabrownKara Brown, Social Media & Blogger for Impact48
@karahartley

How did you hear about the weekend?

A colleague recommended I get involved, after hearing about it from her friend – Impact48 blogger Lara.

What attracted you to Impact48?

I had a look at the Impact48 website and blog and instantly knew it was something I had to be part of. I’m always on the look out for new ideas and initiatives within the third sector, I enjoy experimenting with digital and social media and am inspired by the work of Edinburgh Cyrenians.

Describe yourself in three words.

Passionate. Happy. Thinker. 

Aside from Impact48, describe your work in a nutshell.

I research, I write, I blog, I run events and I help organisations develop and implement social media strategies. Right now I’m gearing up for a Masters and looking for a new opportunity to work with a charity or NGO in Edinburgh. 

What have you been working on this weekend?

Aside from blogging, tweeting, eating Karen’s delicious homemade bread and taking photographs, I’ve been helping Edinburgh Cyrenians improve their email marketing and social media activity.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

I’ve met some lovely, talented people. I’ve also discovered just how much a group of enthusiastic, dynamic volunteers can achieve in a short space of time. The 48 hour deadline helped me to focus on the tasks at hand and I think this is the most productive weekend I’ve had in a long time.

Lastly and most importantly – What is your favourite home baked treat?

Ooh, my Mum’s malteser cake. It’s addictive.

With only minutes to go and the judging panel arriving a little later this evening, we can’t wait to see the final result of the Cyrenians Weekend. Stay tuned throughout the homestretch by following us on Twitter @RealImpact48 (use the Twitter hashtag #impact48) or liking our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org and sign up to our newsletter.

Meet Our Volunteers: Jeff Chang, Radiologist & AI Student

With 3 hours to go until judging and our 48 hour deadline, we pried Jeff Chang away from his mac to find out a little more about him and how things were progressing on the development side.

Jeff Chang. Radiologist and Student in AI

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How did you hear about the weekend?

Online, at rookie.oven.com.

What attracted you to Impact48?

Wanted to get involved in non-profit projects, I’d been planning to work on building non-profit projects this coming year, and figure out the greatest gaps in information transfer and intelligent data analysis, as it applies to NGOs.  In the medium and long-term, I’d really like to make a stronger impact in helping the impoverished to stand up on their own, in doing whatever I can to help address poverty and issues of inequality – these issues will only worsen as our globe’s technological gap widens and the Gini coefficient increases.  It’s a chance to gain a good deal of experience over a single weekend, to build up long-term relationships with a great group of people, and to build a strong project that a non-profit would actually find useful.

Describe yourself in three words.

Sleepiness. Curiosity. Drive.

What else makes you tick?

The chance to learn, to explore new things, to meet new people and to travel.

What are you working on today and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

Building out the GIK social enterprise – the backend and try to tie all the functionality together, it has a lot of moving parts.  This wasn’t really a project anyone could finish in a weekend, but we’ve gotten remarkably far for the past 40 hours of work. Lucky to have worked on multiple projects over the summer that share similar components, so have been able to borrow extensively to build out the code in the timeline required.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

 More experience in rapidly building prototype projects, having the chance to help build this project if we can get it off the ground, keep helping out with the project if the Cyrenians decide to continue and expand Give in Kind over the year to come.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

People have been really laid back and relaxed, probably from being a small, relatively tightly knight group, and also from being in Edinburgh.  It’s been great to work with a variety of interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds, with a very wide range of skills and talents.

What is your favourite home baked treat?

Any kind of pie.

Do you think there will be a lasting impact from the weekend’s efforts?

Yes I think there will be, it may or not take the form we thought it might, but it’s a first step in the right direction.  Thinking on the multi-pronged approach where we’re addressing four issues the non-profit is interested in, at least we can bring a variety of ideas to help the Cyrenians out, so they can figure out in which direction(s) they’d like to take each of these projects.

Only 3 hours to go until our 48 hours are up! We’ll keep you posted on the team’s final achievements! You can follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48. You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org.

Meet Our Volunteers: Lara Fraser, Online Marketing Executive & Blogger

Lara Fraser, Online Marketing Executive, Social Media & Blogger for Impact48

How did you hear about the weekend?

The first time I heard about Impact48 was when a colleague of mine, Chelsey Fenn, sent an email about the upcoming Impact48 weekend around our office asking if anyone fancied getting involved.

Why do you want to be involved in Impact48?

As soon as I read that Impact48 was looking for someone to volunteer to write articles for their blog I saw it as a great opportunity to do something good. When I did a little more research on Impact48 and Cyrenians I knew it would be a really amazing thing to be a part of. I feel really strongly about the work the Cyrenians do. I read the stories about the people they help, often feeling so alone and in desperation. Knowing that Cyrenians is there for them and on their side fills me with compassion and hope. To be involved with Impact48 is my way of contributing, however small, to the kindness and goodness that Cyrenians spread. 

Describe your company in a nutshell.

A small, entrepreneurial Edinburgh based Online Marketing company with a uniquely fun company culture.

What has your role been over the weekend and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

I’ve be blogging, filming and tweeting over the weekend to keep everyone up-to-date with our trials, tribulations and progress. I’ve also been involved in the other projects, contributing ideas and my skills where I can. The weekend is being held in the Attacat office so I’ve also made it my job to make sure the volunteers have been fed, watered and looked after.

What were you expecting?

To meet lots of skilled and generous people with all sorts of expertise and ideas. I anticipated some late nights and determination and look forward to a warm and fuzzy feeling when we look back on what we have achieved.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

I hope to gain a sense of achievement within our team but what we really care about is what Cyrenians will gain from the weekend.

What is your favourite home baked treat?

It really depends what phase I am in. This week could be a apple pie phase next week could be a banana loaf phase, who knows! – But with Sarah’s delightful lemon drizzle cake and Karen’s homemade olive bread over the weekend, I’m definitely in a lemon olive drizzle bread phase and I hope it never ends.

With only one hour to go and the judging panel arriving a little later this evening, we can’t wait to see the final result of the Cyrenians Weekend. Stay tuned throughout the homestretch by following us on Twitter @RealImpact48 (use the Twitter hashtag #impact48) or liking our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org and sign up to our newsletter.

The Edinburgh Cyrenians Weekend: Saturday’s Progress

On the Saturday morning the volunteers arrived refreshed and ready to get down to some hard work and with no time to waste – except for a necessary coffee and a bite or two of croissant. A quick brief of the challenges at hand was enough to relight Friday evening’s enthusiasm and determination. We got the feeling from the volunteers themselves that they were ready to push themselves to achieve something really amazing for Cyrenians and that anything less than amazing just wouldn’t do.

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A little pastry incentive to get the volunteers out of bed.

With the team, and the table, split equally into two halves the work began. One team focused on the Online Financial Reporting project while the other on the “Give in Kind” social enterprise. It didn’t take long for the ideas and suggestion to begin to fly and at this point it seemed like both teams were in competition to be the loudest. Once the teams had got this burst of thought sharing and creativity out of their system, good ideas were agreed upon and a plan for each project was beginning to take shape.

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Kathryn, Justin, Jeff, Scott, Jennifer focus on the “Give in Kind” social enterprise development

Then around lunchtime things got quiet. Really quiet, uncomfortably quiet even. This was the sound of complete concentration and great things, tangible things, starting to appear. A great example of this is this sneak peak of Scott Burns’ amazing (and super speedy) work for the “Give in Kind” social enterprise project below.

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So here’s what was achieved by the time we shut up shop and laptops late into the night on Saturday:

The online finance reporting project

A basic micro site has been created to host the new, more flexible and engaging reporting formats. An infographic had been created for the homepage, this summarises the varied services that Edinburgh Cyrenians offer. The idea is to provide a clearer picture of all that the charity does. The team also made good headway into taking the lifeless financial data and presenting it in a more colourful and accessible format.

The “Give in Kind” social enterprise development

Saturday morning the volunteers were looking at the logistics behind a new ‘Give in Kind’ project and bouncing ideas around about web design, marketing and the scope of online transactions. By 4.30 pm the basic digital structure had fallen into place and our sneaky glances at the progress for far got us pretty excited for the final revealing on Sunday. By 10 pm a working prototype of the “Give in Kind” site was in place for which 1 logo, 16 icons, 7 web pages and 1 rather large infographic had been designed. Wow. 

Tweaks to the current website

A few quick but important tweaks were made to the current website. This included embedding Cyrenians’ social feeds onto their homepage as well as improving some of the other visual elements. The aim was to increase visitor engagement as well as improve the overall user experience on the website.

With six hours to go and a lots developing to do until the final presentations this evening we can’t wait to see the final results achieved for Cyrenians! We’ll keep you posted! You can follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48. You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org.

Meet Our Volunteers: Computer Scientist Ricardo Honorato

We’re over 40 hours into the Impact48 Weekend in the Attacat office and it’s time to say hello to another hard working volunteer. Ricardo Honorato is a biochemist-come-computer scientist currently studying at the University of Edinburgh. Originally from Chile, he can’t resist raving about Edinburgh as he sits down for a chat. Here’s what he has to say about the Impact48 weekend so far:

Ricardo Honorato, PhD student, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics

Ricardo Honarato

How did you hear about the weekend?

 A tech Meet Up mailing list – for people in the tech industry. I added my name to the list at a previous hackathon.

What attracted you to Impact48?

 I was attracted by the idea of helping a charity. I looked at the Edinburgh Cyrenians’ website and felt the whole idea of the charity was in line with my views and the things I care about.

Describe yourself in three words.

Can I list the three things I care about? Freedom, equity and autonomy.

Describe your PhD in a nutshell.

There is a language for biochemistry that we have – it helps express what happens when things interact in a cell. I’m working to extend this language; to respect thermodynamics (e.g. when you burn something, the reaction releases a lot of energy.)

What else makes you tick?

I like politics. I’m part of the democratic revolution in Chile.

What are you working on today and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

We’re working on the Give in Kind website. I have been developing part of this over the past 24 hours. I’m bringing my knowledge of creating programmes to the table.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

 A free lunch (!)

What have you enjoyed most so far?

Talking to new people. Everything has been very interesting so far.

Lastly and most importantly – What is your favourite home baked treat?

Pastel de choclo (corn pie for all you non-Spanish speakers.) It’s my favourite dish in the whole world. Cooked in a clay pot, you first add mince, onions, gravy, black olives and raisins. A thick layer of mashed corned is then added on top. You can try the dish in Edinburgh – like my friends’ Facebook page for more info.

It’s great to have you here Ricardo! That free lunch is well and truly deserved. We’re itching to see what you guys have done with the Give in Kind website later on.

Keen to get involved in Impact48?

We look for all sorts of volunteers with all sorts of skill sets, so if you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org.

We are also looking for other kinds of assistance. The amazing people at Innis & Gunn have again donated some delicious beers for our hard working volunteers over this Impact48 weekend. Could you or your business help? Find out more about sponsoring or get in touch with us at admin@impact48.org.

You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48.