We worked on a dream project during COVID
March 30, 2021
Tori Laniakea and Adriana Prasnicki joined Accenture in May 2020 through the acquisition of Apis, Part of Accenture. Both passionate about social innovation, they were quick to throw their hats into the ring for Accenture’s Social Innovation Challenge. The pair won funding for a brilliant idea to disrupt the traditional model of food assistance and address the root cause of why Australian kids go hungry.
When the pandemic hit, Eat Up, which provides lunches to vulnerable kids in the community, suddenly found itself providing food to homes – not schools. It needed to decide on a future delivery model to best help rebuild the lives of families needing food assistance after the pandemic.
This was the issue that Adriana and Victoria stepped up to solve as part of Accenture’s ANZ Social Innovation Challenge.
As Adriana explains, the team’s solution was two-fold. “We decided we needed to:
“Food relief models often disempower recipients unintentionally. We came up with a proof of concept for Eat Up to support a subsidised grocery service for families living near or below the poverty line. Our solution drew on evidence Victoria had gathered from social research around what works when providers address the root of the problem, rather than just giving families food.”
With a start-up background, Victoria has spent more than 10 years tapping into psychological, anthropological and economic research on how mental models shape human behaviour – and applying the data to get better policy outcomes.
“We did a lot of meta-analysis of the research and came up with a set of 12 indicators for food insecurity, including financial literacy and nutritional awareness. Then we designed behavioural nudges delivered via an app.”
“Each nudge is designed to make people think, feel or act in a way that we knew from research that would empower them to better outcomes,” continues Adriana, who is responsible for service design on the project. “For example, the app prompts people to write a shopping list and gives them a template, because we know that, when people write a list, they save around $60 per shopping trip.”
“It’s rare to be given the opportunity to work on a project that is your concept and your passion,” says Victoria. “Not only was it truly empowering to be able to direct and shape real change, but we gained valuable connections across Accenture with like-minded social impact professionals that have opened up opportunities to do more amazing work like this.”
Having only joined in May 2020, it was the first time the pair had worked with the broader Accenture team. “Coming into Accenture from an acquisition, it also allowed us to join the ‘family’ really quickly. During the isolation of COVID, it gave us a place where we belonged.”
“We really got to know the business through this opportunity. I was surprised by the great talent we have in Accenture,” says Adriana. “They’re extraordinary people! Motivated, passionate, and willing to give 110% – even when they’re on a full-time project.”
Victoria agrees: “It was incredible to tap into Accenture’s talent. We just had to say ‘we need an app developer’ and there they were. In eight weeks, we delivered a fully functioning reporting tool integrated with Eat Up’s existing systems, a proof of concept for the new business model and an app prototype. The client was beside themselves. Each meeting we brought them a new team member who’d just built something amazing! It was a true reflection of the value we can deliver when we bring ‘one Accenture’ to our clients.”
Adriana is super-proud of the team’s achievements. “Usually, when we work on government projects we’re not there for implementation. It was amazing to see Eat Up take the reporting tool on board and implement it within their business practice. So fulfilling and refreshing!”
Victoria says it was the kind of project you leap out of bed in the morning for. “It lit up my day. Being able to tangibly see the impact we made in transforming ‘business as usual’ for our client has made this project a complete dream.”
What is the Social Innovation Challenge?
As part of our response to COVID-19, Accenture ANZ launched the Social Innovation Challenge, capitalising on the passion our people have for creating new technology solutions that positively impact society. In collaboration with eight of our non-profit partners the challenge looked for solutions to help with the pandemic recovery: rebuilding livelihoods for disadvantaged or vulnerable people; virtual learning; virtual program delivery; innovative employment pathways and innovative fundraising methods. Eighteen ideas were submitted during the challenge, with six finalists presenting to a Dragon’s Den for probono funding to take their projects to the next phase.