Never Ever Ever Give up on your Vision

1359075a_fMore than three years ago a small group of experienced and at times successful guys from Australia, the UK and Singapore came together to share a dream.   To build a new form of Media conglomerate in Asia – a business like no other before it  – and in doing so succeed in China where the big media players like News Corp and FaceBook have failed.

The dream became a vision and the vision became a business. Christmases have come and gone and so have New Years and still we share the Vision but the business is not yet going.

We set out to raise a very large amount of money (several millions) based on a big vision with no track record….and that hasn’t been easy….damm near impossible at times.

But we are still ALL together and we have added to our team and in doing so our conglomerate has become even more impressive…..and the opportunity may even have become evn better as a result of hanging in and refining and re-defining our plans.

Along the way the toll of families, lives, finances and businesses has been enormous. In some cases Cars, Homes etc have been sacrificed to keep us going… But we havent given up and probably never will (or have to hopefully) and somehow we have continued to grow  on less than a shoestring.

Next week after a meeting last week in London we believe (once again) the money will flow at last and 2016 will see the Vision become a reality.

As the year closes I want to thank all who have supported and stuck with me … and my partners …..its been very very tough …much tougher than we could have imagined….and tougher than most will ever know……  but we are on the verge of doing something special….something that can make a difference to the lives of many many people.

I suspect I wont be celebrating at Midnight on New Year’s Eve once again…. but I firmly believe I will be celebrating with our many  supporters in the very very new future and for some time to come.

Thank you… and heres to all the Dreamers who want to make the world a better place!!

But first turn your dreams into a validated vision that others will buy into you can’t deliver much these days in isolation

May 2016 bring you whatever it is you are working to achieve …. But if you arent working at it 2016 will not be your year (again)!

The motivational piece from The Alchemist was a Christmas Gift from my very supportive daughter and business partner Nikki… I think she gets me!

The Winston Churchill quote is on the wall of my Chairman (and business partner’s) office and home… a very well known man in media and entertainment



Innovating How We Innovate – The What


Clearly there is a need to embrace more people and get them to support the Innovation journey we need to be on.

We started Innovation In The City as a means to start this by giving people a place to come to learn more.  Not just Entrepreneurs but people interested to learn about new tools, new technologies etc.  It was set up as a not for profit with an aim to find ways to support Innovation that would grow employment opportunities in Adelaide.

These MeetUps are proving to be very successful as there is a lot more interest in Innovation in Adelaide than I expected.

We found lots of people we didn’t know and lots of people newly arrived from overseas. And all reported an energy in the city and a vibe supportive of change.  From here we decided we needed to do more.  More than Mentor at Startup Programs, demonstrate 3D printing etc, talk about Drone technology, help entrepreneurs find funding etc  All the things I could think of to help this new and emerging world.

As such I decided to reinvent my consulting business enovAsia as a more collaborative business that would allow people with the right skills, attitude and experience to earn and learn by working with and supporting the efforts of Innovators.

Then I found Harold Sharples the man in the UK who could help me take the What, that we identified we needed when I looked at Why there was a need to change the way we Innovate in Adelaide give it some proven structure for success and develop it into the How!

The key developing Innovations that will develop into High Growth businesses lies in

  1.  identifying individuals’ natural talents and their Profile and Potential as an Innovator
  2.  fostering those talents and teaching the skills they need to deploy them effectively within a team
  3.  focusing them so as to
    • ask the right questions concerning the challenges that we face … and
    • get to great answers.

The ONist Entrepreneurs’ Business Model developed by Harold is simply a focusing aid (because it automatically guides us to the important questions for any business wishing to become High Growth ready).

The Innovation Profiles  developed for each individual will already identify the natural talents relevant to most Business problems – they also highlight the stage of relevant skill acquisition attained – and point the development way ahead for each individual.

The Innovation teams of Collaborators we build from the profiles then use the Business Model to identify and focus on the relevant challenges and the associated metrics to track the progress made solving them.

The solution to Innovating the way we Innovate lies in the power of the team and the nature and structure if the team. Teams are comprised of people with the right mix of Innovation Profiles as well as skills and experience.  And importantly they come from outside the business or the inner circle of the Innovator.   They are people with no vested interest who can say and do what ever is needed for the success of the Innovation Project without being concerned about the normal issues

The team becomes a two way street the Innovator learns from the skills and expertise of the team and each of the team (collaborators) learns Innovation from the Innovator which they can take back into their business.

And what will growing the number of High Growth Businesses (HGB) do for SA…… Each HGB will over time produce 1,200 additional jobs. Producing one such business every year for 35 years will ensure an extra 655 jobs are produced every year.

In the North West of the UK where Harold lives HGBs created 135,000 new jobs between 2005 and 2008 in a population of 7 million.   That means we should be aiming for 20,000 here over the next few years and that would solve the unemployment problems we face with the closing of manufacturing businesses.

But also remember we are developing a model where we will greatly increase the % of HGBs that grow in our Hub using a proven methodology !!

So whats next?  The How ….coming very soon…

Innovating How we Innovate – The Why

innovation  avanzi.orgRecently I read an article in Adelaide’s daily online “Newspaper” InDaily about Innovating South Australia’s Future which on one hand enthused me as a proponent of the urgent need for Innovation here and on the other disappointed me because we are still missing the mark in many ways.

With South Australia’s economy under pressure due to past reliance on manufacturing. mining etc and as such climbing jobless its great that much is being done.

But clearly more needs to done to develop an environment that foster, support and invest in emerging start-ups that WILL make a significant economic contribution.

The InDaily story is based upon a submission by Regional Development Australia Adelaide (RDAA) and Adelaide City Council to the Australian Technologies Competition.

“The submission details the expertise and resources that exist in South Australia and the extensive collaboration that is occurring on a daily basis in Adelaide between entrepreneurial individuals, companies, councils, universities and the different levels of government.” – In Daily – Vanguard

“Greater Adelaide has a very rich ecosystem of support for new ventures,” the submission says.

While its great that clearly Adelaide has the will to really DO something And YES  – getting the right ecosystem is the key – it seems the activity is in many ways isolated from the Community at Large

But I have two major issues –

As someone who has a real focus on Innovation via my business enovAsia and the Not For profit Group we founded Innovation In The City I did not know the full extent of the EcoSystem …. as such how would the average person have any idea of it as being so comprehensive.

  • 109 programs specifically supporting entrepreneurs and new ventures,
  • 11 incubators and accelerator programs,
  • 9 entrepreneurship education award programs,
  • 17 industry driven education programs for entrepreneurs, and
  • 14 co-working spaces.

If we are to foster and fully support Innovation we must reach the broader community to engage their support not keep “preaching to the choir” with more and more programs. And Innovation needs to be encouraged in existing businesses not just focussed on the startUp community.  There is a need for more integration between new and established business for sustainable success.

The second point that became evident is that we are not focussing on two things I think are fundamental to making SA not only a renowned Innovation Hub but one that makes a major contribution to the future of the State of South Australia. To do this we need to Identify StartUps/Innovations which:

  • Further develop what we already have here in terms of expertise, industries, environment etc (e.g. Food and Wine, Education, Medical research) not just support anyone with a good idea for the nest big thing.  But we also must support people working with the trends that will define the future of SA,


  • Become High Growth Businesses that employ people/bring revenue into SA for the long term.
    • High-growth enterprises, as measured by employment (or by turnover), are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period – OECD 

When I shared my thoughts with a colleague in the UK, Harold Sharples, who is a world renowned specialist Innovation Consultant, he agreed with my thinking and referred me to a very recently released report The Global StartUp Ecosystem Ranking 2015.  Harold has taught Innovation to many people and companies around the world including IBM and Coke and including current Apple CEO Tim Cook when he was at IBM.

From this report and subsequent discussions it became evident that while Adelaide is on the right path there may well be a better one to achieve the economic benefits we are aiming for here.

Clearly if we keep building the same ol’ ecosystem,  we’ll just keep getting the same ol’ results …

In Harold’s words,  “it’ll still take 2,000 startups to get one High Growth business”.  This is based upon solid research done over many years.

The key is “innovating how we innovate” … making genuine innovations – in the ecosystem as well as in businesses and technology – and without it,  we won’t get that 10x change which is what we need.

In the report on Global EcoSystems “there’s some great research stuff at the beginning,”  but it ends up with the usual reheated stuff about better ecosystems to match funding with ideas  … Not better better ecosystems that innovate how we innovate.   In other words,  they still envisage a 1 in 2,000 future … at the moment,  their ‘big idea’ is to figure out ways to fail faster and lose less (and promote cities to do it in – and in Oz, only Sydney gets onto their radar!.

The report highlights that we are now at the Tipping Point in the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Era .

More than ever before,  INNOVATION will be the key to success – in most endeavours – and in most fields.

I agree totally with Harold’s words below and in my next posts – Innovating How we Innovate – The What   and Innovating How we Innovate – The How  I will outline the approach we plan to take in Adelaide starting now.

“So far,  the ‘new era’ they refer to represents the posing of a new need/problem-statement —>  As of today,  we’re still in the old era … but we’ve come upon a new set of challenges that can’t be solved with the same level of thinking we’ve used to discover them —> We won’t actually be in the new era until we have a new solution AND APPLY IT.

Innovating how we innovate is what the solution will look like. 

Actually ACHIEVING that is how we ENTER the new era.   (The dawn of the agricultural / Industrial revolution didn’t occur until we’d FOUND and applied the solutions … there’s no cigar for discovering a new set of problems)

The principles embedded in my solution hypotheses for both IBM and for Business (re)invention generally can be applied to almost any field of endeavour:

From Ice Skating to Dance;  from Business building to Cuisine;  from design to ecosystems.” – Harold Sharples

Clearly there needs to be a better way so What Next?

Event marketing – You must do it

truck signage_000002Now and into the future Event Marketing must be a key component of any businesses strategy …..

But Why ?

Because in the days of high tech and virtual everything people want more contact, touch, hand s on experience and connection with the people they do business with or are interested in doing business with ….. and now more than ever through clever use of media it has never been easier to connect your event to people anywhere in the world.

Based on the numbers from the Event marketing Institute it really works!! While other forms of marketing are far less measurable in terms of impact.

And now any event can be even more effective if you pay more attention to the potential of Event Media and Event presentation as highlighted in Seduce and Enjoy – Engaging and Entertaining your Audience

But what is Event marketing?

Event marketing is a promotional strategy that involves face-to-face contact between companies and their consumers at special events like concerts, fairs, and sporting events. Brands use event marketing entertainment (like shows, contests, or parties) to reach consumers through direct hand-to-hand sampling or interactive displays. The practice works because it engages consumers while they’re in a willing, participatory position.  

In contrast to traditional advertising, which blasts millions of consumers with the same general television, radio or billboard message, event marketing targets specific individuals or groups at gathering spots, in hopes of making quality individual impressions.

What Type of Events?

Events are many and varied and can be tailored for the specific audience to gain maximum impact with the right planning promotion, presentation and follow up.

Events can include   The scope is unlimited and can in fact include other peoples events .  For example sponsoring a big name artist in concert and making special ticket purchase options available to your supporters.

Even local events can gain massive leverage on a wide scale by live streaming, smart social media etc to make sure those that would, could or would like to be able to attend know all about it.  These days hiring a big name to be a brand ambassador can mean one appearance at one location but interaction on a wide scale by letting the world know via social media.

When people attend events – live or virtually – you can collect information about them, gain insights into them and be well prepared for ongoing deeper engagement ……  using polls and surveys as part of the “price of admission”

In up coming posts I will look at the specifics of Event Media and Event Presentation. … in the mean time check out








Seduce and Enjoy – Engaging and Entertaining your Audience


Some time ago I planned to write an article about the increasing importance and value of Event Marketing.  I planned the headline and the picture as I do to get  the story in my head as i do every time, when I start thinking about what I will  write about.

But this is not the article I planned to write on why Event Marketing needs to be a key component in every brand building and sales campaign these days.

The more I thought about the importance of Event Marketing and adding High Touch in a High Tech world was important I realised most EVENTS are missing some key components and we have not changed the basic way we do events of all types in business. The two key elements overlooked or lacking for all manner of reasons, not the least of which is we avoid things that are new and disruptive, are Event Media (as opposed to Marketing) and Event Presentation (as opposed to Production) …. as they just become part of the Marketing or Management and don’t get the focus deserved these days in a much changed world because they get squeezed out in a largely operational budgeting exercise. Continue reading Seduce and Enjoy – Engaging and Entertaining your Audience

Making the most of it

20150222_064121~2Last night I was presented with Life membership of the peak body in Australia of the No 1 Olympic sport – Athletic Australia.  What an honour and a privilege to be recognised merely because i made most of opportunities as they can along and had a great time doing it.

Opportunities and experiences that would not come if it wasnt an international sport and an individual sport.

I think the attached citation written by colleague and friend Dr Brian Roe sums up a very fortunate and rewarding 20 plus years as I journey through the sport. See bottom of this page

My first bit of good fortune came when I chose to attend a school where Athletics was the No 1 Summer Sport and one which the school excelled at – Rostrevor College. I wasnt all that good at it but I liked being part of it … Especially the prestige making the team for the Combined Sports (which we generally won ) competing against the major Private Schools of Adelaide….generally as a reserve of the in the second division.

My first big opportunity and my first good decision to give it my best shot. I could see more enjoyment and opportunity in an individual sport rather tan a team sport.  Maybe if the school did not value athletics as highly as it did my decision may have been different.

Fortunately the school had a old scholars team that competed in SA Interclub competitors and a Master that I got along with who coordinated the club as well as the school program.

In those days the Interclub comps were telecast live on TV and as is the case still today no matter what lowly grade you were in your competed in the same venue at the same time as the best athletes in the Sate .  So unlike other sports you could watch the best, compete against them and mingle socially ….. a big bonus not offered by many / any other sports.

With Judge Peter Brebner (a fierce competitor, co coach, colleague and friend) Fletcher McEwen OAM (former National Coach, co coach, colleague and friend) and David Grace - National President Athletics Australia In the back ground are photographs of members of the Athletics Hall of Fame - almost all of whom I have/had an association with
With Judge Peter Brebner (a fierce competitor, co coach, colleague and friend) Fletcher McEwen OAM (former National Coach, co coach, colleague and friend) and David Grace – National President Athletics Australia In the back ground are photographs of members of the Athletics Hall of Fame – almost all of whom I have/had an association with

You could describe my career as an athlete as reasonable in terms of making the finals of State Championships and winning the occasional medal.  But I did also have the opportunity to be coached by the then National Sprint Coach – Dr John daly and train with the best sprinters in SA.  At that stage I discovered I was a 400 metre runner who did not have the speed to match it with the very best and probably should have worked on more endurance and become an 800 metre runner….  suffice to say iw as very good over 600 metres.

The coach I learned most from was Ern Holder – A legend in Pro running as trainer of Stawell Gist, Bay Sheffield etc winners.  I was his one and only amateur athlete – he was a friend of my father and offered to help me when i first started to take Athletics seriously at about 16.

I could write much about Ern and one day he will …but he was an amazing man in so many ways and I have much to thank him for in getting my basics in terms of running and training started on a sound foundation way back then.

But suffice to say I certainly wasnt award Life Membership for my services to the Sport as a competitor. But during those days I met many people that I have shared a journey, more than a glass or two and some very good times with over the past decades … many of whom remain friends today and were there for the presentation last night.

They say good athletes make good coaches …. and thats true … but I believe  struggling athletes (eg me) make good coaches as you know more about how hard you need to work when you dont have an over abundance of natural talent.

I guess I managed both as I had  some good athletes come my way and at first i didnt stuff then up and eventually I made them better.

Getting into coaching and at the time in SA that I did was certainly a major opportunity I made the most of.  I became a hurdles coach (not because I has been a hurdler) but because there was a gap in the market – an unmet need.

At the time there was a collective of new and experienced coached who had come together to share resources and ideas and I was fortunate enough to become a part of that group as the hurdles “expert” (I studied very hard to become an expert from a base of zero).   As part of that group I learned much from the wiser heads like Alan Launder, Fletcher McEwen, Scotchy Gordon, Peter Brebner, Graham Boase and others.

From there I guess I went off on there concurrent paths which levereaged my new found skills as coach and my developing business skills in management and marketing.  As I grabbed every opportunity that came along there was a lot of juggling to be done.

But it was the people I met and the passion for the sport I loved  that made it all possible .  When I talk woith young people today about leadership and Personal Branding I talk about finding your Passion and the Why that makes that passion… and much of that I learned in the very hectic 80s and 90s through a national and international involvement in Athletics,

As National Junior Coach I had the chance to work with the best up and coming hurdles around the country, as SA State team manger over a 20 year period I had a hand in the development of many young South Australians and with a few others I leveraged my marketing skills to develop a new style in the presentation of the sport.

Being able to combine my love of sport and my love of business into a sports marketing business for a while was clearly a highlight …. but maybe in the end it drove me away from the real sport …. its time to come back soon… as I have begun to with some great people in the sport who have asked me to help rejuvenate the sport … how honoured I felt!!

most of my journey is very well and succinctly put in the citation written by Dr Brian Roe who along with Dr Maurie Plant, David and Sam Culbert and many others played a great role in not only my development but my enjoyment.

Suffice to say I have been very fortunate but as I said up front I chose my sport well and have taken every opportunity that came my way and made the most out of almost all of them.  As Richard Branson (whom I have been fortunate enough to meet as a result of being involved in this sport)  says …always say yes and then work out how.   My example a bloke who couldnt hurdle to save himself becomes national coach and coaches many international class hurdlers!!

Coaching and managing Olympic Medallists and World Champions is the icing on the cake all of the fun is had at the grass roots level and knowing that you played a role in helping people be the best they can be…. its all about satisfaction.

with David Grace who presented the Award along with Nat Cook MP representing the Premier of SA.
with David Grace who presented the Award along with Nat Cook MP representing the Premier of SA.

Reading words like Innovation in the citation give me a buzz as its all about Innovation for me  …and then seeing World Champion Pole Vaulter Dmitry Markov (one of the best blokes I have ever known) call me a Champion and people like my very good friend Tatiana Grigorieva say it was well deserved and my favorite and most inspiring athlete mutli Deaf World Champ – Dean Smith praising me …. that makes any hard work very worthwhile .  I would do it again any day … and maybe I will.

As I said up front its about making choices … sticking with them …and then grabbing opportunities as they become available.

I could go on ad infinitum about the people I have worked with and the opportunities I have embraced and will when I finally finish that book but for now I am starting to bore myself so lets leave it there.