Growing great digital communities: 7 Mistakes and 7 Recommendations

Since 2008 I’ve been voluntarily created or contributed to the growth of more than a dozen “online communities”. This post, published on world in 2009, shares the insight that got me started: communities can be considered an amazing ‘technology’. What online communities create, particularly, is a a place to test thinking or incubate ideas, and enable experimentation that leads to learning that can then be… Read More

Innovation at edges: four facilitation principles

I have a refreshed sense of the relationship and importance of edges and convergence in enabling the emergence of new ideas and innovations. A fine awareness of the dynamics at edges (of disciplines, geographies, ecotones and comfort zones) seems necessary to facilitating successful convergence – whether that be at a conference or in a coworking… Read More

Sweet digital tools for a club – Geraldton Kite Crew case study

This posts documents a small digital side-project to connect kitesurfers in Geraldton. Some of the tools and approach may be relevant to you, if you run any sort of group, club or team. Enjoy! Some of our starting assumptions with Geraldton Kite Crew were that: People with hobbies enjoy it more and are safer if sharing with others, Most people want… Read More

Social change by changing socially

Does social change, require changing socially? Every thought-provoking tweet, crowdfunded project or inspiring social impact conference brings new ideas to our attention and catalyses interesting conversations. But have you ever wondered whether and how effectively sharing inspirational ideas and asking big questions really affect change in our social context? During a recent conversation with a friend, we both made a recurring distinction: the response an ‘individual doing social change’ vs the response… Read More

Eight Insights for Alliances

If you’re trying to change a system or build a new one, collaborating with like-minded people with aligned interests is a likely occurrence. Whether it’s growing the social enterprise ‘sector’, an ‘ecosystem’ of support for startups or government alliance to improve regional economic development, cooperating with others on advocacy, investment attraction and learning from each other makes sense. These new alliances are… Read More

Five things startups can learn from kitesurfing

  Do you have an idea, insight or passion you think could make a great Startup? Time spent at the beach could actually be relevant to your business success… Recently I’ve helped launch StartupWA, mentored at Startup Weekend, advised government on digital and innovation strategy and enjoyed the start of the kitesurfing season. This all got me thinking, and below I… Read More

Four reasons why Bendigo is the most surprising Bank in Australia

What would be your response if I told you that the 5th largest Australian Bank was: So innovative it’s model is being exporting its model across the world, So good it’s been awarded as the most ethical, reputable, innovative and best for business, and So committed to creating shared value towards a 100-year vision that it’s… Read More

I’ll follow you: followship and leadership co-arising

In conversations with a friend about our slightly different perspectives and approaches, I looked up definition and etymology of Leadership: “guide”, “cause to go with”. What I freshly appreciated from this was the emphasis on the relationship to the ’other’ who one is causing to go with. That is, that leadership and “followship” co-arise in… Read More

Reflections on Day 1 of FORM’s #PUBLICsymposium

Rather than tackled the impossible task to personally condense the first day’s messages and ideas from dozen civic leaders’ life’s work from Day 1 (and which the ‘crowd’ has done well through the event’s hashtag #publicsymposium ), this post is to articulate a few personal observations and ideas-in-formation. A brief disclosure, first, because I didn’t just… Read More

An updated inquiry: Learning from and with innovative cities

Thanks to feedback from some wonderful people, I’ve updated the question shared in a previous post. I expect many more iterations to occur! The summary of the final submission for a Churchill fellowship, and trajectory for my professional work is below. Thankyou to Andrea Selvey, Will Varey, Ann Larson, Scott Ludlam and the Pollinators members and community for their invaluable contributions. Without… Read More

Bendigo Bank community services ecosystem

Geraldton’s Community bank branch an amazing array of services, grants and funding opportunities for community groups. The image attached is an unofficial attempt to highlight how some of these work, centred around a member-based, NFP community organisation. As a voluntary Director, shareholder, and business and personal customer I am still working out how to make… Read More

How can innovation in local communities be of benefit, globally? The next question…

Arriving in Geraldton from years in Sweden, UK and traveling, I was holding a question about “the conditions that are enabling of sustainable human communities. My 5 year inquiry has taken the form of action-learning, contributing to projects and ventures that I (and others) assessed as high-leverage contributions to Greater Geraldton moving closer towards being a sustainable community. And, since 2011 my efforts have been… Read More

Lazy, Intelligent, Curious and quite possibly Generative

Why would I spend several sweating hot days doing an inquiry that resulted in just a three word answer? Because I’m lazy. A peer, Michael Doneman, was acting as my coach when he shared the story of what characterise the best officers in the German army. They were lazy and intelligent, meaning they were “shortcut seekers”. Lazy is… Read More

Holacracy — a magical ‘OS’ for organisations

Holacracy has been on my radar since 2008, and recently completing their become a Certified Holacracy Practitioner has turned me into an enthusiastic advocate for this new ‘operating system’ for organisations. This post is a bit of a download of my enthusiasm and early experience of having just facilitated our first ‘Governance’ meeting using Holacracy with… Read More

Pollinators gets buzzing

There is an intense buzz of ideas, enterprises and investment around the world, for social good. Governments are rethinking how they deliver services, entrepreneurs are competing to solve homelesnesss and climate change, cross-sector collaborations are being used to re-invent the global food system, and corporate intrapreneurs are recreating their companies from the inside out. This… Read More

The significance of Identity for Sustainability

Beyond being one of the Max-Neef’s Fundamental Human Needs (see footnote) I think our identity is actually central to effectively working towards sustainability. Questions of identity have come up repeatdly during my personal journey since graduation, whilst traveling overland back to Australia, and most recently during the Hallbarhet2009 event. Completing the MSLS program and having… Read More


Backcasting – first, get clear on your vision of success… Backcasting is a process of starting from a vision of success, then looking back to today to identify the most strategic steps to get achieve success. The process is described here, compared against forecasting or use of scenarios in planning processes, and examples of applications… Read More

Can social innovation competitions move beyond hype and deliver change?

Integrating the best of business (they trade, and make a profit) and charity (they have a social mission, and re-invest all profits into achieving their social mission), social businesses (also ‘social enterprise’ or ‘community enterprises’) are growing as a means for individuals and existing organisations to create positive social change. Whether these social businesses are… Read More

Leadership Development Framework

Dictionary definitions of leadership highlight associations ‘showing the way by going in advance‘, ‘guiding behaviour‘, ‘inducing, directing, and inspiring‘. And the word development is an antonym of envelop, so can be interpreted as ‘unwrapping’. So, leadership development can be thought of as unwrapping thee potential of individuals, teams and organisations to guide, direct and inspire.… Read More

Sustainability Inside-Out: the role of coaching

Can organisations move towards sustainability without coaching? Arising and Article 13’s research reveals the critical role coaching can play in the shift towards sustainable and profitable business. Most large organisations are making moves towards sustainability. Leading organisations are integrating ecological and social factors into strategy. Many factors constrain organisations progress, but the barriers of culture… Read More

Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Art at SHINE

We were recently involved in SHINE Unconference for social entrepreneurs. We researched how understanding ‘Fundamental Human Needs’ can inform both the analysis, diagnosis, innovation and marketing phases of social entrepreneurship. Based on this thinking we co-created an installation that engaged visitors in the ten fundamental human needs. And, hosted several workshops with partner organisations who… Read More