Get Shouty

vote. be in it.
May 23, 2016, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Activist, Zeitgeist

have you copped this bloke on the telly?
interrupting me favourite show
talkin tax cut not favorin’ the many?
reminds me of someone I know
not that I’m against fiscal-ly fitness
don’t get me wrong on that score
I could watch all them rich blokes forever
explain no tax cuts to the poor
and I’m not against helping the many
cripes if they was to go on the blink
the rich’d have no earning interests
it certainly makes a bloke think
now it’s true throats get squeezed when they’re talking
not that they’ve done more so of late
and it’s true they’ve put aside Tone-on
but this close to voting it’s bait
so what if we can’t save the climate
so what if we can’t afford homes
I can remember what most of them look like
so there’ really no need have those
so when this bloke says Stong new economy
Economy he says on TV
I give him  nod and change channels
Cause I know he’s not talking to me

Enrol to vote – Australian Electoral Commission

the Inigo Montoya problem
February 23, 2016, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Get Activist, Innovation, Service Design | Tags:


Well, good folk, there’s nothing on earth 

Like a genuine, 

Bona fide, 

Billion dollar, 

Ideas boom.


What’d I say? 


What’s it called? 


That’s right! Innovation!

[crowd chants `Innovation’ softly and rhythmically] 

I hear those things can make us proud 

Don’t you build it in the cloud?

What about us brain-dead slobs? 

You’ll be given cushy jobs. 

Were you sent here by the devil? 

No, good sir, I’m on the level.  

I swear it’s Australia’s only choice… 

Throw up your hands and raise your voice! 

All: Innovation!

What’s it called? 

All: Innovation!

Once again… 

All: Innovation!

But your  pathway seems seems quite frail and broken… 

Sorry, ma’am, the mob has spoken! 

Innovation! Innovation! Innovation!

[big finish] 


Homer:Inno… D’oh!

the trick of truth and trust
May 25, 2015, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Get Activist | Tags: ,

There’s a notion I’m trying to catch in my trampoline mindscape of quotes and collectibles that’s hiding in the spaces between truth and trust. It was prompted by Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

As a truth seeker and trust builder I find this both perplexing and intriguing.

Love Ken Burns. He tells the truth. His work makes me cry. Probably not the work you may think –The National Parks: America’s Best Idea makes me lose it. And I love it. The video above is a snippet from a short documentary about the craft of storytelling, where he explains his lifelong mission to wake the dead:

You know the common story is one plus one equals two, we get it. But all stories are really, the real genuine stories, are about one and one equaling three. That’s what I’m interested in.

We live in a rational world where absolutely we’re certain that one and one equals two, and it does. But the things that matter most to us, some people call it love, some people call it God, some people call it reason, is that other thing where the whole is greater than the some of its parts, and that’s the three.

Jean Luc Goddard said cinema is truth 24 times a second. Maybe. It’s lying 24 times a second too, all the time, all story is manipulation. Is there acceptable manipulation? You bet. People say oh boy, I was so moved to tears in your film. That’s a good thing? That was, I manipulated that. That’s part of storytelling. I didn’t do it dis-genuinely, I did it sincerely, I am moved by that too, that’s manipulation. Truth is we hope a byproduct of the best of our stories and yet there are many, many different kinds of truths and an emotional truth is something that you have to build.

This is the phrase that leapt out at me, the bit about how story can be a reassuring vehicle of truth and connection about one of the hardest things that we all have to deal with- our mortality:

We have to keep the wolf from the door, you know, we tell stories to continue ourselves. We all think an exception is going to be made in our case and we’re going to live forever, and being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be, story is there to just remind us that it’s just okay.

My brain made a leap to this interaction from So long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams

“Do you want to have a good time?” said a voice from a doorway. “I have a very special service for rich people …”

“Oh yes?” said Ford, intrigued but careful. And what’s that?”

“I tell them it’s OK to be rich.”

I want to be a champion of enabling the ability to perceive the truth, to feel it, to be moved by it and to be transformed by it. I need to find a way to craft a “tell” so that my audiences can read the difference between “a truth” (story) and “the truth” (fact/proof). But mostly a signifier to say that it’s OK. It’s OK to trust. It’s OK it to change.

 “You what?” he said. The girl laughed and stepped forward a little out of the shadow. She was tall, and had that kind of self-possessed shyness which is a great trick if you can do it.

“It’s my big number,” she said. “I have a Master’s degree in Social Economics, and can be very convincing. People love it. Especially in this city.”

share a bit of the light to those that need it most
September 28, 2010, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Get Activist

It’s very easy to forget how privileged I am.

Recently I sat in my father’s kitchen in Mexico defending against the idea that the world is a darker and crueller place.

I had to laugh. I’d travelled across continents alone to be there, stopping along the way to have my voice heard and opinions sought. For me it isn’t dark.  I have economic, intellectual, sexual and social freedoms not afforded to almost the entirety of womankind ’till now. But that only means that I have the responsibility to share a bit of the light to those that need it most.

I vividly remember my mother having to get my Dad to co-sign the loan on her first business. As a result every Kiva loan I have supports a woman in the developing world trying to support her family by her skills brought to fruition through having access to a sewing machine.

‘Because I am a Girl’ is Plan’s global campaign designed to fight gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty. Across the globe, girls are at the bottom of the social ladder, deprived of the same opportunities as boys. For example,research has shown that girls are more likely to suffer from malnutrition; be forced into an early marriage; be subjected to violence or intimidation; be trafficked, sold or coerced into the sex trade; or become infected with HIV.

The campaign is based on a series of reports titled Because I am a Girl: The State Of The World’s Girls. To be published between2007–2015 from Plan International, these reports examine the rights and needs of girls throughout their childhood, adolescence and as young women – and how they are uniquely placed to break the cycles of intergenerational poverty gripping many people in developing countries.

Six of the eight Millennium Development Goals – the goals set by the world’s governments in 2000 to halve world poverty by 2015 – are unlikely to be achieved unless there is a greater international commitment to the fight against gender discrimination.Plan recognises that we have to address gender discrimination as a priority if we want to tackle the root causes of child poverty.Therefore we have made the commitment to ‘address gender inequality and the numerous ways in which the rights of girls and women are particularly denied and violated’ (Plan Program Framework, 2009–2013). This is the focus of the ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign and will better enable Plan to achieve our overall mandate as a child-centred community development organisation, committed to child poverty eradication and all children accessing their rights.

You can download the 2010 Because I am a Girl report, ‘Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape’

You can find out how to support Because I’m a Girl here

And you can remember. You can be aware that the ease and access you enjoy now was built by the strength and sacrifice of generations before you. You can’t repay them but you can acknowledge your debt by lighting bridges of hope, access and equality for others. Shiny.

write something good
July 10, 2010, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Activist, Great Stuff

Austin Kleon’s  TEDxPennQuarter talk is centered around a flowchart that compares his own publishing journey with what he was taught in college was the traditional route of becoming a published author. Looking at the chart, it strikes you that no matter what route you take, everything always comes back to the simplest beginning:

Write something good.

I’m the hugest fan…as he says: Keep making things.

life’s crowning glory
June 28, 2010, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Activist

Jack Thompson- could your delivery or timing be any better?

the future I might aspire to- the past I remember with pleasure

life’s crowning glory is the here and now

I saw this powerful video at the FastBreak:are you alone ? session – it’s part of the  Stories are Everything Project, which includes a mobile space to view and record real stories.

Developed by  Sophie Weldon, the founder of Youth for UNHCR and one of two Special Youth Representatives for Australia. She’s also a resident at the Vibewire Enterprise Hub.

The surprising truth about what motivates us
May 31, 2010, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Experience, Get Activist

Recently Wired had Clay Shirky and Daniel Pink sit down for a conversation about motivation and media, social networking, sitcoms, and why the hell people spend their free time editing Wikipedia.

I’m a huge Shirky fan, but of particular interest to me was the Wired contributing editor and the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. I love Pink’s thinking about the power of the three drives that can be utilised in the workplace : Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, and I’m also pretty sweet on the RSA Animate series that has brought it to life in the presentation above

Here’s a bit of the interview transcript:

Pink: We have a biological drive. We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty, have sex to satisfy our carnal urges. We also have a second drive—we respond to rewards and punishments in our environment. But what we’ve forgotten—and what the science shows—is that we also have a third drive. We do things because they’re interesting, because they’re engaging, because they’re the right things to do, because they contribute to the world. The problem is that, especially in our organizations, we stop at that second drive. We think the only reason people do productive things is to snag a carrot or avoid a stick. But that’s just not true. Our third drive—our intrinsic motivation—can be even more powerful.

Pink: Both of us cite research from University of Rochester psychologist Edward Deci showing that if you give people a contingent reward—as in “if you do this, then you’ll get that”—for something they find interesting, they can become less interested in the task. When Deci took people who enjoyed solving complicated puzzles for fun and began paying them if they did the puzzles, they no longer wanted to play with those puzzles during their free time. And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm.

Shirky: You talk about the laws of behavioral physics working differently in practice from what we believe in theory.

Pink: Yes, often these outside motivators can give us less of what we want and more of what we don’t want. Think about that study of Israeli day care centers, which we both write about. When day care centers fined parents for being late to pick up their kids, the result was that more parents ended up coming late. People no longer felt a social obligation to behave well.

I think that the fundamental premise that organisations that link purpose and profit motives are more innovative and have greater long-term financial sustainability is a powerful one. Everybody needs to win when we’re designing what business goals looks like. Customers, employees and shareholders. And not a token ribbon for participation either. Everyone needs to feel like a winner, feel like they’ve backed one and are part of a winning team.

Time for some Seth Godin and his Simple five step plan for just about everyone and everything:

1. Go, make something happen.

2. Do work you’re proud of.

3. Treat people with respect.

4. Make big promises and keep them.

5. Ship it out the door.

When in doubt, see #1

Tanks for your support
April 27, 2010, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Get Activist, Great Stuff

I wrote a piece a while back, ‘user pays’, that explored how artists can now use technology to directly pay for their work. This would seem to be a good thing and an example where you can put  ‘good business’ into practice. You are the client when you consume art/content/stuff that someone else/an artist/musician has made.  You expect to be paid for your work why shouldn’t artists?

It cause quite a bit of commentary:

How many artists have kids and a mortgage?? If it is an ‘artist’ – truly – then demographic stereotypes are shifty and illusory

Comment by lucy November 24, 2009

artists aren’t demographic stereotypes they’re people

I think the point might be: why shouldn’t artists have kids and mortgages? Why shouldn’t productive, creative, innovative people producing work that people want be able to have an income that provides a sustainable lifestyle?

Comment by katiechatfield November 25, 2009

I still find it amazing that people who are highly principled and who are champions of all kinds of social justice might not think about their  boundaries when it comes to making art sustainable.
Information Is Beautiful has produced an eye-opening chart (How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? ) that explains just how many units (digital, physical or streaming plays) that a musician would need to sell to earn the US monthly minimum wage of $1,160.
Love micropayments – but nanopayments? LastFM pays $0.005 per play. As music lovers: where are our boundaries for this new kind of serfdom to music distributors?
Jen Bekman was recently named one of the most influential women in technology, and has not only some interesting things to say about this, she’s created something that can allow us all to put our hands in our pockets to support the artists we like and help us be proud of liking art and wanting it in our lives. In 2007 she  launched 20×200, an online gallery selling artist editions, with some prints starting at only $20. It’s  taken both the art world and the tech world by storm: Since its launch more than 65,000 prints have been sold. She spoke to Fast Company about  defining boundaries:

I was on the phone with a dealer who’d reached out to me about some kind of business proposal. At the end of the conversation I thanked him and said that it was a nice change of pace to have someone reach out to me, because most dealers haven’t exactly been receptive to what we’re doing. And he said, “Are you kidding? I fucking hated what you were doing when I first heard about it. I thought it was horrible and bad for the art world. But the more I looked at what you were doing and how, I realized that it’s the future of the business.” That was awesome.

I want everyone to collect art. I want people to be embarrassed if they don’t have a collection that they’re proud of and can talk about. Because that means that their homes will be happier, and that artists are being supported on a grand scale which will make for a better society. And I believe it’s the first time in history that it’s possible.

I’m looking forward to seeing how projects like  Fundbreak might seed a little change here. It’s a  crowdfunding platform developed for artists, musicians, filmmakers, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs, inventors to raise funds and give the project creators the break they need to realise their goals and aspirations.

Again it will mean that artists will be asking you to fund art. Until then: maybe it’s time for a boundary check. How much does art contribute to your life? And how much are you willing to pay to keep it?

the Robin Hood tax
February 17, 2010, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Get Activist

The ad is written by Richard Curtis and stars Bill Nighy.

A British coalition of charities and unions has launched a campaign The Robin Hood tax for a tax on speculative banking transactions.

The ‘Robin Hood Tax’ targets financial institutions who were bailed out using public money during the global financial crisis.

The idea is to direct the money to public services, poverty relief and addressing climate change.

For an Australian perspective you can listen to ABC’s Life Matters program which interviewed Max Lawson, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam U.K and Professor Neil Warren from the Australian School of Taxation, University of New South Wales. They have a chat about it here.

I’d have to agree: Not complicated. Just brilliant.

Take care out there
February 3, 2010, 3:05 am
Filed under: Get Activist, Great Stuff

We just forget how much we mean to people.

We forget how vulnerable and precious we are.

And yet I love how much this notion moves us and how powerfully we can express this without a word.

Take care out there everyone.

(thanks for that video Ze)

user pays
November 17, 2009, 7:27 am
Filed under: Get Activist, passion

I was out with some friends the other night and we were having a chat about licensing – and I was being pretty vigorous about supporting copyright holders in their efforts to make sure they got paid.

My thought is basically this:

When it’s your IP that someone else is making money off, you’ll understand

from why i am not afraid to take your money, by amanda fucking palmer:


artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.

please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.

dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.

we’re all very precious
September 3, 2009, 8:57 am
Filed under: Get Activist

I’m riding my bike to work. Usually in a frock and heels. It’s great.

And I just wanted to share it- the great feeling of getting the wind in your face every morning, the comradery and casual chats with other cyclists at the lights, the ‘good on yous’ from people in my apartment complex…but most of all I’ve felt a big hug from pretty much all my co-workers, my friends and my family who have gone out of their way to make sure that I’m safe- that I have lights, that I wear a helmet, that I stick to the bike paths.

We’re all in it together.

good ideas
May 25, 2009, 8:45 am
Filed under: Get Activist

At the 2009 PSFK Conference NYC, Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger shared a selection of his favorite environmentally positive, high-impact products, services, and people. Hyper Pecha Kucha style, with 60 powerful ideas helping to make the world a better place.

Magic beans
March 4, 2009, 6:45 am
Filed under: Get Activist

Armed with $500 worth of beans, two women founded a non-profit group in Denver in 1989 to empower impoverished women by teaching them workplace skills and providing jobs to the chronically homeless and unemployed. Their training opportunities have expanded dramatically over the years, and their annual operating budget has grown from $6,100 to over $1.5 million.

The Women’s Bean Project is a nonprofit organization that teaches job readiness and life skills for entry-level jobs through employment in a gourmet food production business. Women come with the goal of transforming their lives and moving toward self sufficiency.

SPENCER MICHELS: Now in its 20th year, the program employs 40 women each year who have been chronically unemployed and living in poverty. They make and package products such as soup, brownie mix, jelly beans, and salsas that are available in grocery stores in 40 states and over the Internet. But it’s not the food that makes this program a complete package, says executive director Tamara Ryan.

TAMARA RYAN: We’re not trying to make the best bean soup makers of America. What we’re trying to do is create an environment where we can teach basic job readiness skills, the idea that you have to come to work every day, and on time, and manage conflict in the workplace, and dress appropriately, and take direction.

But then also we find that that alone isn’t what helps women become successful. They’re lacking basic life skills — problem-solving, goal-setting, the ability to, when your child care falls apart, to fix that and then continue to go to work.

There’s a transcript and a streaming video micro documentary from Spencer Michels from PBS here.

Medicine for the soul*
December 21, 2008, 6:28 am
Filed under: Get Activist

My friend Scott Drummond has being having serendipitous book adventures quite recently. Books have come to him, found on the street, tucked into his frame of reference with notes saying: ‘please take me, please read me, please pass me on’. This has inspired a number of very invigorating conversations and interactions which I need to spend a little more time unpacking before I can still life them for you.

In the meantime I want to share a lovely example of compassion in action- Sarah Garnett’s “Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library”. Started in 2003, it now it puts books on the footpaths in the city and Manly and distributes to hostels and 15 shelters- about 1200 a week. This library wants nothing from it’s borrowers- the books are there for the taking and would seem to spread light where ever they go.

Here’s a story from their website from a fan:

I found the footpath librarywhile queueing up for dinner at JEF’s food van across the road on a wintery Tuesday night in 2007. I’d been a regular since 2004 when I was living in a shitty boarding house in Redfern with my son who’d just been released from Rozelle hospital.

A little while before I was living & working as a professional artist in a cosy mud brick studio on the outskirts of Melbourne. Things were looking up, I was starting to sell paintings, was in with a leading gallery & my health was good. I’d given up the part time teaching job that I’d done for over ten years & was determined to make my living as an artist. But that was then. In 2007 I was sneaking into my studio at night to sleep when I could. I was evicted from the studio for dossing there. In between I slept out or stayed in a shelter.

Throughout this time when I couldn’t paint I’d read & I’m grateful for the footpath library for sustaining me. Reading took my mind off my troubles & gave me a respite from the constant motion that that kind of life demands. The footpath library has been a saving grace. Apart from being down & out in Sydney I’ve been down and out in Paris and London with George Orwell, read about the homeless in Victorian London in Peter Ackroyd’s “London: A Biography”‘, discovered Proust in the Edward Eager Lodge, hung around seedy ports in the South Pacific with Conrad’s Lord Jim & reread one of my favorite books; Joyce Cary’s “The Horses Mouth” with its patron saint of destitute artists Gully Jimson. I read a book on the Lives of the Saints & felt both inspired & humbled. ” The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats” gave me the background on those writers , some of whom I’d read & vowed to read again one day. I wandered through Europe in the 50’s through the eyes of Lloyd Rees & his wonderful drawings and was glad I was sober after reading a biography of Charles Bukowski. Patrick Whites “Tree Of Man” made my troubles look pretty small & I learnt a little humility from reading the life of the Australian poet John Shaw Neilson. Things have picked up since then. I’ve got a cosy little room in Glebe & am painting the grounds of the old asylum my son was a patient in . I’ve got in with another gallery & even sold some work, there’s a survey show coming up in Melbourne later in the year & I’ll take a trip down for that. I’ve got a belly full of cabbage and ham soup & you can guess where I found the recipe for that old chestnut!

* Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men
November 4, 2008, 7:31 am
Filed under: Get Activist

In Australia, compulsory voting means that every Australian citizen (18 years or older) is required by law to enrol and vote.

Proponents of compulsory voting argue that voting is a civic duty comparable to other duties citizens perform, such as taxation, compulsory education and jury duty.

Our Electoral Commission puts the case like this:

• Opponents argue that it is an infringement of liberty to force people to vote, and that the ill informed and those with little interest in politics are forced to the polls.
• One argument against compulsory voting is that voting can be an onerous imposition on some citizens. Against this it has been stated that: ”All our voting system requires is for a voter to attend a polling booth and mark some papers as they wish, approximately once every three years. This does not seem to be an insurmountable burden to be part of a democracy”.
• Another argument is that both the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights refer to people’s rights to “freely chosen representatives”. It is then claimed that a “right” is something that a person posses and chooses to use, not something produced on demand.
• Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, states that “rights and freedoms” are subject to “duties to the community”, including the “just requirements of of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”.

So my friends in the States, I may be preaching to the converted but: Please vote.

UPDATE: I’m being interviewed on ABC radio tomorrow (6/11) about compulsory voting. What do you think about it? A good thing? A bad thing? What do you think Australia would be like without it?

The Hidden Cost of War
October 9, 2008, 4:40 am
Filed under: Get Activist

A brilliant piece of information design. A Good project

In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld estimated a war with Iraq would cost $60 billion. Five years later, the cost of Iraq war operations is more than 10 times that estimate. So what’s behind the ballooning figures? Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilme’s exhaustively researched book, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, breaks down the price tag, from current debts to the unseen costs we’ll pay for many years to come. RESOURCES: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict; War At Any Price? The Total Economic Costs of the War Beyond the Federal Budget. By the Joint Economic Committee;

Calling all entrepreneurs
October 7, 2008, 7:04 am
Filed under: Get Activist

The Idea Village, a non-profit created for innovators in New Orleans, is launching 504ward’s $100,000 Business Competition for entrepreneurs with ideas to retain young talent in New Orleans.

As some of you may remember, The Idea Village was Planning for Good’s first client. One of the ideas coming out of that experience was engaging national corporations and organizations in driving innovation to New Orleans. The Idea Village is now proud to report that Worldwide Partners and two teams Google employees have joined them to help launch this competition.

Check out this YouTube video for more info and please help spread the word:

Don’t forget The Idea Village mantra: “Trust Your Crazy Ideas.”

Everyday Heroism
August 27, 2008, 2:14 am
Filed under: Get Activist, Get Friendly

Heroism is an ideal as old as humanity. Who will be the heroes of the 21st Century? What is heroism in the digital age? These are a few of the questions that a new group of researchers are seeking to understand.

Everyday Heroism is designed to bring together the general public and scholars interested in this topic to explore what heroism is, who performs heroic acts, and why.

Heroism Survey
Asks people to help better understand what heroism is.

The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete.

If you are interested in participating, please click here.


The Banality of Heroism”
Zeno Franco & Dr. Philip Zimbardo (2007). Greater Good Magazine. (2MB pdf).

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Dr. Zimbardo’s new book and website by the same title.

For Goodness’ Sake. Essay for O Magazine, Dr. Zimbardo, April 2007. (.doc)

“Is Lei Feng (雷锋) Still a Modern Hero?: A Consideration of Heroic Action in the Context of Culture” Paper. Franco, Z.E., Pamlin, D., Langdon, M., Blau, K. & Zimbardo, P. For the 4th International Conference on Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy, Guangzhou, China

nobody need wait
August 22, 2008, 3:52 am
Filed under: Get Activist