Oprah meetup Sydney – it’s all about education!

One of the big things that can change the world is education. And love or hate Oprah Winfrey she’s been a longtime advocate of better education, especially for women.

A bunch of Oprah Winfrey Show fans in Sydney have decided to hold a meetup on the evening of Monday 1 November 2010 to discuss education issues in Australia. The evening will run like an Oprah interview-style show, with Nancy Georges hosting and interviewing:

  • Yvette Vignando creator of Happy Child about Emotional Intelligence; and
  • Mei Tan from Brasserie Bread about the importance of teaching children skills other than maths and reading.

You can register for free here and find out more here.


It was like to stop consuming was to stop being human…

and films are great for story telling but they are are also great for expressing one’s feelings about the world.

Gotye, a favourite Australian Indie act, has just released a new single called “With our eyes wide open.”

With lyrics such as

“It was like to stop consuming was to stop being human”
“The dust was all that was left of us”
“The saddest thing was it could all have been avoided”
“You can make the change if you want”
and the chorus “we walk the plank with our eyes wide open”

“Eyes wide open” reflective song on a topic that we know in our in our hearts but are sometimes unsure of what action to take in our everyday lives….



Eyes Wide Open from Gotye on Vimeo.

Systems Change? How hard will it be to live sustainably?

Onur Ekinci, NSW Assitant Director for the Oaktree Foundation and attendee of the first SIBSYD gives us his perspective into system change, poverty how we can live sustainably:

Most of my current time is served as the NSW Assistant Director for The Oaktree Foundation. Underlying a lot of my work with Oaktree is the belief that poverty is a by-product of poor systems and that mindset change and education is the solution to end poverty. Facilitating transformational change with two management consultant companies has been a key access point to systems thinking and systems change. My corporate background in the resource and manufacturing industries have provided insight into the need for balance between the spiritual and physical worlds. I am deeply passionate about continuous improvement and see evolution as a natural notion at both an individual and universal level.

1. Can we continue to support minor amendments to “business as usual” or must we now embark on radical transformation?
Minor amendments could have been possible if we had been working towards sustainable practices since the birth of the industrial era. Since we haven’t, we are now faced with the challenge to create radical change as we race against a stopwatch that is measuring the amount of irreversible damage we are doing.

2. What is the feasibility of implementing such transformative change

Humans are extremely adaptive creatures, coupled with the fact that we live in exponential times, transformative change is a lot closer to reality than one may initially think.

3. What are the strategies that will generate system change?
To recognize that we are beyond the ‘what’ and now need to address the ‘how’- to generate system change. Strategy on the ‘how’ will need to be developed through a diverse group of people, including a gender and age balance. A top-down, bottom-up, multi-sector, multi-industry approach that will prioritise on identifying the power supplies that feed the system/s and empower the public to switch these off.

4. What is involved in shifting the national mindset?
Education and awareness to heighten public consciousness through a participatory-based, self- realized approach. The exchange of content needs to be values-based as it will help us access our blind-spots that can reveal a new way of thinking.

Values-based marketing through various mediums of media that reach the wider public on a regular basis.

5. What incentives will lead mainstream opinion leaders to change direction?
Rather than looking at it as incentives, I would rather see it as what will influence them. In which case, proof that non-mainstream opinion leaders, the true innovators and leaders (2.5% to 3.5% of the population) back a changed direction that is clearly painted, along with evidence of wide public support. This will hopefully lead to the birth of new policies and laws, which will accelerate the rate of change.

6. How do the values reflected in the present Transform Australia Manifesto support or conflict with the current values of mainstream Australia?
Mainstream Australia has a more individual and shorter-term serving values system.

Thanks Onur.

A focus on action for Social Innovation BarCamp 6 Nov

For our next BarCamp on 6 Nov we’re going to have:

  1. a traditional BarCamp approach in two of the rooms
  2. a social innovation BootCamp in one room – check out the agenda

At our first Social Innovation BarCamp we realised that there were many people who already had some ideas for social innovation but were not sure how to get things moving.

Format of Social Innovation Sydney

Apart from our slight name change from Social Innovation BarCamp to Social Innovation Sydney, we also decided to add a BootCamp component to the day.

What is a Social Innovation BootCamp?

A Social Innovation BootCamp is a space for people who want to workshop how to bring a social innovation idea to life. There will be a number of facilitated discussions on relevant topics to help kick start this process (session plan here). Everyone is welcome to join in these sessions or to move between them and the BarCamp sessions on the day.

What is a Social Innovation BarCamp?

A Social Innovation BarCamp is not a traditional conference. It is an unconference. In the case of Social Innovation BarCamp, the sessions are facilitated conversations. That is, there is no speaker at the front of a room that has an audience.

Instead there is a facilitator or session leader who frames and encourages a conversation about the topic that they have proposed. Participants come along ready to get involved and not just sit back as an audience.

Check out the facilitated conversation format as outlined here.

Format of the Day

We will have 3 rooms for the day

  • Room 1 and Room 2: The Unconference BarCamp
  • Room 3: The Social Innovation BootCamp

This will allow the open conversation that was such a success at the first event, where we created the content and discussed the issues important to us.

You don’t need an idea to take part in these facilitated talks, just come along ready to share your thoughts and opinions.

Format of the day – Social Innovation BarCamp 6 Nov (free registration)

The next Sydney Social Innovation BarCamp has two parallel streams:

  • a traditional BarCamp facilitated conversation format as outlined here

  • a series of BootCamp sessions as outlined in the session plan here

We’ve adopted these two streams because at our last Social Innovation BarCamp it became clear that, while the conversations and discussions were amazing, a number of people already had a social innovation idea but needed to identify actions to bring their idea to life.

Thus on the 6th November you’ll have a choice between the Social Innovation BarCamp facilitated conversation format and a series of BootCamp sessions.

If you’ve already got a social innovation idea and are wondering what to do next come along and join our BootCamp sessions.

Otherwise if you’re passionate about sustainable design and want to join in the conversation then come along and join our BarCamp sessions.

In any case register for free now – you can choose on the day if you want to join in the BarCamp conversations or the BootCamp sessions (or you can even mix and match between them – it’s up to you).

Got an idea for a Social Innovation startup? Come along to SI BarCamp on 6 Nov

Social Innovation Sydney now includes a BootCamp for Social Innovators who want to road test an idea or kickstart their business plan.

At the first event, participants engaged in in depth conversation on various aspects of Social Innovation. We concluded that talking is a great way to explore the issues but the most important step is action.

On 6 November 2010, we invite people who want to create and build their own social enterprise to join us at our Social Innovation Bootcamp session as part of Social Innovation BarCamp #2.

Register now for Social Innovation BarCamp

Facilitators for the SI Bootcamp are Kim Chen and Kate Carruthers. They each have hands on experience in building business cases for new ventures and have worked to create successful new products and start ups.

Topics include:

  • Sustainable business models
  • Brainstorming your idea
  • How to pitch for funding