Young & Extraordinary Series – Nicola St John – Co-Founder of ModPod Creative

Nicola St John - founder of Mod Pod Creative

Today is the first of a series of interviews we are doing with this years participants in Young and Extraordinary –  a joint initiative of the Foundation for Young Australians and Australian Youth Affairs Coalition celebrating young and extraordinary changemakers aged between 16-25 years. A huge shout out goes to Alissa Phillips for being the lead organiser of the inaugural event in Melbourne this year, and for putting these incredible young Australians in touch with Ideas Hoist.

Nicola St John co-founded ModPod Creative in 2009 – a creative consultancy focused on social change and producing ideas with impact. Over this time Nicola has applied her design and communication skills to facilitate social and cultural change. Nicola is dedicated to developing nations as well as socially responsible companies and has worked on projects in Laos, South East Asia and Peru, South America. Nicola continues to apply her abilities for social change and is immersed in an assortment of projects from mental health to domestic violence.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on an interactive site to gauge twitter traffic on social issues in Australia. The idea is to ‘track’ twitter talk or general internet activity in Australia. The site is targeted towards Australians with a social conscience or interested in the social sector and wanting to know more.

How do you make ideas happen?

Making them ‘happen’ takes lots of brainstorming, time and often patience.”

Ideas often come to you at odd moments – on the tram, in the shower, right before sleep etc. It’s actually doing something with these ideas that is often the hard part. Making them ‘happen’ takes lots of brainstorming, time and often patience. If you’ve got the drive to put these into practice, you’re doing a lot better than most!

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day includes my job working as a graphic designer, then a few hours of freelance work for ModPod, the odd skype chat with my business partner Ben to discuss new ideas or to brainstorm for a new campaign we want to work on. Then usually in the wee hours of the morning, it’s off to bed to do it all again the next day.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

One of my greatest challenges is finding the time to do all these projects and start putting all these ideas to good use. I’ve found, it’s beneficial sometimes, to stop and take a breath – to see the big picture and reassess where you’re at and what is important.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Always check your spelling. Nothing more of putting than a few bad typos, especially in front of a potencial client.

Ed – don’t no how that slipped passed me ;).

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

The Social Studio – great fashion based organisation doing incredible work. YGap – for making great ideas happen.

What about Internationally? 

Stefan Sagmeister, Jonathan Barnbrook, Ashley Gilbertson – all great creatives with a social conscience

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

In terms of business, being able to talk the talk is so important, especially when seeking funding, partnerships or investments.”

Business pays an integral part of social change. You need to know how to do business, manage budget, write invoices etc. before embarking on any social project. In terms of business, being able to talk the talk is so important, especially when seeking funding, partnerships or investments. It pays to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to Idea’s Hoist readers?

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter? 

  • @Aust_Project – Great creative initiative doing some amazing visual/political/social work
  • @wedontcareinc – New for me, these guys seem like they’re up to some good work. Keen to know more on them.
  • @ModPodCreative – Our new twitter handle Doing the creative thing to make change happen

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

We’re always on the lookout for new or up-and-coming social ventures who need some guidance with branding, marketing or creative campaigns.

With our own personal campaigns, we love to get involved in the social sector and work together on creating great messages or apply for funding to take our creative ideas from concepts to reality.

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

Name one issue in Australia you wish there was more public awareness around.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Currently have been on a mission to find the best breakfast in Melbourne. So far Monsieur Truffe in Brunswick East is winning. Luckily it’s only around the corner from my house!

Coming in at top bar is Grub Food in Fitzroy. Have you seen the ping pong table?

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?

Sure, will have to work out what we can offer! Perhaps a free creative consultation to help with branding and social awareness.

Make sure you sign-up to join our amazing community for Australians making ideas happen.

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