Celebrating 2023 Wins

2023. It’s been a big year… and until I reviewed the whole year, I probably didn’t realise how big. Some gut-wrenching losses but so many wins to focus on. I hope you’re having (or are about to kick off) a rejuvenating EOY break, and you’ve got an exciting 2024 ahead!

It’s been another fun and meaningful year playing at the place where design, regenerative innovation, and wellbeing meet.

A huge thanks to all the awesome people and communities I get to spend my time with… all the clients, collaborators, program participants, and students. I love the work we do together – having fun while collaborating to solve problems that matter. Thanks for inviting me in and trusting me to work alongside you and cheer you on.

I’m taking a break from most work stuff until 5 Feb. I’ll be spending most of the next few weeks taking time to relax in the sun, hang with Jaz & Za (my kids), take photos, immerse in music, read, write, reflect on the year that’s been, and plan for the year ahead. This will probably be my last work post for a while.

Here are the headlines for my 2023 as I reflect on the year that’s been…

🎉 Dynamic4 turned 22… and I celebrated 30 years since starting my first corporate job in a bank at the age of 17.

📖 My book Solve Problems That Matter: Design, Build & Launch Your Social Enterprise Idea turned two. This year I released version 2.0 with some minor refinement (release notes). The book is supported by free worksheets, resources, and the social enterprise healthcheck. 850+ copies in 24 countries and 68 cities. I love the photos I receive from readers showing their very well-used and marked up books. That’s exactly why I wrote it 😃

💗 Worked with 100+ corporate senior leaders and seven social enterprise/impact partners across nine countries on three project-based experiential leadership, HCD & innovation skilled volunteering programs that we lead with one of our global financial services clients. A long-running fun and meaningful collaboration that I love!

🌱 Worked with 430+ UTS Bachelor of Creative Intelligence & Innovation (BCII) and Diploma in Innovation students on their startup projects… and 110+ students at six regional NSW high schools as part of the RYEAP program with The Scale Institute (funded by Investment NSW) – focusing on taking a human-centred design approach to innovation and entrepreneurship, regenerative business models with embedded impact, and happiness habits.

A privilege to be part of both the UTS Transdisciplinary School and The Scale Institute teaching teams.

🎤 Organised/hosted/spoke at 50+ events and programs (in-person, online, and hybrid) ranging from conferences, meetups, podcasts, webinars, workshop facilitation, and my first live radio interview (ABC Riverina breakfast radio). Organised 20 events, hosted/emceed 10, hosted four panels, was on five panels, gave talks at six events, was on three podcasts, and facilitated too many workshops to count.

I got to do my Regenerative Design & Innovation… for Happier Communities talk at both UX Australia and the World Interaction Design Day meetup. The list with links to recordings is below. Attended a bunch of events where I wasn’t on duty too!

💡 Spent 400+ hours coaching & advising and designing & delivering project-based experiential learning programs focused on developing personal, team, and organisational capability to solve problems that matter through purpose-driven innovation, design thinking, leadership, and collaboration.

Worked deeply with clients and participants to help them learn through doing and design, build, and launch regenerative business, product, and service ideas that help create great outcomes for people and our planet while being financially successful and increasing their wellbeing.

✈️ Travelled the most I have for a while and it was a year of planes, trains, and automobiles. I got back to Europe for the first time since 2008 for Interaction Week 23 in Zurich, then Southstart in Adelaide, Reignite: Impact Leader’s Retreat at the Midginbil Eco Resort, I visited regional NSW high schools in Forster-Tuncurry, Lake Macquarie, Griffith, Canberra/Queanbeyan, and Orange, a quick visit to Melbourne to host a SydDT meetup… and holidays in Phuket, Bangkok, and Cairns.

💕 Invested $132k+ supporting social enterprises, purpose-driven organisations, and helping build the social enterprise and design ecosystems. I invested an unsustainable 21% of my total work hours that I need to manage down to my target of 10%.

🌍 Offset 20% more than our calculated emissions (which we continually minimise). We’re proud to have been climate positive since 2010 – both Dynamic4 and household.

🤝 Sydney Design Thinking meetup is now a community of 9,038 members. We’re the third largest design thinking meetup globally (on meetup.com)… and the largest specifically focused on design thinking. Kylie Mageropoulos joined the team and we ran 15 in-person (and hybrid) meetups, including our 8th birthday, a Melbourne meetup (the first outside Sydney), one at SXSW Sydney, two in collaboration with IxDA Sydney, and two design megameetups with IxDA Sydney, EUX, and CCX.

A huge thanks to our SydDT community who make it so much fun, all of our speakers who share their valuable insights and experience, and to ThinkPlace, Thoughtworks, Mantel Group, UserTesting, VMLY&R, and Wave for your support… to Kate, Zoe, and Kylie for another year of successful meetups… and Vera, Susan, Adam, Kevin, and Sylvia for the megameetup collabs!

🤩 Another big year for the Social Enterprise Council of NSW & ACT (SECNA) and the Aussie social enterprise ecosystem. After four years on the journey of getting SECNA off the ground during challenging times and building momentum, my max term as a founding board member came to an end in May. Of course I’m still around as an industry member and volunteer.

🎶 20 gigs (Example, Bicep, Horrorshow, Thundamentals, LTJ Bukem (in Zurich), Dusty Lee’s Blues Jam, Aurora, Cimafunk & Bon Iver (at WOMADelaide), Soul II Soul, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Trombone Shorty, alt-J, Fatboy Slim, Alfa Mist, The Church, Little Simz, Salmonella Dub Sound System, Lauryn Hill, GoGo Penguin, Kraftwerk)… and a shout out to my Sydney Gig Crew for the fun. Added 104 album micro-reviews with my ongoing #MusicMeanderings project.

📸 1,080+ photos in my ongoing #PhotoMeanderings photo journal project.

💖 Jaz successfully completed Year 6 and graduated from primary school… and Za had a great Year 4 with impressive progress.

🌿 6,200+ meditation minutes and 8+ hours /day sleep average. These are a couple of my most important wellbeing metrics.

In summary, it’s been a fun and very full year. This might give you a clue why I tend to freeze when asked what I do and what I’m working on 😄. Plenty to celebrate… and of course, everything is a work in progress and an experiment.

Another massive thanks and hug to all of my family, friends, collaborators, and clients.

A special shout out to Dan Leverington – we teamed up at the Reignite: Impact Leader’s Retreat in July (thanks again Luke Faccini and Tom Allen!) as accountability buddies and have continued being a sounding board for each other since. I really enjoy our fortnightly peer coaching calls and find them extremely valuable. Stoked to see the progress you’re making too mate 😃

2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal and exciting year!

Keen for some help solving problems that matter and to have some fun collaborating? I’d love to hear from you… Bring on 2024!

Events

As I mentioned, I organised/hosted/spoke at 50+ events and programs in 2023. Here’s the list with links to some recordings…

  1. 26 Jul 2022-7 Feb. Facilitator & coach for an annual project-based action learning leadership, HCD & innovation skilled volunteering program with female leaders across Asia with a global financial services client and three social enterprise partners
  2. 9 Feb. Organiser, MC & panel host at SydDT #77: Designing for Inclusion with Agnes Abelsen & Kate Linton
  3. 16 Feb. Guest on Balanced Achievers Podcast with Phoebe Zhang (released 26 Nov)
  4. 25 Feb-3 Mar. Interaction Week 23 in Zurich – on stage for the IxD24 announcement as part of the organising team
  5. 8 Mar. Panellist at Southstart Flip for Impact Session in the Spiegel Zelt Tent
  6. 14 Mar. Organiser, IxD23 Highlights talk & panellist at SydDT #79: IxD23 Recap
  7. 21 Mar. Speaker & mentor at Founder Institute: Customer Development Session
  8. 31 Mar. Panellist for Social Impact Hub Fellowship: What is Impact Really?
  9. 13 Apr. Organiser at SydDT #80: Community-Based Design
  10. 4 May. Organiser at SECNA Meetup #7: Grant Funding
  11. 9 May. Organiser & speaker at SECNA AGM
  12. 11 May-15 Aug. Facilitator & coach for an annual project-based action learning leadership, HCD & innovation skilled volunteering program with a global financial services client and one social enterprise partner
  13. 11 May. Organiser & MC at SydDT #81: Establishing & Scaling an Innovation/Design Practice with Nathan Baird
  14. 18 May. Guest on Unmapped with Mike Kelly Podcast at Bondi Radio (unreleased)
  15. 24 May. Teacher for SSG/ACU Co-Lab Social Enterprise Circular Economy Series: Ideation for Impact
  16. 27 May. Organiser & panel host for SECNA Social Enterprise Festival: How Can Food Make a Difference? Panel at UTS Business School
  17. 1 Jun. Organiser, MC & open space facilitator at SECNA Meetup #8: Connecting & Collaborating
  18. 9 Jun. Contributor to Impact Boom 400th Episode: How To Prevent Burnout For Impact Entrepreneurs And Purpose-Led Leaders
  19. 13 Jun. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Sydney Secondary College Balmain
  20. 15 Jun. MC at SydDT #82: 8th Birthday & Will AI Make Me a Design-osaur? with Kate Linton
  21. 20 Jun-15 Sep. Facilitator & coach for an annual project-based action learning leadership, HCD & innovation skilled volunteering program with a global financial services client and three social enterprise partners
  22. 26 Jun-13 Jul. Coach for UTS Diploma in Innovation: Innovation in Complex Systems
  23. 6 Jul. Organiser at SECNA Meetup #9: Finding Our Voices
  24. 10 Jul. Facilitator & coach for UTS Diploma in Innovation: Innovation in Complex Systems: Theory of Change Workshop
  25. 13 Jul. Facilitator & coach for UTS BCII Speculative Startups: Theory of Change Workshop
  26. 13 Jul. Organiser & MC at SydDT #83: Plastic Free July with Jo Taranto
  27. 2 Aug. Guest for StartSomeGood Network AMA Session
  28. 3-4 Aug. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Alesco College, Tuncurry with MidCoast Council as the community partner
  29. 10 Aug. Organiser at SydDT #84: Design Megameetup – UX Australia 2023
  30. 11 Aug. Panellist at AMP Foundation Tomorrow Makers SPARK Immersive: Social Enterprise Journey Panel at Etico Hotel
  31. 16-17 Aug. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Toronto High School with Tender Funerals as the community partner
  32. 24 Aug. Speaker – Regenerative Design & Innovation… for Happier Communities talk at UX Australia
  33. 28-29 Aug. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Murrumbidgee Regional High School, Griffith with I2R Group as the community partner
  34. 29 Aug. RYEAP live radio interview on ABC Riverina Breakfast Radio with Sally Bryant
  35. 31 Aug-Apr 2024. Facilitator & coach for an annual project-based action learning leadership, HCD & innovation skilled volunteering program with female leaders across Asia with a global financial services client and three social enterprise partners
  36. 1 Sep. Organiser & host at Design Outlook: Design Leadership Sydney Drinks
  37. 4-5 Sep. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Karabar High School, Queanbeyan with Training Services NSW as the community partner
  38. 11-12 Sep. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Morisset High School with Bara Barang as the community partner
  39. 14 Sep. Organiser & MC at SydDT #85: By Design – Great Teams Deliver Great Products
  40. 19-20 Sep. Program guide for Regional Youth Entrepreneurial Activation Program (RYEAP) at Canobolas Rural Technology High School, Orange with Pairtree Analytics as the community partner
  41. 22 Sep. Guest speaker at Sydney University Business School: Business Consulting Practicum
  42. 26 Sep. Organiser & speaker – Regenerative Design & Innovation… for Happier Communities talk at SydDT #86: World Interaction Design Day
  43. 5 Oct. Guest Speaker at Design Thinkers Academy AMA Session with Darryl McClay
  44. 12 Oct. Organiser & MC at SydDT #87: Good Design Awards Highlights with Ben Crothers & Irma del Mundo
  45. 13 Oct. Panellist for Social Enterprise World Forum Local Hub: Learnings from SEWF23 Panellist at Sydney Town Hall House
  46. 17 Oct. Organiser & MC at SydDT #88: Meetup @ SXSW Sydney
  47. 2 Nov. Organiser, MC & panel host at SydDT #89: Designing for Value: Building Digital Experiences Customers Love
  48. 3 Nov. Organiser, MC & panel host at SydDT #90: Melbourne Design Thinking Meetup
  49. 1 Dec. Organiser for Sydney Social Enterprise Leader EOY Lunch Cruise
  50. 7 Dec. Facilitator & coach for UTS BCII Initiatives & Entrepreneurship: People/Problem Canvas Workshop
  51. 7 Dec. Organiser at SydDT #91: End of Year Design Megameetup