Yossi Ghinsberg


On Monday I was lucky to attend TEDxMelbourne – on the topic of The Great Unknown. Gee, it was a good conference, I’ve been to a couple of the Melbourne ones and I feel like they just get better and better. Big mad props to all the organisers, volunteers, speakers and Adam Spencer as MC.  I’ve spoken at other times about the importance of attending conferences and events that challenge your way of thinking so you can continue to evolve your professional practice. This is admittedly a long post, but with 12 speakers, it’s hard to truncate. I’ve gone through and noted the speaker and the gist of their talk (or what resonated with me) and what me might also translate to our change and communication practice. For more on the speakers, head to TEDxMelbourne. 



The great unknown topic relevance

Implications for how we do change better?

Rabbi Yaakov Glasman

Can’t have the privilege of technology without the responsibilities

As we progress further with technology will we forget to anchor ourselves to our core?

3 philosophical positions on motivation – pleasure (Freud), power (Nietzsche) & purpose (Frankl)

Community and connection is how we move into The Great Unknown

Have we considered the three different motivations in our change efforts?

Fleassy Malay

Has facial recognition blindness so every conversation is a great unknown.

Coping mechanism has been to wear a ‘mask’ of super friendly and open – irony is this distances her from connection.

By being open and vulnerable (I have a condition which means I can’t recognise you) has changed nature of interactions – more connection.

If change leaders are more open and vulnerable it will change the nature of their relationships with ‘followers’ (for the better)


Peter Xing

On transhumanism – using technology to increase longevity, intelligence and well being

This talk provided a lens on what is achievable in the future on technology and humans

If we used the lens of longevity, intelligence and well being can we use workplace technology to enhance the experience? How is transhumanism driving our future work?

Ass Prof Ronika Power

Ronika is a ‘death walker’ – death doula, death celebrant, death positivity activist.

Over time we have institutionalised and professionalised death and lost touch with feeling and accountability in the process

There is a lot to be learnt from previous civilisations on how to die a good death and die well

What is the legacy knowledge on the concept we are interested in that we are ignoring?

What did people use to say and do? Is there value in revisiting that?

Dr Lynne Kelly

How do previous cultures remember so much pre- literacy?

The study of orality.

Previous cultures have systems of aligning knowledge with place. Information is associated with landscapes.

If we want people to remember new information can we make more of landscape / physical place (case for off sites or doing sessions in places that are unique) – anchors better than the standard meeting room / town hall

David Boyar

Accountants are the great unknown because people don’t want to talk to them

Accountants won’t put themselves in public conversations as it is the great unknown

If they did and if we did talk to an accountant we would benefit.

What public conversations are happening (Yammer, Workplace) are you not stepping into and showing your value?

Penny Locaso

Fear is used to control when it could be used for a motivator

Fear is a lever to create the life you want to live

Anxiety and excitement are exactly the same neurologically except that excitement has a positive outcome

How can we tap into fear of changes and reframe as excitement?

Dr Lisa Harvey Smith


Through stars we understand history but also the future

In 3.8 B years the Milky Way will merge with Andromeda (MilkyMedia or AndroWay)

When we look at the constellations, we are looking at the same view that the Romans had thousands of years ago.

What do we see every day that connects us with legacy and will endure for the future?

Mark McCrindle

Reality is the future is unpredictable and exponential growth

What is most personal is most universal

We need to get comfortable with exponentialism

Josh Brnjac

Josh is a 16-year-old ‘school drop out’ who is the CEO of two companies. The talk however was on how he survived a suicide attempt at 13 (and done in spoken word poetry, which was really captivating). The key message was sometimes the question “what is it that you passionately hate” is easier to access than what is it you love to do. And that can be a motivating force for life I guess the take-away is to tap into the negative energy about the status quo. This doesn’t sit well with me. Neuroscience tells us pain as a motivator is short lived.

Yossi Ghinsberg

Yossi is the fellow that the movie Amazon was made about. He survived being lost in the Amazon with unbelievable hardships (not for the squeamish)

The naïve mind is the most powerful of all – if you don’t know that it is impossible, everything is possible

The forest teaches you that everything is connected

{spoiler} e.g. the fire ants poison was necessary to overcome the pain of ulcerated feet and walk to wear the helicopter would see him

Reality of world is abundance – competition cannot be eliminated when our lives depends on each other

Celebrate naivety?

Challenge the cynical

If you knew no different, what would you do?

Claire Ashman

Claire survived a cult and left with her 8 children

When faced with the great unknown, just move, movement is better than trying to work things out.

Be relentless in your questioning of why

Acts of kindness increase confidence in decision making

Stay Curious!

When people are trying new things, bolster the acts of kindness

Steve Sammartino

Steve is a serial entrepreneur and author.

Evolution can be understood through the progression of ages of the spear, seed, spanner and now silicon

Labour is no longer connected to location – but we have a jobs mindset that holds us back. If location and labour can be separated, do we really need to be employees – or do we just need income for what we do

Think about what the 10-year-old would say in response to a problem – that is when you are most creative and honest

Are we making assumptions about the way we work that are outdated?

What would a 10-year-old say about how to create change?


My change practitioner partner in crime, Nicholas Martin!


Overall the quality of presentations and the four musicians that also played was soooo very good. Some were more very good than others. And it’s from this that we can draw some meta lessons on communicating ideas.

  • The best of the talks really embraced great storytelling.
  • Self-deprecating humour overrode the formal status and power and  connected the audience with speaker.
  • If your talk uses a lot of jargon / technical terms make sure you explain them and show the word on a slide.
  • Make sure your talk meets the conference brand – an idea worth spreading, some were more clear than others
  • Respect your audience’s intelligence – be wary of platitudes and overly optimistic views of complex topics.
  • Provide the pros and cons for a balanced view so you don’t feel like you are being ‘sold’ to
  • Be natural in your presentation – we connect better with the flaws of the human than some-one using a “speaking voice’
  • Paradox of choice – only 3 choices for lunch but all were fantastic and with limited choices very easy and efficient to move large numbers through the dining spaces

Folks, I can’t recommend this format enough – go to google now, find out who is the licencee of your local TEDx, sign up for their newsletters and do what you can to attend.










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