All posts in talks

Eagle Labs | Activating Latent Resources

A bank who does co-working / maker-spaces / incubating / mentoring.

Due to online and mobile banking, the use of branches is in decline. So if you run a business which own an array of centrally located urban real estate nationally, what do you do?

Well, Barclays UK (in collaboration with a couple of other folks) have launched Eagle Labs, an experiment in activating their latent spaces and making them available to the startup community as incubators whilst wrapping around supportive services as well.

With nine locations across the UK, it’s a great start to an intriguing project:

eagle labs why

Was wonderful to be able to visit Eagle Labs Brighton a few days ago and deliver a session plus spend some time advising some of the fantastic startups in the space:

DK at Eagle Labs Brighton

DK gave a brilliant keynote at the Eagle Lab Flight Programme for me where I am Creative Director. The programme is an accelerator run By Creative England in partnership with Barclays UK and their Eagle Lab Programme.

He delivered and inspiring talk with slides and resources for the companies on the programme at the Eagle Lab in Brighton UK on April 21st 2017. Having known and worked with DK at previous events I have run it was great to have him in person in the room with the businesses and clients. The keynote was on “putting the social back into social media” – and with a strong focus on authenticity and voice and remembering that the ‘audience has an audience’ too. Thanks DK – here’s to the next collaboration.
Marcus Romer

A superb example of an organisation needing to diversify, repurposing their latent resources (instead of simply selling them off) to add value to a community whilst still ensuring alignment with a potential customer base.

Here’s a silly man being scared by an eagle:

NetSquared Wellington Unconference | Giving Is Receiving

Participatory learning.

Originally, I intended to be a simple paid-up attendee of the NetSquared Wellington Unconference last week (Fri 10 February 2017).

Soon after registering the organiser reached out to invite me to say a few ‘inspirational’ words at the beginning. With the theme of “networking technology for social change” definitely lighting my fire it was an easy yes, however, leading three social media sessions and one on creating videos on your mobile phones sessions later, being a simple attendee was somewhat scuppered.

As with all good unconferences, the agenda is never set with the participants defining the events content. Switching mindsets early on and being open to offer as much as to take from these community focussed affairs certainly increased my enjoyment, plus the conversations provoked by the sessions definitely added to my knowledge / understanding.

Huge thanks to the organisers and sponsors of the event. Volunteering, attending and supporting such initiatives is so important in building informed communities of practice from which good things always are born.


“When I asked DK to share some insights about what he’d learned from running TEDXWellington at our community unconference, his answer was a very quick yes. His opening words really set everyone up for the day in terms of creating an atmosphere where people were willing to freely share. The well chosen stories gave people confidence to take a leap into the unknown. From there, many participants, probably two thirds, took the opportunity to join a impromptu session DK ran. It was a delight to have DK involved in our day, something I hope we are able to do again.”
Stephen Blyth, Organiser, NetSquared Wellington

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).

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.

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

There And Back Again | Rounding The World

amelia earhart adventure quote

Delivering some kick-ass gigs whilst adventuring for AMA, BBC, Hasbro and The Friday Institute.

“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.”Amelia Earhart

A couple of months ago I returned from a six week (felt longer) round-the-world adventure via Singapore, UK, Ireland, USA and back to NZ—an intense trip of family, reunions, love, illness, meetups, tragedy, reconnections, friendship, plus the following gigs:

Arts Marketing Association Annual Conference

Was the closing keynote for the three day Arts Marketing Association annual conference in Birmingham to 650 arts and cultural folks. Also did a panel on ’embedding digital experimentation’—good times:

Bringing the biggest AMA Conference to date to a close, DK delivered an absolute blinder of a keynote. Of course we knew he would—that's why we asked him to do this particularly important job!

Our theme was “Stay Curious” and DK urged and inspired us to think and do differently: To use social not just for marketing but to create uniting explosions of wonder; to seek not just improvement but innovation – embracing disruption, failure and risk; to consider all three ROIs (Return on Investment; Ripple of Impact & Risk of Ignoring); to adopt the number one social media strategy – comment on other people's content; to think about our audiences' audiences. DK was a total hit with our delegates and ended the conference on a real high.”
Jo Taylor, Chair of the Board for Arts Marketing Association

BBC Wales Internal Innovation Staff Lunchtime Sessions

Every month the BBC Wales innovation team sets up an internal staff lunchtime session to hear from three speakers (each getting 10 minutes to speak on their chosen topic). Was humbled to be given all three spots to share my thoughts on social media and digital innovation.

Afterwards, I got invited to be a judge on the Welsh Media Awards (specifically focussed on online):

What a thought provoking and entertaining presenter! DK delivered three superbly succinct talks for us, helping inspire staff here at BBC Wales and give them a glimpse of where we should be going on Social Media.
Robin Moore, Head of Innovation & Connected Studio, BBC Wales

Hasbro Social Media Days

Created and facilitated a two day off-site for the innovation and wider supporting team to explore developing a social media strategy for a new initiative. A mashup of design thinking and my own brand of discovery and exploration created an intense and challenging (in all the right ways) experience:

“DK crafted and facilitated a two-day off-site for a cross-departmental group of folks to explore the digital and social media opportunities / consequences of a new initiative. He steered the discussion and activities superbly, sensitive to the levels of literacies whilst igniting the latent talent in the room to a great set of outcomes.”
Phil Sage, Senior Director : Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations, Hasbro

North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network

Keynoter for a two day event plus did a workshop on digital curation for the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network in Raleigh, organised by the wonderful The Friday Institute:

“DK recently spoke at an event we held in Raleigh, North Carolina where he was well received by all who attended. Prior to the event, DK spent time talking with the planning team to identify the needs of the audience to make sure that he would meet the needs of the participants. His presentation style was engaging and fast-paced and he took time to answer questions from participants afterwards. DK is a wealth of knowledge and a great presenter!”
Nancy Mangum, Digital Learning Lead, The Friday Institute


Always grateful for the opportunities to collaborate with amazing people who are passionate and good at their core.

Sandbox Summit 2015 Closing Keynote | Getting MIT Dancing

As the closing keynote speaker for Sandbox Summit 2015, I wanted to go out on a high.

The above was me taking a chance with the understanding I might not ever get another chance to speak at the prestigious MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

What the client thought (although feel free to form your own opinion from the above):

“DK’s closing keynote for Sandbox Summit at MIT had everyone standing on their feet and dancing. As usual, he struck just the right balance of intelligence, imagination, and inspiration.”
Wendy Smolen, Cofounder, Sandbox Summit

An another view of the end:

Please watch some of the other fantastic talks from the Sandbox Summit 2015 conference.

Related post: What Does It Mean? | The Role Of The Interpreter / see other talks

CatalystCreativ Wysdem Talk | Can Wisdom Be Designed?

Exploring a model for systemising wisdom.

In March I got to both attend and speak at Catalyst Creativ Week, Las Vegas, which was founded in 2012 in partnership with Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project.

As you’ll watch, the subject was nothing to do with social media, instead, my long overdue and yet-to-be-launched moonshot project exploring can wisdom be designed, wysdem.com.

The official line (although please judge for yourself above and leave any thoughts / guidance / ideas you have in the comments):

“DK was an engaging speaker at CatalystCreativ’s March Catalyst Week Showcase. He drew the audience into his talk with his research on how wisdom plays into systems and held their attention by posing important and thoughtful questions on this discussion. In his talk, he explored how wisdom plays into individual responsibility so that we can better understand how it plays into the systems around us.”
Evelyn Sabino, Communications & Events Manager at CatalystCreativ

Check out the other magnificent talks from the event as well, some gems in here:

Related post:What Does It Mean? | The Role Of The Interpreter

What Does It Mean? | The Role Of The Interpreter

A Richard Feynman lesson in cultivating and connecting curiosity.

An interpreter goes beyond translating and connects the relevance for each party with wider contextualising viabilities. The role exists to drive fascination into the heart of the conversation and activity which in turn ignites the potential and awe (thank you Mr Silva) into the possible.

For nearly a decade this is what I’ve been attempting: interpreting the new and emerging technologies and platforms into wonder and relevant context for each audience / client. With the emergence of curation as a skill set, the ability to extend the conversation and apply situational probabilities is becoming a differentiator.

(And loving being reminded how again process is more important than product in the above video.)


Recently I’ve had the good fortune to dive deeper into this role as a conscious interpreter through the following gigs:

Keynote speaker and workshop taker at IntegratED, Portland

“If you are looking for someone to engage your audience with authentic stories, reflection and laughter then DK is your guy! He doesn’t just speak to your participants he immerses himself in your conference, which makes his “social” message grow 10 fold in the hearts and minds of your community.”
Darren Hudgins, Director of Integrated Events, OETC

Digital strategy advisor / facilitator for IBI Group, Portland / San Fransisco

“DK has been helping us think through vital futures for IBI Group. He asks the right questions, guides us towards solutions and most importantly is a deep listener. DK makes it about us, not about him and you couldn’t find a more important quality in a facilitator and consultant.”
Charles Finley, Global Director for Marketing and Communications

Creative consultant / advisor plus speaker in Missoula, Montana

“We had the honor of hosting DK at a series of events in Missoula, Montana (a round table master class, a public presentation for a couple of hundred folks, and a University specific presentation.) Each program was exceptionally tailored for that audience. DK was brilliant, warm and inspiring.”
Elke Govertsen, CEO and Founder of Mamalode Magazine

“DK brings a fresh and powerful perspective on social media that helps you see the big picture and then figure out what it means for you. Working with DK is stimulating, practical and above all fun!”
Paul Gladen, Director, Blackstone LaunchPad, University of Montana

UPDATE: Watch the video of the talk here

Closing keynote speaker at Sandbox Summit, MIT, Boston.

“DK’s closing keynote for Sandbox Summit at MIT had everyone standing on their feet and dancing. As usual, he struck just the right balance of intelligence, imagination, and inspiration.”
Wendy Smolen, Cofounder, Sandbox Summit

Consultant at Hasbro, Providence, Rhode Island

“DK brings a new level of depth and perspective to how social media affects business and business building, how and why it impacts, focusing on core issues, generating tangible and growth strategy solutions.”
Phil Sage, Hasbro

Attendee / speaker at Catalyst Week and Creativ Week, Las Vegas, founded in 2012 in partnership with Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project

UPDATE: WATCH my talk here

“DK was an engaging speaker at CatalystCreativ’s March Catalyst Week Showcase. He drew the audience into his talk with his research on how wisdom plays into systems and held their attention by posing important and thoughtful questions on this discussion. In his talk, he explored how wisdom plays into individual responsibility so that we can better how it plays into the systems around us.”
Evelyn Sabino, Communications & Events Manager at CatalystCreativ

Speaker / advisor at New Canaan Library and Darien Library, Connecticut

“DK’s high energy, intellectually stimulating presentation to our combined teams has really resonated with all of us. Many of my leadership team commented that it was the best professional learning experience that they had attended in many years. Our entire team enjoyed and learned. DK’s presentation has sparked all manner of continuing conversation on how we engage with our community and is impacting on our work programme already.”
Lisa Oldham, Executive Director, New Canaan Library, Connecticut

new canaan library crowd

Brainpickings video hat-tip

Why I Love Public Speaking | Thinking Out Loud

Wellington Young Professionals Image

For some people it’s what they fear most. For me, it’s where some of my best thinking occurs.

Yesterday I spoke to 30 young professionals on social media and personal branding—an attempt to advocate for using social to build pedigree which sustains and moves with them.

My speaking preparation style is counter to most (don’t practise or have a script or write out bullet points) although it works for me and manifests two very important things:

  • the talk becomes more of a ‘conversation’ not a rehearsed lecture;
  • forces me to construct improvised value based on the audiences needs with the stories being shared.

In this loose and open approach, new concepts are created and interesting ways of presenting or mashing up old ideas occur. Some, are remembered which then form new blog posts or strategic leads. Others are luckily recorded by the tweets of those in attendance (here are just three of my favourite takeaways from the session):

"Blogs are great for metacognition: even if no one reads them, think of them as training your brain to contribute meaningfully" @justadandak

— Shadoe Stone (@shadoesuzanna) November 18, 2014

Damn, that’s a pearl!

So many folks want popular blogs and a readership which validates their effort although in the beginning the process of finding a true authentic voice is far more important than that.

"The currency of online is attention, not clicks" – I like that. Thanks @justadandak and @WellingtonYP for the social media tips!

— Katie Kenny (@kennykatie) November 18, 2014

I like it also.

So much so I added it to the image above (image credit).

Building credible and deep relationships should be the aim not the figures (see Social Media Is Dead | The Marketeers / Advertisers Are Taking Over).

"We are our own gate keepers, we now choose what media we consume, so we must be our own curators" #WYPseries with @justadandak

— WYP (@WellingtonYP) November 18, 2014

Ah the importance of curation as an emerging skillset as a way to combat the saturation and dilution of the signal.

It’s a shame there’s such a small event and speaking scene here in New Zealand. Although come the end of February I’ll be revisiting North America for several opportunities to get back on that stage to think out loud.


Huge thanks to the Wellington Young Professionals for the opportunity to speak:

A huge thank you to DK for his engaging and thought-provoking workshop yesterday. Not only did he open our minds, challenge our understanding and perceptions of social, and dare us to be digital curators, but we’re all heading out to make moleskin pen holders, and feature them on our new blogs!
Behold the new wave of social media users.

Alexis Trevethan, Vice President, Wellington Young Professionals

Other talks