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Brigid Canny and Nishan David The Adappt Big Idea Competition Interview

Brigid Canny and Nishan David The Adappt Big Idea Competition Interview

If you have a passion for social and environmental change or like to think BIG about social issues, then Adappt needs you!

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) in partnership with Samsung have created Adappt, a social-purpose app development program – made just for young Australians.

Adappt encourages young Aussies, aged between 12 and 25 years old, to discover how creative thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurship and technology can come together to create social change.

Adappt might just unearth Australia's next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and social do-gooders, with its seven step Adappt Academy app-design tutorials and Big Idea competition. Interested? Read on…

What is Adappt?

Adappt is a movement of young Australians designing apps for social change and the best part is – there's no need to be a tech wiz to get involved. In a nutshell:
Adappt seeks to empower young digital natives with the belief that they can use design and everyday technology to turn their world upside-down
It aims to equip young Australians with the problem-solving frameworks, enterprise mindset, tech skills, confidence and resourcefulness they'll need to tackle whatever issues they care about
Finally, Adappt hopes to spark a culture of young people exploring tech-focused social entrepreneurship and connecting with other like-minded individuals

Help! Not sure how to design an app?

Learn how to design an app with Adappt Academy. FYA and Samsung have created a seven-part video tutorial series, available online, to help educate participants on the app development process – from ideation, human-centered design, through to pitching their idea.

Login to Adappt Academy to learn all about the app design process:
Episode 1: App Design 101
Episode 2: The Modern Telephone
Episode 3: Idea Factory
Episode 4: Think Big, Start Small
Episode 5: Map Your App
Episode 6: How to Talk To Humans
Episode 7: The Pitch

Big Idea Competition

Adappt wants to find the next Big Idea, so if you are aged between 12 and 25 (inclusive), we want you to tell us your Big Idea for an app with social purpose.*

Adappt is looking for five Big Ideas for an app to change the world, which responds to a local, national or global social or environmental issue. Young Australians can submit their Big Idea from September 15 – October 31 2014 by completing the online entry form*.

The creators of the winning five Big Ideas will have the opportunity to attend a two-day Melbourne bootcamp on app development and social change and receive Samsung products and expert mentoring from tech gurus and rockstar coaches!

Sign up at and get started. The exciting world of app design awaits you!

* Terms and conditions apply. The Promotion commences at 9:00am (AEST) on 15 September 2014 and closes at 11:59pm (AEDT) on 31 October 2014. See for details.

Interview with Brigid Canny and Nishan David

Question: What inspired you to co-found Adappt?

Nishan David: Adappt was sparked out of a partnership between Samsung Electronics and the Foundation for Young Australians that began in 2013. We came together to discuss how young Australians could start using the amazing technological power in their hands to start creating social change in their communities. After all, there's more computing power in the average smartphone than the Apollo 11 rocket which sent man to the moon! So we're convinced that apps can be about more than sharing selfies or stalking crushes or ordering takeout. You know, making human life comfier. We believe that apps can make human life better.

Brigid Canny: From the outset, we wanted to equip young people with the tools to design and realise apps for social change. There's a massive need for opportunities like this, especially for high schoolers. But, more importantly, we wanted to create opportunities for young women (who don't consider themselves as technical wizards) to enter the world of tech. Right now, it's pretty alarming that only 13% of ICT graduates and 18% of ICT professionals in Australia are women. This means that women are underrepresented in these workforces, their input in these industries is limited and (unless something changes) young women will miss out on some of the most interesting work in the coming decade. It's difficult when the main role models for young tech entrepreneurs are American men – you know, the -Mark Zuckerburg' mold. So we want to inspire a generation of trailblazers, young Australians who use technology to make a difference. And we're especially excited to see a bunch of that disruption coming from young women.

Question: What do you hope to achieve from the 2014 Adappt Big Idea Competition?

Brigid Canny: There are 4.3 million young people in this country, and one of the biggest obstacles they face to get involved in app design is overcoming beliefs like -I'm not a tech kind of kid' or -I'm not creative' or -I could never go do something like that'. But those are the exact kinds of young people who we want in our community.

Nishan David: So we designed Adappt Academy, it's like Art Attack for App Making and it walks you through these seven episodes that help you think like an app maker. Academy students are able to enrol with a problem that they are passionate about solving, watch a crash course on app design and graduate with an app blueprint to solve that problem. Next, they can submit their -Big Idea' for the whole e-community to see (with a chance to see that idea become reality). Through 'Adappt Academy', we are hoping to transform a generation of young Australians with the idea that technology is a means to an end – and the end is people. You can check it all out on

Question: How does this competition motivate social change?

Nishan David: Adappt is a social-purpose app development program, so the whole program has been designed to empower people to think about positive social change and to use technology as a tool to create this.

Brigid Canny: Technology has done so much to make our lives more convenient and I guess we want to emphasise the power of technology to actually solve some big problems.

Question: What are you looking for from the 2014 Adappt Big Idea Competition entrants?

Brigid Canny: Adappt is for all types of people, we're not just looking for coders

Nishan David: Though we do love coders!

Brigid Canny: We totally do. But ultimately we're looking for the dreamers and designers and innovators. Anyone hungry for change or who thinks that tech can be about more than shiny screens and faster internet.

Nishan David: In Adappt Academy we talk about the importance of talking to your app user at the beginning, middle and end of the app design process. It's based on a process called Human Cantered Design. Basically, it involves actually finding out your users' problem and solving it. You design based on real problems and design useful solutions, you don't just base your ideas on assumptions. We'd love to see entries that solve real problems.

Brigid Canny: Once we have found our amazing top five finalists, they will be flown to Melbourne where they can attend a Melbourne Bootcamp that will see the winners receive expert mentoring from a range of coaches, app prototyping support from digital agencies and Samsung products to help them continue their app journey. So if you have a Big Idea that could change your community, get entering!

Question: Can you please provide your top 5 tips and tricks on how your readers can design a great app for social good?

Brigid Canny: We love Hot Tips! Okay first one, it's not about apps, it's about humans. Basically, great design isn't all about code and colours, it's about solving real human problems. Get chatting to your user at the beginning, middle and end of the process.

Nishan David: Tip two. You are more powerful than you realise and you make a difference. If you connect to the -why' you will find the -how' and the -what' much easier to answer. Think about a cause or an issue you are passionate about, it doesn't have to be massive it can just be something you see happening in your school or suburb.

Brigid Canny: Three. Brainstorm, encourage crazy ideas and say yes! It is really easy to get too realistic too quickly when it comes to brainstorming. Get wild with your ideas, you can always bring the ideas back down to earth later on.

Nishan David: Four. When you're getting in to design mode remember that prototypes aren't supposed to be precious, perfect or pretty. Just get started with drawing things out or writing things down. Try not to judge your own ideas too much just get started.

Brigid Canny: Finally, when you're talking to people about your idea seek learning not validation. Think like a scientist not a salesperson. Your job is to learn as much as you can not to prove your idea is perfect. This change in mindset can mean you get awesome feedback and you can keep iterating on your idea.

Interview by Brooke Hunter


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