In 2008, Ben Rennie said adios to corporate Australia and created a new kind of company. An innovation lab called 6.2. Since 2009, 6.2 has worked with more than 60 organizations in 4 countries in some of the world’s largest cities including New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and London with some of the worlds largest and most innovative companies. Along the way, Ben founded uncluttered white spaces, an online magazine about good ideas with over 450,000 readers, the IF Talks, a series of forums across Australia and a conduit for solving complex problems and the Black Report, an iPad Magazine sold in 15 countries.
Ben is driven by a need to rethink how we run our companies and organisations by looking closer at real human motivation and delivering a more effective path to high performance and happiness. Ben lives on the NSW south coast and is married with 3 children.
Charmaine Tham is a veterinarian in Australia, but grew up as a self-confessed irresponsible pet owner in Singapore. She contributes probono as Vice President on the board of Vets Beyond Borders, an Australian-based non-profit organisation that provides veterinary aid to partners in developing communities. She has been closely involved in international animal welfare and public health projects in a probono capacity since 2006, with experiences in India, China, Vanuatu and the Northern Territory. Her professional background is in veterinary science, pharmacology and business management with experiences in private practice, industry and academia. She is currently working as a veterinary consultant in the pharmaceutical industry.
Vets Beyond Borders’ VetTrain program is going beyond implementing rabies control programs to giving local communities the tools, skills and motivations to create the change for themselves.
Fred Watson says he spent so many years working in large telescope domes that he has started to look like one. He is Astronomer in Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory at Coonabarabran, where his main scientific interest is gathering information on very large numbers of stars and galaxies. He is also an adjunct professor at the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Southern Queensland and James Cook University.
Fred is well-known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio, and his recent books including “Stargazer – the Life and Times of the Telescope”, “Why is Uranus Upside Down? and Other Questions About the Universe, (which won the 2008 Queensland Premier’s Literary Prize for Science Writing) and the ABC’s new blockbuster, “Universe”, for which he was chief consultant. In 2003, Fred received the David Allen Prize for communicating astronomy to the public, and in 2006 was the winner of the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. Most recently, in January 2010, Fred was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for service to astronomy, particularly the promotion and popularisation of space science through public outreach.
Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won’t be his fault.
Iggy Pintado is an accomplished and experienced business leader, adviser, author and speaker. He is currently Director of Marketing and Innovation at UXC Connect.?In April 2009, Iggy published his first book, CONNECTION GENERATION, a fascinating study of how connectedness affects our place in society and business and the challenges and opportunities this compelling development presents. As a “super-connected” networker on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, he has earned his place in the Top 25 list of the most connected business networkers in Australia. Iggy is passionate about passing on his knowledge, learning and insights to large and small organisations alike.
When asked for this take on ‘No Boundaries’: “If today’s social and mobile technologies allow you to connect to people, places, experiences and ideas globally, then there are no boundaries.”
Shanil Samarakoon is 27 year old social entrepreneur with a rich blend of cross-cultural and social sector experience. He grew up in Botswana, Malawi and then his native Sri Lanka. However, it was in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami in Sri Lanka that he discovered a calling to live a life of contribution. He has since been involved in a range of relief and development projects in both Sri Lanka and Malawi. After coming to Sydney for his postgraduate education, he founded Empower Inc in 2009 based on observations made across these life affirming experiences. He went on to win “Social Entrepreneur of the Year – 2010″ (School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia) and continues to serve as Executive Director of Empower Inc.
Danielle Lauren is passionate about conscientious entertainment. She believes that the arts can contribute both positively and significantly to global social change. Creatively Ms Lauren has produced and directed a variety of film, television, theatrical and online productions. Her credits include ‘The Vagina Monologues’, ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Australian Idol’. She has developed projects for The Sydney Opera House, Sony Music, BBC, ITV and major Australian Broadcasters. Danielle completed her post graduate studies at the prestigious Australian Film, Television and Radio School and her Masters of Film from Sydney University.
Believing in pro-active and engaged citizenship, Danielle has worked tirelessly to use her skills to contribute to social change. She is currently the Australian Ambassador for the “Charter for Compassion” and consults for ‘Australians for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’. Her not-for-profit experience also includes financial and awareness campaigns for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, WIZO, the NSW Rape Crisis Centre and the AIDS council.
With over 20 years experience working as a chef in commercial kitchens, Bridget has been able to use her knowledge of food, cooking and dining to cut herself a successful path online as The Internet Chef. Acknowledged by the Huffington Post as one of the top 10 chefs on twitter worldwide, Bridget is one of the leading online foodies in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tim Noonan is a voice and usability consultant, lecturer, inspirational conference speaker and the founder of Vocal Branding Australia. A professional listener, Tim’s work and passion centres around how we can best use our voices to engage, inspire and influence – leading to more open, sincere and trust-based relationships.
Over the last 25 years Tim has blended his interests in technology, speech, telephony and accessibility, to bring printed and online information to life for people who are blind or print disabled.
Tim is currently pioneering the emerging field of Vocal Branding – an expertise that arose from his extensive research and study of spoken communication, deep listening and emerging technologies. Tim has a degree in Cognitive Psychology and Education, with a particular focus on how people process and comprehend auditory information.
Jordan grew up performing live theatre and music, and now enjoys using his understanding of theatrics to communicate complex ideas. Besides consulting as an IT analyst and developer, Jordan has also tutored piano and computer programming, designed video games and joined philosophy forums, seeking in each for the concrete, practical and creative key to unlock the abstract.
A French citizen, Adele Garnier is currently a lecturer in Politics at Macquarie University. She has studied Political Science in France and Germany before completing a joint doctoral degree in Politics at Macquarie University and the University of Leipzig, Germany. As a European, she is puzzled by the contentious nature of asylum seekers policies in Australia, a country that has long embraced immigration and multiculturalism, in contrast to many European countries. Comparing European and Australian asylum and refugee policies thus became the focus of her research.
Her thesis shows that in both Europe and Australia, policies aiming to prevent the arrival of asylum seekers to countries seldom work as intended. Preventive policies are not only harmful to the most vulnerable but also very costly, ineffective and politically toxic. She argues that it is more humane and cost-effective to acknowledge the unpredictability of forced migration, and, more broadly, the complex dynamics of global interconnectedness.
Having struggled with organizational skills as a symptom of his poor memory all through high school, Daniel sought out methods to improve his memory. It was then that he discovered the “Art of Memory”, a loosely associated group of mnemonic principles and techniques used to organize memory impressions, improve recall, and assist in the combination and ‘invention’ of ideas. These techniques are sometimes referred to as mnemotechnics, and are employed by memory athletes to perform remarkable feats of learning.
Shortly afterwards, Daniel sought out Australia’s most successful memory athlete, Tansel Ali. Daniel was trained privately by Tansel and at the 2011 Australian Memory Championships Daniel managed to secure second place behind his coach and mentor, and third place in the competition overall. He also broke the Australian record for the abstract images event and is the official holder of that record, having memorized the order of 99 abstract shapes.
Daniel now espouses the value of memory techniques as a potential revolution in education, both in the traditional sense of the word and, because as a matter of historical fact, the art of memory formed the cornerstone of education from the time of the Ancient Greeks, up until the renaissance. When we use memory techniques, we revolve back to the ancient and effective art of learning, memorizing and composition.
Michael Gillings is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. He has research interests that broadly include the mechanisms that generate and maintain genetic diversity, and how such diversity can be used to understand population structure, dispersal and evolution. Current research spans all living things, from bacteria to fungi, to plants, fish and mammals. A major program examines the evolution of mobile DNA in bacteria, with an emphasis on the origins and spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogens. In an offshoot of this research, he is investigating the consequences of DNA pollution and its potential effects on the natural environment. He teaches Human Biology to a class of over 900 undergraduates each year and is consistently voted amongst the top 5 University Lecturers in Australia. Teaching a diverse cohort of students with different backgrounds and interests has led to an abiding enthusiasm for making connections between the Humanities and Sciences, resulting in a fusion of Art, Music, Literature, History and Biology in his teaching material.