Tom Allen is a regular contributor to Design Online and won a 2016 Good Design Award in the Service Design, Education Services category.

Have you ever stepped back and thought about the real impact your work is having on the world?

As designers, entrepreneurs, makers and doers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating ‘stuff’ for people who don’t want it, who buy it to impress people they don’t like. Some would argue that in creating this ‘stuff’, we’ll provide a boost to the economy, create more jobs and improve society.

At the recent TEDxBrisbane event, Richard Denniss, Chief Economist of The Australia Institute cleverly unravelled why this is simply not true – check out his talk once it becomes available. And while consumers may get a buzz from shopping, the linear ‘buy-use-throw-buy’ model is anything but sustainable.

It is, however, exciting to see a huge shift in mindsets, with an army of purpose-driven people and our next generations using their skills, talents and passion to tackle some of society’s most pressing issues.

Design has entered a new era. Rowan Lamont, of Designworks, recently told me that design is “now about understanding the problems and tension points; the bottle necks that people have in their lives and coming up with innovative solutions to those.”

With great reason, social enterprise, or ‘business which operates for good’, has begun to attract considerable interest, with many designers deciding to use their skills for greater good. “There’s a real energy about the sector – social enterprise is definitely on the rise,” explained Anne Lennon when we spoke earlier in the year for Impact Boom’s podcast.

Outgoing CEO of the Akina Foundation, Alex Hannant said in a recent episode that people used to look confused when he used the term ‘social enterprise’. “Now I don’t tend to get that anymore. There’s almost been this mainstreaming of the idea,” said Alex.

So if one were to have a great business idea with the strong intention and drive to develop it into a sustainable enterprise which creates positive impact, how might they best take their enterprise to the next level?

That’s where the Elevate+ Accelerator Program comes in. Running from February-May in 2018, Elevate+ has been designed to help early-stage startups to develop and maximise their impact.

Brisbane-based entrepreneurs, can now apply (until 24 January) for a fully funded place on the program, thanks to support from Brisbane City Council. Participants will receive personal mentoring, weekly digital modules to help them grow and industry-led workshops which will be run from The Edge at State Library of Queensland. There will be great networking opportunities and the cohort will gain exposure to help find potential customers, partners or investors. A public pitch event will be held at The Powerhouse on 31 May which will bring together Brisbane’s purpose-driven community.

A strong opportunity exists to create the change that you want to see in this world. What impact will you make? Join us on the program to help turn your ideas into reality.

Posted by