yMedia Challenge

yMedia Challenge

New Zealand
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

yMedia is a social enterprise that works to connect students, industry and not-for-profit organisations to develop and implement new media initiatives for collective growth. We have established an 8 week challenge, which connects these three groups to impliment live new media projects. A series of informative workshops led by industry professionals is also run throughout the challenge.

About You
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name




Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


Organization Name


Organization Phone

+6421 80 50 75

Organization Address

16a Fickling Avenue, Hillsborough, Auckland

Organization Country


How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on


What makes your innovation unique?

There are two aspects to this: the holistic educational aspect, and the way in which community groups are brought further into the digital world.

Firstly, we believe that the current tertiary educational system is improved when students are mentored by 'real-world' organisations, alongside study. Our emphasis is on preparing our students for success beyond university, while simultaneously giving them the chance to give back to their local communities, using their inherent digital knowledge. We believe that media does not have to be a selfish career choice - that regardless of their age, students can give back to their local communities in a tangible way that simultaneously develops their skills before graduation.

Secondly, we bring community organizations further into the digital media world by introducing them to tools in both a theoretical and practical way. In the past, we have worked with global corporations like Microsoft and Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as with local web companies like Silverstripe and Terabyte. Industry sponsors are encouraged to come in and give workshops to our students and community groups. The community groups learn in theory from the workshops, but learn in a practical way when students implement the digital project.

We are entirely youth-driven. Our volunteers are from the creative industries and strive to bridge their professional lives with the community work they do through yMedia. This means that yMedia is consistently aligned with the latest industry trends. The core to our innovation comes from being in constant 'connector' mode - we bridge the corporate, not-for-profit, and youth sector through the competition, in a win-win way that allows each to derive maximum benefits. We also have a number of systems and processes that ensure the highest calibre of student work.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) was an organization located out in the middle of nowhere. All of the organization's files were stored in boxes in a garage. Through the yMedia Challenge, Anthea and Hayden, two students, went in and built the organization a beautiful website. The organization's leader cried when she saw it. Suddenly, this information was readily accessible through Google to any victims of SIDS. Anthea and Hayden both found full-time employment through the Challenge; and Anthea is currently one of the leaders of yMedia, 3 years later, helping to mentor other students who come through the Challenge.
By the end of this year, we would have helped over 150 students, and 50 community groups.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Students need work experience when they leave university. During a recession, they graduate with student debt, as well as a tough job market. Community groups need to know about the power of the web but often do not have the resource to implement such solutions. We teach students how to develop their skills and how to give back to their community in a tangible way, while being mentored by local agencies that otherwise might have offered them a less rewarding internship. We also help to bridge the digital divide at the same time, by bringing community groups further into the digital space of Web 2.0 tools through experience (not just lecturing them).

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

To make our innovation our success, we are:
- Introducing a new revenue stream, asking our community groups to pay a participation fee
- Actively seeking advice on a regular basis from our stakeholders, in a structured manner
- Consistently collecting feedback from stakeholders throughout the competition and recording it digitally
- Partnering with tutors to ensure that the competition can fit into existing curriculum needs where possible
- Partnering each student team with an industry mentor, so that the ratio of industry mentor to student is on average 1:3
- Putting together a judging panel of industry leaders to ensure that student projects are of the highest caliber and are judged independently of the yMedia management team
- Running an annual awards dinner to showcase students' work
- Meeting with national Ministers to build political goodwill and support

Our business model is currently a corporate sponsorship and grant-funded model.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

Essentially ymedia is about providing community groups with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and use of information communication technology,
tertiary students the opportunity to implement live new media projects and gain tangible experience, and support from a dedicated industry professional to mentor each team.

Collective growth and shared learning is core to yMedia, therefore a series of workshops led by industry professionals is also run throughout the challenge. The workshops show how to develop solid brand messaging and make genuine connections with target audiences, and introduce online communication tools to build brands, grow audiences, and simplify operations. Over the next three years we expect the results to be:
- A stronger graduate talent pool
- A heightened awareness among young people in NZ that the community sector can provide them with valuable knowledge and opportunities
- A stronger, more informed community sector, on the potential of the web
- A broader web presence from the community sector in NZ
- A stronger alignment between the private and community sectors, in the marketing and advertising industries

2010: 18 teams participate in the yMedia Challenge, giving 18 community groups high-caliber web projects and increased digital knowledge, and over 70 students short-term, high-value community internships

2011: 20 teams participate in the yMedia Challenge, giving 20 community groups high-caliber web projects and increased digital knowledge, and over 80 students short-term, high-value community internships

2012: 25 teams participate in the yMedia Challenge, giving 25 community groups high-caliber web projects and increased digital knowledge, and over 100 students short-term, high-value community internships

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?


If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

We are investigating the intentions of government to increase digital literacy in the community sector, and how we can fit into this or provide material to be used in such workshops. If possible, we would prefer funding that goes towards increasing digital literacy, to be measured in terms of tangible projects produced through initiatives like yMedia.

What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

These partnerships with NGOs, businesses, and government are crucial to yMedia's success. We have built these partnerships in order to walk our talk of collective growth. By partnering with each, we gain a broader knowledge of where the needs in the community are, and which private or public sector partners can help us to fill them.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

There is a fee of $500 for a community organisation to be involved in the yMedia workshop series. This fee includes:

- Up to four community representatives from each organisation can attend ALL workshops run prior to and during the yMedia Challenge 2010 (there will be a total of eight workshops - four before the challenge and four during the challenge itself)
- A comprehensive Online Toolkit, with a full overview of some of the best tools you can utilise on the web will be delivered for you to take away, at the end of the fourth workshop
- Each not-for-profit organisation also gets the opportunity (where appropriate) to participate in the yMedia Challenge 2010

For the first three years, yMedia was supported by a Tindall Foundation grant, however in 2010 yMedia is moving towards a more self-sustainable, value based model. Hence, the small fee paid by community groups helps to fund the facilitation of the workshops themselves, along with the development of the yMedia Challenge (including the prize packages offered to the student groups who participate).

This year, yMedia is also being provided monetary assistance from the Digital Strategy Community Fund to develop a web portal to assist with communicating opportunities and connecting students with NPOs and industry mentors.

As yMedia endeavour to be a self sustainable venture, and not reliant on grants and funding, yMedia see value in working to build close relationships with key sponsors (such as primary sponsor nzherald.co.nz), and look to provide mutual benefit by integrating sponsors into the yMedia offering in return for contra or monetary support.

While funding is required to facilitate the yMedia Workshop Series and the yMedia Challenge, the real value comes from the people involved. yMedia could not be run without the generosity, time and energy of the volunteers in the yMedia Crew.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

In March 2007, Adele was taking a break from her studies at Melbourne University and Pamela was working as a web developer.

Over a coffee in Ponsonby, after having not seen each other for about 5 years, they met up and got onto the topic of the web.

They started yakking away at a hundred miles an hour (as they often did) about how the web opened up new opportunities for community groups. Adele was working with community groups at the time, and vented about how Web 2.0 tools could be used much more than they currently were. Pamela had just graduated from Media Design School, and shared her frustration of seeing her talented fellow graduates struggle to find their first jobs in the industry.

There seemed to be two key complementary needs. The community sector needed knowledge about free and low cost digital tools. Students needed portfolio experience prior to graduation.

Soon the concept of the yMedia Challenge emerged. Digital media, marketing, design and communication students could complete short-term internships with community groups – increasing their community group’s digital literacy in the process. Digital media industry leaders would judge the final projects and the funding provided by the Tindall Foundation would provide students’ prize money.

The first competition in 2007 was in Auckland with six community groups and six teams of students. Pamela and Adele later went on to present at the Digital Future Summit alongside former Minister of Communications David Cunliffe, presenting to New Zealand’s top 500 business and government leaders. In 2008 the yMedia Challenge won a Computerworld Award for Excellence, and in 2009 the yMedia management team grew to eight.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Pamela is now taking a well-deserved sabbatical from yMedia while she pursues study opportunities in Vancouver, Canada. Previously, she worked as a Digital Communications Manager at Telecom, a web developer at Touchpoint, and was top of her graduating class at Media Design School in Auckland.

While Adele is focusing on developing her research and business skills in London, she still consults to the yMedia team and is actively planning growth opportunities for the organization. Adele studied a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Hons) at Melbourne University, and has consulted in communication and management roles with the NZ Computer Society, Pembridge Partners, Xero, X Media Lab, the Centre for Social Innovation, and Capability NZ.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another source, please provide the information