21-22 AUGUST, 2024

,

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA AUSTRALIA

Register your interest

21-22 AUGUST, 2024

,

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA AUSTRALIA

Express your interest
Sensemaking & Systems Change
Sensemaking & Systems Change
Sense-making & Systems Change
2024 FORUM

Delve into the biggest challenges of our time alongside some of the greatest minds

What I do

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WHAT IS THE FORUM?

The Wisdom & Action Forum will push the boundaries of your thinking

This isn't your ordinary conference

With limited time to get on the same page and blend the highest wisdom with the best actions, our forum theme will center on  ‘Sensemaking and Systems Change’

Come together to navigate complexity, nuance and the pressure points of change through thought provoking - plenaries, facilitated peer-to-peer conversations and dynamic masterclasses. Create the deep connection of emergent thinking that we urgently need for this critical moment.

ABOUT

Join us for this invitation only gathering of 200 leaders

21 – 22 August 2024
Abbotsford Convent,
1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
Victoria, Australia 3067

Over two days we will gather at the Abbotsford Convent, on lands of the Wurundjeri people. Here you'll connect with leaders across business, government, academia, community, arts, defence and economics, to come together to discuss and problem-solve the challenges of our times. Thought leaders from around the globe will join us to create the context and framing for discussion, challenging our assumptions and shifting our collective wisdom towards action.

Learn more about Small Giants Academy

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forum SPEAKERS

Join leading thinkers from Australia and around the world.

Stan Grant
Journalist and Author
Polarisation, Leadership and Agency
Stan Grant
Journalist and Author
Polarisation, Leadership and Agency

For more than 30 years and reporting from more than 60 countries, Stan Grant has offered his insights and inquiries to Australia and the world over through his journalism, writing and as a radio and television presenter. He is one of Australia’s most awarded journalists and as a Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi and Dharrawal man, Stan has used his voice and position to advocate for the rights and prosperity of First Nations people. He is the best-selling author of seven critically acclaimed books centred on themes pertaining to identity, belonging, nationhood and covering subject areas such as racial studies, Australian Indigenous history, political philosophy and geo-politics. With his resignation as host of ABC’s program Q&A, Stan has modelled what it is to lead with wisdom in these times. With the clarity that our political and media cultures are toxic, Stan urges us all to meet division, polarisation and hate with the spirit of love. He is now spending his time working on more transformational and constructive projects such as taking seat as an inaugural director of the Constructive Institute and as professor of journalism at Monash University.


Watch his recent presentation at Change Fest 2024 here.  

USA
Frances Haugen
Technology & Media Advocate
Artificial Intelligence and Polarisation
USA
Frances Haugen
Technology & Media Advocate
Artificial Intelligence and Polarisation

In 2019, Frances Haugen was recruited to Facebook as lead product manager on the Civic Misinformation team. She was hired to deal with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and she later worked on counter-espionage with the social media giant.  

During her time at Facebook, Frances became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company made to prioritise their own profit over public safety – ultimately risking individual users’ lives in the process. As a last resort, and at great personal cost, Frances made the courageous decision to expose the company for its unethical business practices. Initial reporting was released by The Wall Street Journal in what became known as The Facebook Files.  



Since going public, Frances has testified in front of US Congress, UK ad EU Parliaments, and the French Senate and National Assembly. She has engaged with lawmakers internationally on how to best address the negative externalities of social media platforms.

Watch Frances and Berry Liberman in conversation at the White House last year.

Netherlands
Lex Empress
Immersion Artist
The Arts as Sensemaking
Netherlands
Lex Empress
Immersion Artist
The Arts as Sensemaking

As a world-renowned travelling artist Lex Empress is embodying the courage and creativity that systemic change requires of us. With her presence and song, she guides her audiences through transformative experiences touching on themes which are both deeply personal and resonant with the broader collective. Often finding inspiration drawn from the audience in front of her, Lex Empress creates songs that incorporate all of what it is to be human: the messy, the mundane and the meaningful. Her improvisational performances make space for impactful exchanges, invite us into states of deeper reflection and reveal insights about who we are to our changing world.  

You can find examples of her work here and here.

UK
Indy Johar
Executive Director of Dark Matter Labs
Sensemaking in the Meta-crisis
UK
Indy Johar
Executive Director of Dark Matter Labs
Sensemaking in the Meta-crisis

Indy Johar is an architect, teacher and leader focused on systemically changing the way we build our urban environments through regenerative redesign, distributional care and democratising access to spaces. He is the founding Executive Director of both Architecture 00 and Dark Matter Labs and co-founder of Impact Hub Birmingham and Open Systems Lab. He was a Senior Innovation Associate at the Young Foundation, has lectured at many universities globally and is currently teaching at RMIT. His work includes concern for aligning our incentives across civic systems to more accurately orient our lives toward intrinsic value.  



Indy and his team at Dark Matter Labs are re-configuring the way we organise society, using design as an essential tool to contemplate, map, experiment and ultimately materialise a post-ownership society where human development sits at the core of urban infrastructure and governance. Birthed from the wisdom that opportunities for systemic change and large scale transitions rest with the ‘dark matter’ or ‘deep codes’ of our personal and civic lives, Indy sees a re-structuring of our material economy to be a re-imagination of who we are more fundamentally and what we mean to the people and world around us.


You can find a presentation by Indy Johar here. Other interesting links include a transcribed interview with Indy Johar hosted by Emerge and Tomas Bjökman and a piece entitled 3ºC Neighbourhood, co-authored by Dark Matter Labs and CIVIC SQUARE.

Singapore
Cindy Ko
Head of APAC at Toniic
Impact Investing
Singapore
Cindy Ko
Head of APAC at Toniic
Impact Investing

Cindy Ko has led a rich and dedicated career engaging with entrepreneurs and collaboratively building more sustainable environmental and economic ecosystems. She currently works as Head of the Asia Pacific region for Toniic, a global community of asset owners seeking deeper positive net impact across the spectrum of capital. Among many titles, Cindy has served as an independent director for JcbNext, as a Venture Partner for Quona Capital, has been on the advisory board of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network and worked as Head of Asia for not-for-profit organisation Endeavor. During her 10+ year career at Endeavor, Cindy built Endeavor’s presence in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa. Passionate about social impact, Cindy is concerned with aligning wealth with values.

Tyson Yunkaporta
Founder of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab & Author
Systems thinking
Tyson Yunkaporta
Founder of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab & Author
Systems thinking

Weaving his roles and makings, Tyson Yunkaporta is many things. He is a scholar, story-teller and member of the Apalech Clan in Far North Queensland, sharing his insight in his books Small Talk (2019) and Right Story, Wrong Story (2023). He is an educator, research fellow and founder of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab at Deakin University, as well as an artist of poetry and traditional wood carvings. Sometimes referenced as ‘reverse-anthropology’, Tyson’s work applies indigenous methods of inquiry to examine the Western world, providing opportunities for reading and addressing the complex global crises of our time outside of the language and knowledge systems that brought them into being.



Throughout his interviews, podcasts, keynote presentations and publications, Tyson reminds us to stay far from settling on any given framework or solution and to instead turn our efforts towards fostering the conditions for emergence. Part of our work, Tyson often articulates, is to examine our thinking for where we move into diametrical opposition over dialogue with others and supports us to diversify, connect and be changed by people and systems outside of our usual siloed social engagements.  

For a little glimpse of Tyson’s book Sand Talk, you can watch a preview video here. You can listen to an interview with Tyson and Emergence Magazine here.  

An older interview (3 years ago) with Rebel Wisdom can be found here. A more recent interview with Tyson can be found here.  

Amanda Sturgeon
CEO of The Biomimicry Institute
Biodiversity
Amanda Sturgeon
CEO of The Biomimicry Institute
Biodiversity

Amanda Sturgen is an architect, author, speaker and consultant, passionately paving the way for our reconnection to nature using regenerative principles and frameworks. As CEO of the Biomimicry Institute, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting nature-inspired innovation, Amanda is leading a team of change-makers to bring about a world that works in harmony with nature and natural systems. Moving beyond the sustainability approach, at the core of her work is the belief that our built environment should foster our relationship with the natural world and that addressing climate change and biodiversity loss requires whole-systems thinking and biophilic (or ‘love of life’) design.

Amanda has previously worked as the CEO of Built by Nature, as the Regenerative Design lead at global consultancy Mott MacDonald, and as CEO of the International Living Future Insititute. In 2015 Amanda was named one of the top 10 women in sustainability with the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.  

You can listen to her Ted Talk here. If you’d like to learn more of Amanda’s regenerative approach, you can read about biophilic design here.  

Bhutan
Lhatu Lhatu
Former Bhutanese Parliamentarian
Gross National Happiness
Bhutan
Lhatu Lhatu
Former Bhutanese Parliamentarian
Gross National Happiness

Lhatu Lhatu is the Executive Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre Bhutan (GNHCB), and devoted to promoting sustainable and equitable development both in Bhutan and internationally.

He has served two terms in the Parliament of Bhutan (2008-2013 and 2018-2023) and held government roles for nine years. Lhatu spent over seven years with the UNDP in Bhutan as Operations Manager and four years in the private sector as Director of Community and Corporate Relations for Mountain Hazelnuts.

USA
Daniel Schmachtenberger
Philosopher (Virtual)
Systems Change
USA
Daniel Schmachtenberger
Philosopher (Virtual)
Systems Change

Daniel Schmachtenberger is a leading systems thinker, researcher and contemplative master of the meta-crisis. He is a founding member of the Consilience Project and Civilisation Research Institute, both of which in their own way seek to map how our intersecting global crises are emergent consequences of deeper problems of our alignment to ourselves, each other, our Earth and the cosmos. His public presence resounds throughout the world of podcasts and interviews where he explores the complex landscape of our global wicked problems and double-binds with such finesse, precision and multi-dimensionality that often leaves listeners flawed. Some of his most insightful inquiries pertain to the future of our civilisation, exploring how; technologies are value-laden; our global economic, social and political systems are animated by perverse incentives; too narrowly defining problems lead to externalities, polarisation and run-away collapses; creative human agency and global cooperation must be balanced with sensitivity to power capture and corruption; and how wisdom and influence must come into right relation. Most significantly, Daniel’s work tends to the sacredness inherent to all life.  


His most recent talk can be found here. An overall (and approachable) look at his work and insight can be found here.  

Rachel Lowry
CEO of Bush Heritage
Rewilding & Biodiveristy
Rachel Lowry
CEO of Bush Heritage
Rewilding & Biodiveristy

As the CEO at Bush Heritage and previously the Chief Conservation Officer at WWF for Nature Australia, Rachel Lowry leads with hope and empathy and champions change that benefits people, nature and climate. With an unwavering love for Australia’s natural landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity she has become a highly respected leader in the conservation sector. Prior to her work with WWF-Australia, Rachel spent nine years as Director of Wildlife Conservation and Science for Zoos Victoria. She’s been an advisor to Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner and is a former Chair of Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Rachel sits on various advisory Boards, is a Councillor at the Biodiversity Council and has developed award-winning conservation programs domestically and abroad. As recognition of her contribution to conservation, Rachel was awarded a position on the Top 50 Women in the Victorian Public Service by the Institute of Public Administration Australia in 2018.  

Ronni Kahn
Founder of OzHarvest
Conscious Leadership
Ronni Kahn
Founder of OzHarvest
Conscious Leadership

Ronni Kahn is the founder and former CEO of OZHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation with a driving purpose to ‘Nourish our Country’. She is a passionate advocate and activist, renowned for disrupting the food waste landscape in Australia. Ronni’s quest to tackle Australia’s food waste problem makes her a lead spokesperson on the issue, appearing regularly in national media, on expert panels and in an advisory capacity to the government. She is a keynote speaker all over the world, inspiring people to find their own purpose. Ronni has received various accolades recognising her achievements, most notably her appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), Boss Magazine Top 21 True Leaders, Gourmet Traveller’s Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality, Griffith University’s Doctor of the University (honoris causa) and Australian Local Hero of the Year.

Watch Ronni’s presentation at the Social Good Summit Australia here  

USA
Ariel Burger
Teacher, Writer and Philosopher
Strategies for Social Change
USA
Ariel Burger
Teacher, Writer and Philosopher
Strategies for Social Change

Ariel Burger weaves his spirituality, story-telling, pedagogical insights and artistic capacities to develop strategies for social change. Beautifully written in his own words, Ariel’s mission “... is to help counter superficiality with nuance, to replace estrangement with encounter, and to empower people to be creative and kind citizens of the world.” He is also the founding director of the Witness Institute, a space, body of work and community deeply inspired by the legacy of Ariel’s teacher Elie Wiesel. We highly recommend reading Ariel's 2018 book ‘Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom’  

Benson Saulo
Partner at First Australians Capital
Equality & Democracy
Benson Saulo
Partner at First Australians Capital
Equality & Democracy

Benson Saulo is an impact and change driven leader heart-fully committed to Indigenous economic empowerment and prosperity. In 2021, Benson was the first Indigenous person to be appointed an Australian Consul-General and delivered the Australian Governments diplomacy, economic and trade agenda in the US. He was responsible for building relationships between First Nations peoples globally, facilitating trade, investment and cultural exchange. Benson is currently offering his expertise as a Strategic Advisor at First Australian Capital, an Indigenous-led investment fund and Indigenous business advisor, and is working on the board of Innovation Unit. Most recently, Benson is pursuing a longstanding passion for politics and has successfully been preselected as the Liberal Party candidate for Macnamara.0

Among many outstanding accolades, Benson was named National NAIDOC Youth of the Year in 2014, and a finalist for Young Australian of the Year (VIC), and the Human Rights Medal for Youth by the Australian Human Rights Commission. He is a proud descendant of the Wemba Wemba and Gunditjmara people of Western Victoria, and from New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea.

Gayle Hardie
Global Leadership Foundarion
Emotional Health
Gayle Hardie
Global Leadership Foundarion
Emotional Health

Gayle Hardie is co-founder and author at Global Leadership Foundation, which engages individuals, organisations and communities to create significant transformational leadership journeys. After a long career in Human Resources and senior management, Gayle now works with boards and senior leaders globally to rethink the way they lead and live, often facilitating ecologically-based, holistic and integrated experiences. She holds a number of professional association memberships and has additional professional commitments including as director and chair of Peers Inspiring Peers, a regular presenter to the Board Effectiveness Program at Leadership Victoria and pro bono work with the Skills Bank at Leadership Victoria. Gayle is internationally recognised for her wisdom and expertise in the world of leadership and organisation transformation.

Jo Brick
Royal Australian Airforce
Cohesion & Polarisation
Jo Brick
Royal Australian Airforce
Cohesion & Polarisation

Jo Brick is an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, a writer and a devoted learner. Pulling from her experience and expertise in the Royal Australian Defence Force and her interest in purpose driven leadership in a time of proliferating challenge, Jo offers important insights into the role and nature of security in supporting planetary flourishing. Jo is a Small Giants MBE fellow and holds a Master of Laws, a Master of International Security Studies and a Master of Military and Defence Studies. She is a Member of the Military Writers Guild, an Associate Editor for The Strategy Bridge, and an Editor for The Central Blue. She is also a writer and a published author, contributing to books such as: Redefining the Modern Military (2018) and To Boldly Go: Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict in the 21st Century and Beyond (2021).  

Jo has written an essay for Small Giants entitled ‘Securing a Good Society,’ which can be read here.

Mele-Ane Havea
Co- Chair of B Lab Australia & NZ
Governing for Purpose
Mele-Ane Havea
Co- Chair of B Lab Australia & NZ
Governing for Purpose

As a passionate governance professional, Mele-Ane’s work explores the intersection of cultural wisdom, purpose-led business, and the “next economy,” and believes in the immense power of storytelling for change. With over 20 years of experience reporting to Boards and Board sub-committees and over 13 years of experience as a non-executive Director of Boards, Male-Ane offers a richness of expertise in the field of social impact. Mele-Ane holds an MBA from Oxford, where she was a fellow of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. She also has an LLB/BA from Monash University and previously worked as a human rights legal advisor in Europe. She specialises in establishing and growing purpose-driven organisations, nurturing cultures of connection and supporting leaders to step into their vision and mission. She is currently the Co-Chair at B Lab Australia and Aoteroa New Zealand, and was previously CEO at Small Giants Academy.

Damon Gameau
Founder of Regen Studios
Storytelling for Change
Damon Gameau
Founder of Regen Studios
Storytelling for Change

Damon Gameau is an award-winning screen writer, director, author and activist. As a story-teller harnessing the power of documentary films to mobilise impact, Damon reveals the potential of the narratives we hold personally and collectively to both invoke destruction and harmony. He is unequivocally clear that our survival depends on the nature and quality of the stories we tell, urging us to find our reverence and respect for the natural world of which we are an intrinsic part. As a father, Damon is concerned with the climate crisis and the future of our life on Earth, using his life’s work to share and generate hopeful futures of planetary flourishing.  


In 2015, his debut feature documentary That Sugar Film broke Australian box office records, won the AACTA Award for best feature documentary and sold to 25 international territories. Damon’s most recent feature documentary 2040 is also one of the highest grossing Australian documentaries of all time and has been released all over the globe.  




He shares his wisdom with us at the Small Giants Academy as an Honorary Wisdom Council member of our program: Into the Arena: Climate Leadership Accelerator. Damon has received numerous accolades for his work, including a nomination for NSW Australian of the Year in 2020.

You can find his widely watched TED talk here, and his interview with Small Giants Head of Programs, Tamsin Jones, here. You can also watch the trailers of Damon’s film 2040 here and his most recent film Regenerating Australia here.

David Ritter
CEO of Greenpeace
Cohesion & Polarisation
David Ritter
CEO of Greenpeace
Cohesion & Polarisation

David Ritter is an author, speaker and leader, focusing on the climate crisis in Australia and taking action through hopeful frames. He is currently the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, before which he was a senior campaigner and head of biodiversity for Greenpeace in the UK. Impressively, David was also one of Australia’s leading Indigenous rights lawyers. He is a widely published commentator on politics, law, history and current affairs and the author of Contesting Native Title (2009), and The Native Title Market (2009) as well as lead author of The Coal Truth: The fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy (2018). He holds honorary affiliations with the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.

PROvOcations

Some of the questions we'll answer together

What are the right governance systems for complex meta crisis we are in?

Can we trust anything anymore now that AI and deepfakes are so ‘real’?

With 19 collapsing ecosystems in Australia alone, how do we prioritise which one to save?

What is the right balance between self and community?

When should or shouldn’t organisations take on social or political issues?

What I do

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PROvOcations

Some of the questions we'll answer together

What are the right governance systems for complex meta crisis we are in?
Can we trust anything anymore now that AI and deepfakes are so ‘real’?
With 19 collapsing ecosystems in Australia alone, how do we prioritise which one to save?
What is the right balance between self and community?
When should or shouldn’t organisations take on social or political issues?
PROvOcations

Some of the questions we'll answer together

What are the right governance systems for complex meta crisis we are in?
Can we trust anything anymore now that AI and deepfakes are so ‘real’?
With 19 collapsing ecosystems in Australia alone, how do we prioritise which one to save?
What is the right balance between self and community?
When should or shouldn’t organisations take on social or political issues?
WHY WISDOM & ACTION?

Our economic system is tearing at the fabric of society and our planet.

Wealth inequality, global unrest, climate change, artificial intelligence, an ageing demographic, biodiversity loss, and an epidemic of loneliness and mental health challenges are just some of the global and existential issues facing us at this moment.

Polarisation fuelled by a toxic media landscape and social media algorithms means we can't seem to discuss these issues, let alone agree on what to do about them. It's time to come together. To hold brave spaces for difficult conversations, to hold complexity and the shades of grey so we can chart new paths forward.

It's time for Wisdom and Action.

Forum Investment
General Admission
$1490 +GST
Concession & Not-For-Profit
$1100 +GST

Our ticket price reflects the financial & love capital required to host an intimate and potent gathering. We have kept it as low as possible to ensure accessibility.

Your ticket includes

Access to a diverse curation of speakers, corresponding interactive workshops, dynamic masterclasses and immersive art and music experiences

Abundant and nourishing lunches on Wednesday and Thursday

A three-course, sit down dinner on Wednesday evening

Endless connections and inspiration

THANK YOU
With thanks to our partners

The Wisdom & Action Forum is made possible by the generous support of our partners – impact-driven businesses committed to making a difference.

Would you like to be at the Forum? Register your interest!

The Wisdom & Action Forum will be an intimate gathering of 200 leaders, by invitation only.

Enquire about partnership opportunities

If you're interested in supporting the Forum, get in touch with our Head of Strategic Partnerships, Jen.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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