2016 Darkens | 2017 Lightens

So here’s to another year to learn from.

A chance to reflect and build on the kindness and compassion already shared. To understand that to leave this world better than we found it is one of the better reasons to live by.

Even though it feels like 2016 is closing out with a general feeling of unease and darkness with a lot to be scared and sad about, just remember the simple power we all have in making it a fantastically light or shitty day for someone else (and focus on the former please).


My modest efforts of blogging this year produced the following:

See you in 2017 you lovely humans!

Speaking With Purpose | Announcing A New Wellington Conference

Maya Angelou words quote

Raising the skill set of presenting / public speaking / storytelling.

Am triple excited to announce Speaking With Purpose, happening on Monday, 27th March 2017, at the fantastic Roxy Cinema:

A one day conference for those looking to increase their public speaking confidence and hungry to develop their storytelling techniques.

The event will feature inspirational keynotes plus masterclasses and workshops so attendees can broaden their professional skill set.

Inspired by my recent tenure overseeing nearly 200 events in fourteen months, there’s an opportunity to assist and develop presenters here in Wellington, the wider region and New Zealand as a whole.

Have seen so many folks stand and speak about their particular topic then struggle with the storytelling aspect of their message. Or suffer with nerves and other nuances which detract from the talk in some. Or fail to understand the importance of a well crafted slide deck in assisting their delivery.

This conference is for them.

It’s the wrong time to be announcing any kind of new initiative, let alone a medium-sized conference, however, just couldn’t keep it under wraps till the new year.

Check out the current impressive line-up who will be sharing their wisdom (more to be added soon):

swp speakers 2017

The early-bird offer along with the 25s-and-under registrations rates are currently active under a first-come-first-served scheme*:

swp prices 2017

As already mentioned, the day will include a mix of keynotes and workshops focussed on deconstructing presentation styles, understanding the psychology of what makes a good talk, exploring models of speaking, other good practice insights and delivery methodology. On top of the usual food and refreshments and networking opportunities.

*At the time of writing, over half of the early bird spots have already been registered, so please act quick.


Would truly appreciate you sharing the above announcement:

  • with team members, colleagues, friends, family members etc.;
  • via any newsletters, blogs and / or communities;
  • through your online social media networks.

Thank you and hopefully see you there,!

Collidering On | Refocussing On The Creative Purpose

Crafting creative collisions elsewhere.

Tomorrow is my last day managing Collider, a programme which is transforming the city into an internationally recognised Smart capital.

In fourteen months the project has notched up *nearly 200 events with over 5000 attendees averaging quality rating of 4.2 and above (out of 5).

An epic piece of foundational work—developed from a standing start with no precedent—focussed on raising capabilities and literacies via a plethora of tech, creative and digital seminars, talks, roundtables, meetups, masterclasses, workshops etc.

Due to managerial changes and iterations of the original aim, my personal purpose and values no longer align, so the time has come to allow someone else steer the ship for the remaining Wellington City Council funded initiative.

Huge thanks to my previously line manager, the collaborative Jessica for her guidance and steerage, the partnership of Caitlin for her tireless enthusiasm and spirit, the superb colleagues and friends, Monique, Jeff and Petreece, plus the wider BizDojo whanau (and of course all the facilitators, speakers, stakeholders, partners etc which made this a pure adventure).

Onwards…


…towards manifesting my purpose to shape more creative collisions of and for incredible humans.

Will be amplifying the curatorial nature of my skill set plus the cross-sector translatorial aspects of my talents. In the first half of 2017, that means:

  • launching a curative service of exclusive conversations whilst building micro-networks of creativity;
  • continue to produce TEDxWellington which will be the fifth and biggest TEDx event in the capital;
  • forge an offer to serve as professional development for those seeking to improve both their public speaking skills and to understand deeply the power of kick-ass storytelling;
  • attend TEDFest in NYC;
  • liaise on other smart city-wide / internationally focussed related endeavours.

The aim as ever is to make folks think and / or smile.

Add value where I can.

And forever reach beyond my grasp.

*not included are the mentor sessions created by both the Step Up programme and the InformMe (probably at least doubling the amount of ‘events’ in the final number).

Culture Hive Digital Marketing Academy | Everything Is Beta

abraham-lincoln-axe-quote

Mentoring is never linear.

For the past three years I’ve been honoured to be mentoring ‘fellows’ from the cultural sector via the the Arts Marketing Association, Digital Marketing Academy.

Fellows are invited to devise, test, develop and share digital marketing experiments with the help of a leading digital specialist as their Mentor. The experiments are developed on real audiences in order to trial and adopt good practice and achieve new ambitions and perspectives in digital marketing.

Every year, I’ve been working with three fellows and although many experiments have seen fruition, like using printed flyers to promote digital offers, connecting schools with arts and cultural organisations online and using online data to drive digital efforts, the most important learning is that everything is beta.

Ideas don’t follow a neat, linear pathway to actualisation, there are just too many factors which influence things, like resources, time, other projects, literacies, organisational culture etc. Developing pathways to action is sometimes more about understanding deeply the causalities of the hurdles and / or clearing the route rather than walking them.

The two most common challenges facing the fellows during my time as mentor is that of capacity and expectations. The first relates to simple the amount of ‘other’ in the professional portfolio the mentee is juggling. Space for reflection let alone experimentation is rare so even being part of this initiative is a fantastic opening of potential. The latter is obviously an internal, softer set of attitudes which the organisation manifests. Again, another ongoing, sometimes abrasive hinderance to the intent of the projects, which is specific and is tackled by rephrasing or positioning the efforts in a digestible and values / outcomes based manner.

Without at least attempting to address these factors then experiments rarely gain deeper traction.

Put another way, the axe needs sharpening first.

Big thanks to my mentees this year: Rachel and Ryan from the digital team at Barbican Centre plus Helga who’s heading up the marketing team at Pavilion Dance South West.

PechaKucha Night Wellington | Hugs Are Currency

20 slides, 20 seconds per slide—lets hug it out!

On the bottom of my site for the past few years I’ve had the statement:

Around here, hugs are currency!

It’s a cute line although it’s also something I dearly believe in.

So, to the embrace the challenge and put together a talk on this for PechaKucha Wellington the other month was a pure joy.

Huge thanks to the organisers for trusting me with a rogue subject matter and hope you will learn the ROI of hugs, why they matter and how not to give a hug (plus also how to give a great one).

Minimalism: A Documentary | Challenge Consumerism, Live Intentionally

Love people, use things—the opposite never works.

On Saturday, 23 October 2010, I posted the first blog entry to my Declutter100 project, an attempt to take one hundred hours to explore minimalism.

Nearly two months later, a comment from a chap named ‘Josh (one half of the minimalists)’ started a conversation which transitioned into a friendship (including the other one as well).

The Minimalists have forged a movement and rallying cry towards a simpler and fuller life through their writings, talks and wonderful storytelling.

Last night I watched their documentary (finally, sorry guys) and was reminded again about how living intentionally, without forced consumption and expectations of ownership, increases the richness of the moment plus amplifies the essential experiences of human relationships:

How might your life be better with less? MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.

Watch the film although be prepared to have it question your habits, ideas of success and consumerist lifestyle.

Well done Ryan and Josh for this great achievement and thanks for doing what you do.

Speaking About Speaking | KiwiBank Internal Knowledge Cafe

HUGE thanks to Michelle and KiwiBank for filming and allowing me to share this presentation on ‘speaking with purpose.’

Twenty minutes, full of advice, sometimes contradictory and hopefully some useful.

It’s a concentration of learning from a decade of public speaking experience, what we do with our five/six week coaching course for TEDxWellington (which is where the presentation starts, after I showed the latest review video from the 2016 event) and some stuff borrowed (like an artist) from others.

What did I miss out? What do you agree / disagree with? What were the takeaways for you?

We were very privileged to have DK present to Kiwibank as part of our Knowledge Cafe series. His presentation highlighted tips and tricks for improving as a public speaker, and I was very impressed with both the presentation and his advice.

As someone that fears presenting, his tips provided easy yet elegant advice for how to overcome that fear.

I would unhesitatingly recommend DK for anyone that is looking for either a presenter, or a coach. His techniques are excellent and he is inspiring to work with.
Michelle Farrell, Knowledge Manager at KiwiBank


In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to secure some paid coaching work around public speaking. The first was a three half day sessions for a major production studio in the capital, the second with a science communicator sharpening her delivery and confidence, plus the latest is a set of one-to-ones with senior executives and public sector officers for an important NZ-based government-led symposium early next year.

Think it may be time I updated my website to include this in my offer to the world.

HATCH 2016 | Curating People, Creating Space And Crafting Engagement

#becauseofHATCH we find purpose.

I’ve just spent four days participating in HATCH.

Located this year at Moonlight Basin, deep in the Montana Rocky Mountains, a stunning setting with an elevation (7,000 feet) which matched the magnitude of experience.

hatch-lone-peak-rilke-quote

It was a delicious cacophony of hugs, conversations, hugs, challenges, hugs, inspiration, hugs, provocations, hugs, presentations, hugs, performances, hugs, exploration, hugs.

As a third time attendee, I still find it hard to describe: it’s an event of sorts, a space where mentorship and personal/professional development is rife. A tribal, enriching, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, expressive, dangerously optimistic place. Where it fails in fluidity it excels in impact, spurned on by the vast variety of the 150 curated souls.

There were diplomats, rappers, actors, app developers, inventors, sustainability champions, musicians, students, academics, makers, scientists, marketeers, film-makers, entrepreneurs, dancers etc all openly sharing, hungry for collaboration, being present.

The long and full days are littered with immensely powerful stories offered through presentations and unique performances, workshops driving deep questions like ‘what is your intent?’ coupled with sessions to truly play and create, accompanied with relaxed evening activities and an abundance of opportunities to simply converse and connect. These layers provide a richness which resonates beyond the traditional event format to create a community of shared experience that endures.

I’ve learned over my three visits that my favourite and most important thing to do at HATCH is to listen.

There is a copious amount of legacies being built for those who take notice and new pathways being treaded lightly or with barbaric servitude (a first time for many). These are extremely talented people who are shaping their future in the open, raw, honestly and with encouragement.

HATCH is a unique place which gives permission and provides the support to start/continue/stop (depending on where you are).

We were offered a fantastic lexicon to explore around ‘intent’ and ‘purpose’, whilst also being challenged to decipher our ‘ask’ and ‘offer’ to not only those in attendance, but also to the world.

It’s a new model for mentorship based on designing a space and time to cultivate relationships, which manifests trust through shared narratives (a forgotten element in creating deep and lasting change).

And as the event continues to mature and polish it’s rougher edges, the brilliance has always been in the people curation (as it’s invite only and deliberated through the lens that is Yarrow Kraner, founder / organiser who understands magnificently that if you bring a group of fantastic souls together, you can trust in their ability to add value to each other).


What I learned

Listening is an art.

Better questions really do exist.

Curation + purpose + space + time = impact.

Be bolder and don’t shy away from your voice.

Your worth is amplified when adding value to others.


Thanks

There are too many to mention although HUGE thanks to the organisers, facilitators, performers, sponsors, volunteers and all the HATCHlings who hugged me, shared their story and listened to mine.

Together, we’re hatching a new world:

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things
To dance and love and be apart
To hug and hold those around you
Fill your soul with the life of others
Embrace your place in life through your soul
Challenging more and more tomorrow.

hatch-poem

Deep thanks to BizDojo for contributing to the costs of this trip.

Past posts / HATCHs: HATCH 2014 and HATCH 2013

hatch-drone

Vulnerability As An Act Of Creativity | The Project 2016

project16 DK naked

Going naked (image credit).

The theme for The Project 16 this year was Creativity in Business and Beyond. Hosted at Auckland University of Technology, the speaker lineup was superb along with the topics tackled, plus insights shared.

After weeks of reflection on the topic I settled on the idea that creativity is an act of vulnerability. With this in mind, it was my intention to illustrate and demonstrate this rather than just talk about it. I decided to ‘go naked’ and present with no notes, slides or cheeky little stuff written on my arms / hands.

Listen to my ten minutes talk:

The silence after I am introduced by my brilliant pal Michelle Dickinson aka nanogirl is intentional—keep listening.

I had several stories to tell to demonstrate my point although the final three were chosen minutes before I went on to ensure they complimented and did not duplicate existing points made by the previous speakers. It was everything you’re taught not to do as a speaker and as you’ve heard, a mistake was made, and the final story was plucked from the recesses of the brain.

Lessons have been learned and there’s a hunger to explore more opportunities to experience this method and a desire to be able to use it more confidently. HUGE thanks to The Project 16 for allowing me to share and participate plus respect to my fellow speakers as gained so much from their talks as well.

project16speakers

“DK is an early adopter of new trends, technologies and techniques as well as a social risk-taker. As a presenter at this years AUT Project 2016, DK gave a very insightful talk about vulnerability, purposely w/o any audio-visual media support. DK’s presentation underscored how difficult it is to put oneself out there clearly, and with purpose, in order to achieve one’s objectives while simultaneously generating proactive outcomes. DK’s talk was most inspirational and I’d recommend him as a speaker at other conferences or events where an outlier perspective would help an audience better understand traditional ideas by stepping out of their usual day-to-day point of view.”
Hal Josephson, Program Chair for Project16

Special thanks to Hal for the invite to speak plus appreciation to BizDojo for the permission / allowance.

Image credit

Connecting, Collaborating, Converging | Activating Smart City Projects

Crafting collisions.

On November 21st 2015, PM John Key launched the three year Wellington City Council funded Collider activation programme, which focusses on transforming the city into an internationally recognised smart city.

This is what I’ve been spending the last nine months managing.

The programme website was launched mid January so the whole initiative has had about a six month stint and as the council funding year runs from July to June, we celebrated the first year this week.

In that time the initiative has:

  • hosted 124 events
  • had 3,209 curious attendees
  • averaged 21 events per month (our KPI is 15)

The rest of stats can be found in this handy to read and downloadable infographic:

Collider 1st Year Infographic

The true excitement which is brewing is building on the momentum into year two with a mandate to explore more smart city focussed options. The programme will continue to support existing meetup groups and activities plus run masterclasses, workshops, roundtables etc, although know we have the encouragement to explore new ideas.

All this and more we announced and featured the other night in this Collider blog post.

As we launch into year two, the video above repositions our efforts firmly in the wider city context and highlights the aim to connect, collaborate and converge (our three strategic pillars).

This is just a beginning.

It feels like I’m just starting to get warmed up…