All posts in think

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…

Crafting Creative Collisions | 100 Starts

100 Collider : cupcake view

Reflecting on activating a Smart city.

Last week we held the 100th event under my day job as manager of the city-wide activation programme Collider.

Each activation has been an opportunity to learn, explore plus move closer to a concept of how best serve the digital, creative and technological ecosystem and transform the city into a Smart capital.

This three year (Wellington City Council funded and BizDojo delivered) programme, is a bold attempt at raising the capability of a region.

As we near the end of the first year the time to reflect seems appropriate and here are some learnings:

  • variety is key—the usual sage-on-the-stage presentations is now mixed with seminars, workshops, masterclasses, roundtables, one-to-ones, mentoring etc, ensuring all tastes and learning styles are catered for. It’s also a trial of see what fits and sticks, plus what formats can be morphed and realigned with others;
  • reframing was important—originally, many were describing the piece of work as an umbrella although the quick reframe as a scaffold (supporting existing good projects and initiatives whilst filling in the gaps to create a broad foundation) made it more accessible. It was also gentler as there’s a huge amount of good work in the city and moving forward with humility has been crucial;
  • trying is better than not—as you can read from some of the highlighted choices in this blog post review, there’s been some fun goes at changing the offer. Merging disciplines and styles is always a step into the unknown although excited we had the opportunity to try;
  • capacity is the biggest issue—a four-day-a-week (which is what I negotiated before I start to ensure I can still produce the most creative TEDx event in the world), does not leave a lot of time other than nailing KPI’s (which we are with a little added on top). Reflection is still needed although the accepted transition into a more quality-versus-quantity mode has ignited the creative possibilities;
  • hidden impact—the softer side of running an activation programme is in the connections made, the conversations had, the thoughts sparked, the ideas inspired etc. The stuff incredibly hard to monitor or track, however, can be found in the stories shared back and the side chats had. It’s the fabric which builds communities of practice and the stuff which amplifies opportunities.

Here’s the next 100 and year two with an emphasis on audacious activations which make the world take notice.

bizdojo collider logo

Twitter Roundup #5 | Curating The Curated

tasty fruit

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. INTERESTING: @PodcastMotor is a complete podcasting production, editing & publishing service http://buff.ly/1XGHLMX -> emerging industries / Tweetmail link
  2. LISTEN to cofounder of @stanforddschool @bernie_roth sharing insights on How to Design a Life http://buff.ly/1Rl4wSR with @GAllenTC / Tweetmail link
  3. READ Belgian court orders @Facebook to stop tracking non-members (which it’s been doing for 5 years) https://t.co/onzpTX1ACg / Tweetmail link
  4. WATCH @PhilipSheppard create a musical masterpiece out of nothing at this years @C2Montreal http://buff.ly/1LkXIPL / Tweetmail link
  5. LISTEN Remembering Oliver Sacks from @Radiolab http://buff.ly/1MWs3Fs “the generosity of his curiosity” / Tweetmail link
  6. WATCH This is how to store human knowledge for eternity http://buff.ly/1OnkAmk via @BBC_Future -> one for @JasonSilva to riff off ;-) / Tweetmail link
  7. WATCH @jerrycolonna’s ‘Disappearing into the Fire:Surviving the #Startup Life’ http://buff.ly/1Nju7hn / Tweetmail link
  8. WATCH the last talk at this years @TEDTalks event by BJ Miller from @zenhospice http://buff.ly/1LECWel / Tweetmail link
  9. WATCH people react to being called beautiful http://buff.ly/1SylA8o -> so lovely / Tweetmail link
  10. WATCH The Story of Buckminster Fuller & the Union Tank Car Dome http://buff.ly/1NyGQuT / Tweetmail link
  11. WATCH another great offering from @TheeNerdwriter -> deconstructing @neilhimself’s Sandman: What Dreams Cost http://buff.ly/1NTBypt / Tweetmail link
  12. / Tweetmail link
  13. FREE from @nypl (thanks) 180,000 out-of-copyright photos, maps, letters etc http://buff.ly/1PTgp2r -> get remixing / Tweetmail link
  14. USE @fulltextrssfeed for getting around those who truncate their feeds http://buff.ly/1W26Xwd -> tweeted before but deserves another / Tweetmail link
  15. WATCH this amazing video essay from @AdamWestbrook about the struggle for art in a world obsessed with popularity https://t.co/blXMQjVD4L / Tweetmail link
  16. READ about biowearables via tattoo circuits http://buff.ly/1OIJ8GU / Tweetmail link
  17. DOWNLOAD 40,000 Works of Asian & American Art for free from @Smithsonian http://buff.ly/1OQq8DH / Tweetmail link
  18. LISTEN to @Calnewport talking about his new book ‘Deep Work’ http://buff.ly/1ORkNfW -> “focus is the new IQ” / Tweetmail link
  19. WATCH / READ 1st driverless bus trial on public roads in Netherlands http://buff.ly/1nEgvSQ / Tweetmail link
  20. DOWNLOAD 48million artworks, artefacts, books, videos & sounds from across Europe http://buff.ly/1Q0GwCk / Tweetmail link
  21. DOWNLOAD Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums http://buff.ly/1R5yvAJ / Tweetmail link
  22. WATCH ‘X-Ray Audio: The Documentary’ about bootlegging music on X-rays in USSR http://buff.ly/1Q0SX1t / Tweetmail link
  23. WATCH The Boy Behind The Burqa http://buff.ly/1RMaZox @AsifaLahore UKs first out Muslim Drag Queen @TheLostLectures / Tweetmail link
  24. READ London pigeons with tweeting pollution backpacks http://buff.ly/1pmyEoD / Tweetmail link
  25. WATCH & be inspired by Bhutan’s Prime Minister @TsheringTobgay’s http://buff.ly/1psBVDs / Tweetmail link
  26. WATCH The Next Rembrandt http://buff.ly/1Spr1EQ & marvel how science & technology can produce art / Tweetmail link
  27. READ The Wood Wide Web – trees can exchange large amounts of carbon via the their roots http://buff.ly/1WAwsH0 / Tweetmail link
  28. DOWNLOAD 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) -> thank you @davidrumseymaps http://buff.ly/1YGLSbk / Tweetmail link

Haven’t done this since November last year due to things like TEDxWellington and my new role.


Why am I doing this? Well I tweet some good stuff I find during my RSS adventures and online digital breadcrumb following, thought it be a good exercise to curate them.

Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

TEDxWellington 2016 | Trusting In Trust

TEDx experiences should be special.

The above was special. It was scary. And hopeful.

To be part of the TEDxWellington team who volunteered and put this together will remain a creative and significant high point in my life.

We started with an idea of trust which soon became a real action to be taken as more and more people (as part of building an event on this scale) had to be bought into the ‘inner circle’. Not one person let us down.

It was a year we intentionally stepped beyond our comfort zone, and:

  • sold out in 2minutes
  • tripled the amount of speakers / performer applications
  • doubled the livestream count
  • tripled the amount of volunteer applications
  • nailed something which has never been tried before with a TEDx event

Read about the other things we did in the TEDxWellington 2016 Review | The Story Of Trust blog post.

Oh and just wait till you hear what we got planned next year.

ADDENDUM 18.3.16: our little event got covered on the TEDx Innovations blog on ted.com.

2015 Review | Taking Stock, Switching Paths, Future Gazing

Recapping the year and welcoming the future.

In terms of gigs in 2015, the final total was 3 keynotes, 6 other talks, 2 workshops, 4 roundtables, 2 facilitations (totalling 6 days), 18 mentor sessions, 2 consults, and 2 MC gigs (R9 Accelerator and AnimFX).

Many of the above you can read about here and here—heartfelt thanks to all the clients for the opportunity to continue to learn and hone my craft.

There were some mammoth highlights professionally in terms of my own personal development and achievements, however, the challenge was always sustaining regular gigs from my base in Wellington, NZ.

As for my online efforts, a modest offering compared to previous years:

The last in the list is a post indicating where the majority of my days will now be focussed in 2016 (the rest of my time being split amongst TEDxWellington plus a personal pledge to recommit myself to punching again).

The new job takes me away from the specific social media sector and into a broader ‘smart cities’ and ecosystem development space. The long-term goal of which is threefold:

  1. have the City Council (who provide the funds both for the role plus operational budget), widen it’s commitment beyond the three years;
  2. for Wellington to start to attract global interest in terms of the work we’re doing, evidenced by web traffic, enquiries and invitations to share;
  3. make people smile and / or think.

Obviously, all of the above relies on demonstrating a causal link between the activities of the Collider programme and the more connected and effective creative, digital and tech city ecosystem. An audacious challenge, but then again, if we aren’t being audacious then what’s the point in turning up‽

Come at me 2016!

Activating An Ecosystem | Collisions, Connections, Collaborations

bizdojo collider logo

Changing tracks and prototyping a smart city programme.

I’m two months into a new role as Activation Manager for BizDojo, the largest co-working space in Australasia.

The post is funded by Wellington City Council and focuses on a programme called Collider:

Our purpose is to transform Wellington into an innovation capital and an internationally recognised Smart city by activating an effective creative, digital and technology ecosystem.

This basically means developing and delivering a series of event, activations and collaborations with existing service providers whilst also creating new opportunities as a way to fill the gaps between current operations.



Nestled in a vibrant and stimulating environment, surrounded by a kick-ass team who have collaboration as part of their DNA plus a community of ambitious residents, this is exciting opportunity to serve the city and hopefully add value in its continuing development as the creative capital of New Zealand.

The role came at a time I was considering opportunities overseas and against a growing tiredness of a decade in the social media sector. Making the decision to take the job was a commitment to the three year funded programme (success being the continuation and wider evolvement of such a venture due to its impact).

So it’s back to getting up every morning, putting on pants and going somewhere to do a job, and that feels good to me…

Twitter Roundup #4 | Curating The Curated

tasty pep flakes

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. Introducing the Citizen Equality Act of 2017 by @lessig : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  2. The British Library put 1 million images for up ‘re-use’ : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  3. Older people reacting to 3D printing : Youtube link / Tweetmail link
  4. From US Marine to Zen Monk : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  5. CH25 is a showcase of creators & innovators who are working to drive the world forward : Website link / Tweetmail link
  6. Mindfulness: From the monastery to the startup : Article link / Tweetmail link
  7. Why “follow your passion” is an astonishingly bad piece of advice : YouTube link / Tweetmail link
  8. NASA posts 8400 high-res Apollo mission pics in public domain : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  9. A zine to spark imagination : Website link / Tweetmail link
  10. 100 images for visual brainstorming : Slideshare link / Tweetmail link
  11. ‘Unicorns’ & ‘decacorns’ and the potential looming dot com bubble : Article link / Tweetmail link
  12. The Story Of Light from Bell Labs : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link

Why am I doing this? Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

Inventing Worlds In A Changing One | Creativity, Faith And Curiousity

Wisdom and insights from heavyweight creatives.

What a combination: Sir Jony Ive and J.J. Abrams interviewed by Brian Grazer. So many pearls here to chew on, digest and adopt.

The openness of Ive remembering his boss as someone who was focused on simplifying things to be beautiful, functional and good whilst championing the idea of craft and care to create superior utility. Love his highlighting the designers quest for being desperate in that care so others will sense it. Other gems include the challenge to how, when you create, you should learn from the things you worked on and the things you learned from the act itself. And finally, his sharing of how Steve Jobs taught him focus by asking: how many times have you said no today.

jony ive discerning quote

We are capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating.
Jony Ive

J.J. Abrams unpacks the creative process as asking the right questions along with having ferocious curiousity (something Ive also agrees with—see above). Abrams also advocates the concept of following your gut and not starting from a place of deconstructing other peoples work, rather, find a story which should exist and do that.

jj abrams creativity quote

Any act of creation is a leap of faith.
J.J. Abrams


What did you take away?