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I’ve been involved from the start of Q Exchange in my role as Programme Officer. It has been really exciting overseeing the process; interacting with Q members as the projects began to come together, right through to ensuring that everyone’s projects were live before the first stage deadline.

For those who may have missed it, Q Exchange is a £450,000 pilot funding programme that launched on 9 April 2018. We’re offering Q members the chance to develop project ideas and submit bids for up to £30,000 of support funding.

The story so far …

As a pilot no one was sure what to expect. Not knowing how many online ideas would be posted and if members would comment and offer their advice on the projects was (I have to admit) more than a little nerve-wracking!

On the second day we started with 1 live idea; by the end of the first week this rose to 3. Then the floodgates opened with an additional 147 published in the last week (and 70 of those were in the final 24 hours!) You can imagine how great it has been to see the take up of Q Exchange by the community.

As the ideas flooded in, it was wonderful to watch other members getting to grips with them, offering helpful pointers and these being used to refine the original projects. The community has really taken on the Q Exchange ethos, including collaborating on ideas with other Q members, championing them and sharing experience with other teams to help them develop.

With 316 Q members involved, over 800 comments and 299 supporters at the time of writing (with numbers continuing to grow daily!) the numbers beautifully show the collaboration and connections being made across the community.

We’ve now completed the first phase of Q Exchange and whilst no new ideas can be posted online, bidders still have the opportunity to refine and develop their ideas with your help up to Wednesday 20 June 2018.

How to harness the Q Exchange ethos

I’ve been delighted to see that the activity on the project ideas so far really encapsulates the Q Exchange ethos of collaboration and community. To inspire you here are some of the ways that you can take on this ethos to elevate your idea:

·         Using the contributor roles guidance document to frame the support from the community

·         Using short films to illustrate ideas

·         Using learning from the Q Labs Essays to inform peer support projects

What’s next for Q Exchange?

Live projects can continue to be commented on, supported, edited and refined up to the Wednesday 20 June.*

After 20 June, up to 25 projects will be shortlisted to go through to the live voting at the UK-wide Q community event in September. Teams will present projects and Q members will vote on which should receive funding. Up to 15 projects will be funded following the live vote. Successful teams will continue to keep the Q community updated on their progress during the delivery of the project.

For all Q members

We would encourage you to offer your help, advice and expertise to the projects so they can strengthen and refine their idea.

The contributor roles guidance is a good place to start if you are looking to get involved but are not sure where to start. The guidance talks through the different ways to get involved and has some personas that could use to frame comments.

You can filter ideas on the website to help identify projects that may be of most interest to you or do a random search to see what’s new in other areas.

Attend the UK-wide Q community event in September to hear more about the shortlisted teams. You will have the opportunity to continue to get involved by supporting projects or sharing ideas and your expertise with shortlisted teams. Q members at the UK-wide Q community event will be able to participate in the live vote to select which of the projects receive the funding.

For bidding teams

To accompany the online pages, bidders will need to complete a short supplementary application form by the 20 June which signifies the formal stage of the application. Each Q member can submit 1 x idea to the formal application stage. The aim is to encourage the strongest ideas to be put forward and to enable members to focus on delivering those ideas.

The whole Q team is looking forward to seeing all the conversations and watching how the ideas continue to develop; we can’t wait to see what happens next. Good luck to all!

*The interactive function will be frozen during shortlisting 20 June – 16 July and will open and for further comments and refinement following this

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