NAVA 2014 Synergy – helping artists to grow sustainable businesses

NAVA Synergy is an incubator program aimed at supporting artists in gaining practical skills and knowledge for forming and growing a sustainable business that will thrive in the competitive market
of the arts.

This year NAVA is running a four week Synergy program, starting on 1st July and finishing with its live crowdfunding event, NAVA Soup Sessions.

RSVP and more information: NAVASYNERGY2014

Program includes:

  • Two professional development events exploring topics on entrepreneurship, developing connections with the private sector and public presentation skills
  • Opportunity to develop and draft a project pitch to colleagues and expert judges in preparation

New project: Island Innovation Lab Efate, Vanuatu Jan 16 – 20 2014

We are very excited about this new project that is just starting out in early 2014.

Island Innovation LabWe are collaborating with Paul D Miller (aka DJSpooky) to develop a Carbon Negative Innovation Lab and residency program on Efate in Vanuatu (Just outside Vila).

The Lab will become a location for creative thinkers from all disciplines to undertake residency programs that afford them the time and space to think deeply and collaborate on complex global sustainability issues.

As part of this project we are also partnering with a number of other global programs such as Peaceboat (UN).

The first Island Innovation Lab will run from 16th – 20th January 2014 in Vanuatu. And we will be joined by a number of interested artists, designers, communicators, sustainability experts in Vanuatu.

The Beta Lab will set the tone for the formation of the formal program and the infrastructure that will support it.

Currently we have a wonderful blank canvas, a 500 acre beachfront property with 7 different ecological zones from rain forests to grass lands to bamboo  and palm groves. There are natural springs with fresh water and good solar and wind energy opportunities.

Our goal is to design and develop a minimal impact, carbon positive communal workspace and studios with accommodation for the residency program participants. This will be a social enterprise and aims to partner with and support the local community through employment, education and other opportunities.

As part of the kick-off for this project Selena and Paul will be heading off to Vanuatu along with a number of UNSW students in January 2014.

You can follow updates about the project via Twitter at @theVPF and @selenajoy2

Guest post: The Power of the Purse! by Yolanda Vega

Our guest post today is by Yolanda Vega, CEO of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Yolanda shares some thoughts on gender, equity, and business. It is interesting to ponder the ‘power of the purse’.

“As a young journalism student the political influence of Australia’s few male media moguls was apparent; that was more than a quarter of a century ago.

When I graduated the industry leaders included Murdoch, Packer, Holmes à Court, Fairfax, Bond and Stokes. There wasn’t a woman in sight – not as an owner, nor as the head of any media group.

Today, we finally have a woman; Gina Rinehart who has in recent times become a shareholder of two large media groups (Fairfax and Network Ten).

The boys have, since the beginning of time, had a concentrated hold and complete dominance in television, radio and the Australian press. The media has influenced what we think, read, see, hear, believe and buy.

This is the primary reason as why women are continuously portrayed by the media in unacceptable sexist ways: men both provide the message and they are the messengers. Violence, sexually offensive, degrading, unflattering and demeaning images of women are delivered daily on all platforms.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Fairfax appointed its first female editor to the Sydney Morning Herald. Amanda Wilson was, and still is, the first and only female editor in Fairfax’s 180-year history.

To finally have a few women in this powerful male dominated space is encouraging, we might even get a different perspective of the world and start seeing a more positive focus on women; a view that shows women are great contributors to our economy and communities – it might even reduce violence against women and show future generations that ‘equality’ is not just a word.

Regardless of your political inclination, it is interesting to hear certain male politicians are requesting the media provide our first female Prime Minister with the same courtesies extended to her male predecessors. Bob Brown recently told journalists that: “the degree of relentless criticism on this Prime Minister coming from male commentators … is sexist and quite ridiculous at times.”

Research shows there is a pattern of misrepresentation, which “underestimates the economic role of women and automatically assigns them to a lower status and/or subordinate positions”. The visibility of powerful, successful and influential women in the media is limited and segregated, providing a totally distorted view of our society.

We need only look at the portrayal of women in sport to get a very clear picture of how the media represents men as strong, intelligent, powerful and confident and how women are valued primarily for their body, with no recognition of skill or intellect.

Ridiculous indeed and the portrayal of women across the board is absurd!

And so too is the recent outrage at Ms Rinehart’s business diversification.

I note that every time I read an article about Ms Rinehart, or hear about her business dealings on radio or television, she is referred to as “the daughter of the late mining magnate Lang Hancock”. This information is superfluous and it is not in the public interest!

Why is the father of the male billionaire constantly excluded and the father of the female billionaire continuously included? Blatant conscious sexism, perhaps?

The portrayal of successful women in, business, sport, politics and community should be equal to that of men, but it’s not and therefore not to be tolerated.

Our economy competes globally; women are great contributors, yet the archaic and demeaning portrayal of women as being weak, fragile, sex symbols and/or incompetent continues at an alarming level. Reporters, journalists, subeditors and editors are constantly breaching their code of ethics and nothing is done about it.

Women have the same rights as men in this country; it’s about time the media started reading their own code of ethics and start adhering to it, as well as observing our anti-discrimination laws.

Any and every woman in this country, irrespective of financial or political status, has the right to do business in any industry she wants. If Ms Rinehart has decided to play in the boys’ media sandpit it is her democratic right to do so and should have the right to keep her family private emails private.

You as a consumer (women make more than 80% of consumer decisions) have the power of the purse and you can influence and affect this and every other business. Remember if women stop buying, the economy will stop dead in its tracks.

Next time you buy something, ask yourself ‘whom am I giving my money to and who will reap the benefits of my hard earned cash?’.”

Video of Bruce Piasecki @sibsyd ‘Doing more with less’

NY Times best selling author of Doing More with Less, Bruce Piasecki spoke to Social Innovation Sydney at COFA last week:

‘Doing More with Less: Innovation Routes for Families and Firms in a Swift and Severe World’

Bruce covered cases and examples he has seen of successful innovation, adaptation and response to change and the need to shift toward more sustainable approaches.

Video of his talk follows below.

Huge thanks to Bruce for taking the time to discuss his ideas with us.

Call to action: Changing the world through toilet paper via @ThinkActChange

Avis Mulhall over at Think-Act-Change has just the put the call out for people to help out with this interesting project.

Why not answer the survey and sign up to find out more about how you can help people via toilet paper?

Howdy Fellow Changemakers!

As you know, I’m all about changing the world and I know you are too.

So I’m launching a brand new venture that will aim to do just that – LooLoo Paper – and I need your help!!

I need you to take this quick survey (30 seconds!) and share it with as many friends as is humanly possible:

So what exactly is LooLoo Paper? We sell toilet paper by subscription and donate 100% of our profits to NGO’s working to eradicate diarrhoeal diseases – one of the biggest killers of children under 5 in developing countries.

We know you’re going to love LooLoo Paper just as much as we do. Because now, with LooLoo Paper you can make a difference, just by buying our toilet paper.

But first up, we need your help so we can reach as many good folks as possible. We’re talking friends, family, your boss….even that neighbour you don’t really like that much. So please, go forth, spread the word and lets start a Think Act Change toilet paper revolution!!!!

Sign up here:

Thanks for your support folks!!


Interesting: The Naked Brand Film

This is an important topic for our times! And it is an issue that has driven discussion and thinking at Social Innovation Sydney from the beginning. This film confronts the new reality facing brands in a world where transparency is there, whether they like it or not.

Bad Companies Can’t Hide Behind Great Ads Anymore

They can’t abuse the environment and tell us they’re green, hide corruption behind a clever headline, or sell the same old junk as new and improved. We’re just not buying it.

Now we have constant access to information that tells the truth about the products we use and the ethics of the companies behind them—and that changes everything.

In The Naked Brand, veteran ad man Jeff Rosenblum turns an introspective eye on the corporate world. He shines a spotlight on brands that say one thing and deliver another, asking industry luminaries the question that’s on everybody’s mind: now what?”
Source: The Naked Brand Trailer

Check out The Naked Brand Film website or watch the trailer:

The Naked Brand Trailer from EnricoPavia on Vimeo.

Thanks to Mark Pesce for sending through the link.

The Buzz on Bees

Bees are one of the most important animals in our food chain. Their role in pollinating all our food crops and those our other food sources rely on is paramount to our survival.

Globally there has been, due to a number of factors, a significant decline in bee populations. In Australia we are fortunate as none of the diseases affecting European Honey bees have appeared yet and hopefully won’t.

We are also lucky because we have a number of stingless native bee species which are very easily kept in your garden and can do a lot of useful work in the garden for you. They don’t produce as much honey as their European counterparts but also require next to no maintenance.

Check out for more information

Talking Sydney – Social Innovation Unconference 12 Nov 2011

Talking Sydney:

Sydney is a dynamic city. It is diverse in cultures, rich in natural beauty and growing at a fast pace.

This growth presents as many opportunities as it does problems around providing servcies such as transport, energy and water as well as access to housing, education, food and medical care.

Join Social Innovation Sydney at the Unconference to explore the opportunities presented in our growing city.

More details to come.

Also, please note that the location may change, waiting on confirmation of a new and exciting venue.

Register Now for SIBSYD Unconference

Big thanks to everyone who came to Food Inc. #sibsyd

We just wanted to say a big thank-you to everyone who came to COFA last night for the Social Innovation Sydney screening of Food Inc.

Also we extend heartfelt thanks to our wonderful panel who generated so much interesting discusion:

Lots of great ideas and many significant challenges arising from the issue of food and food production. If you’re interested in continuing the discussion then come along to our UnConference on Saturday 13 August 2011.

Costa Georgiadis SBS TV Host: Special Guest for Food, Inc.

Food Inc screening – 28th July 2011 at COFA Sydney

The film will be followed by a panel discussion that featuring well known social enterprises and influencers who are redefining the local food industry:

The panel includes:

Even if you’ve seen the film before, this is your chance to explore this increasingly important issue in our society.

“Costa’s Garden Odyssey”Social Innovation Sydney is proud to announce Costa Georgiadis,  the host of SBS TV’s  will be joining the Food Inc. panel:

“Costa takes a holistic approach to gardening and the environment, engaging communities to develop a love of and appreciation of the natural world in all its diversity. Costa’s groundedness and wisdom make his show one that all ages and cultures connect with and respond to because he celebrates life, nature and community.”

We are what we eat!

Join Social Innovation Sydney and the fast developing Sydney food community to watch “Food, Inc.”, an eye-opening expose of the modern food industry. Both fascinating and terrifying, and essential viewing for any health-conscious citizen.

Get tickets here

Food, Inc.
How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on the food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies.

The food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.

We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s DilemmaIn Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc.reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Tickets here