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news / journal 30.01.2017 Words:Camilo Potocnjak-Oxman

Story of Stir, p.3

Welcome to chapter three in the Story of Stir. When we left off, 23 young creatives had come together to express their hopes for the future of Canberra, the opportunities they needed for their creative careers, and the kinds of networks that could help them make it all happen. Read p.2 here. This week we’ll look at how they took the information gathered, processed it, and collectively gave birth to the concept of Stir. We’ll also cover how the SHIFT ONE community continued to take part in developing the concept, leading to the first version of the Stir platform.

The workshop was a blast. With coffee from the amazing Sly Fox and burgers by Brod Industries, the discussion went at least an hour over the expected time. However, one event would not be enough to express, explain, discover and decide how to best engage creative youth with entrepreneurship and innovation. To overcome this, a secret Facebook group was set up to continue the conversation.

People were encouraged to nominate new members. If a person’s nomination received 5 or more likes from the community, that person would be invited to join the group. The initial 23 became 30, and eventually, 40.

The team that had run the workshop transcribed hundreds of post-it notes, organising and categorising the data so that it could be useful for the discussion, and uploaded the resulting images to the group (You can see these images in p.2).

The conversation began slowly, with people discussing specific things they thought would be interesting or appealing. All ideas proposed were put up for a vote by members of the SHIFT ONE, and little by little an idea started to form. Eventually, a member of the group said “What if people could upload an idea, and if it got a number of votes, then they get some money to make it happen?” This resonated with the team guiding development. It reminded them of something that they had seen while doing other research.

Based on the ongoing conversation, an interesting series of questions arose: “What does an incubator for young creatives look like? Does it have to look like every other incubator? Can it be something completely different? Could it be completely online?”

These questions led to the formation of the original concept:

“An online incubator that could guide the young and creative through stages of learning, developing an entrepreneurial mindset and helping them to structure and present a business concept. Projects submitted would be evaluated and voted upon by the public, incentivising a positive attitude towards sales and encouraging the project creator to obtain feedback from their target audience. At the end of a season, projects with the strongest crowd response would receive a microgrant to help with their execution. After the season, grant recipients could share their stories and motivate the next generation of project creators.”

This concept was presented to The Mother of Stir, and with her approval, the crew was invited to the SHIFT ONE Reunion. The Reunion took place on the 14th of January, 2015. There, the guiding team presented the concept to the people that had been so important in forming it. Although Stir and the whole concept has changed quite a bit since then, you can view the original presentation here.

At the end of the Reunion, attendants were invited to help get the platform and the message right. This would be the beginning of a collaborative design process that involved over 20 people, organised into 3 teams, through a hectic 7 weeks of developing the platform.

Next week, in the fourth part of the Story of Stir, we’ll talk about the collaborative design process, and how the Education, User Experience and Branding teams developed the content, structured the site and eventually, decided on the name.

The Stir Crew would once again like to give a shout out to Monica Glasgow for her help with this article. Thank you!

Stir is a platform born from collaboration. If you would like to take part in developing and growing the platform, please contact us at

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