Innovation in Community Engagement

Conference + Workshop, 13-14 November 2017

Australia’s most forward-thinking community engagement practitioners convene for two days in Sydney, 13-14 November

We all know that an engaged community is a thriving community. And communities need to be at the core of creating their own solutions.

But leading authentic engagement with people with diverse interests, opinions, wants and needs is complex and hard. And much that passes for ‘community engagement’ these days is superficial, one-way or piecemeal—and doesn’t deliver lasting solutions.

A better way is possible!

Innovation in Community Engagement is our chance to come together for two inspiring and energising days of presentations, provocations and experimentation, where we can share our experience and explore the latest approaches to leading authentic and lasting community engagement.

Where and when?

Innovation in Community Engagement will be held at The Sydney Masonic Centre Conference & Function Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th November 2017.

Who will attend?

We are all in this together. The conference and workshop will convene up to 100 of our most forward-thinking collaborative change workers, collective impact practitioners and community engagement facilitators from every sector in Australia. Expect to meet other practitioners, facilitators, community leaders, CSR managers and community engagement leaders working in a diversity of areas across the government, community and the for-profit worlds.

Download the full program in PDF

Day One: Conference | 13 November

9:00am – 5:00pm

How can we all participate in creating the society we want to become? How to we start to bridge divides and build trust? How can we make progress despite our differences?

The one-day conference will be a showcase of innovative approaches to community engagement, including new tools and approaches to facilitating community participation in defining problems and creating their own solutions, with some hands-on work. Featuring:

  • International keynote speaker, Paul Schmitz, CEO, Leading Inside Out (USA), who will be presenting on ‘The Culture of Collaboration’ and running a workshop on tools to put community engagement at the centre of your work
  • The directors of Collaboration for Impact, Liz Skelton and Kerry Graham, who will present the latest iteration of the Collaborative Change Cycle—a brilliant tool for understanding the work required in communities at differences stages of collaboration and change processes
  • Max Hardy and Danielle Annellis, highly skilled designers and facilitators of community engagement processes, who will provide a dynamic introduction to deliberative engagement
  • Learnings from the field — a case study from United Way’s The Hive Mount Druitt presented by its founding director, David Lilley, together with a Q&A
  • Kristin Gabriel who will reveal the innovative experiential engagement methodologies and systems thinking behind the metropolitan-wide community engagement program used to develop the Resilient Sydney strategy
  • Lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, networking … and more!

Click here to download the full program [PDF]

Day 2: Workshop | 14 November

9:00am – 4:00pm

Day two will offer an intensive workshop on designing deliberative processes for community engagement.

Deliberative processes are particularly useful for getting ‘unstuck’, where a decision needs to be made in order to move on, when a ‘deep dive’ is needed for a very tricky issue where strong, divergent opinions exist, and when there is a need to pause, reflect deeply and weigh up options.

Come and discover why deliberative engagement is increasingly being recognised as best practice— with reports of positive experiences from participants and sponsors, and recent awards from the International Association for Public Participation.

This is your opportunity to participate in an intense learning process that will cover:

  • What deliberative community engagement is (and is not)
  • Principles for engagement
  • Why these processes work
  • Different kinds of deliberative processes
  • Variables for designing a deliberative process
  • Hands on: work with others to design a deliberative process for a hypothetical collaborative change initiative.

Click here to download the full program [PDF]

Click here to buy your ticket today


Paul Schmitz (USA)

Paul is the CEO of Leading Inside Out, a nonprofit and philanthropic advisory firm that helps to develop authentic, inclusive and collaborative leadership, and engage community members as partners in solving community problems. Paul is also Senior Advisor to The Collective Impact Forum, and the first Innovator in Residence at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Innovation and Impact.

Paul is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up and co-author of the most read and shared article for 2016 in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, ‘Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever)‘. Paul previously served as CEO of the national leadership development organisation, Public Allies; was a social innovation advisor to the White House, and has been named three separate years to The Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America.

Paul is a riveting story-teller who will encourage you to reflect on your own story and the role you have to play in your collaborative work. Expect high energy and interactivity!

Liz Skelton

Liz is the co-founder of Collaboration for Impact. She has spent the last two years working exclusively on the establishment of Australia’s leading learning organisation in the fields of collective impact, adaptive leadership for social change and collective impact, systems change and social innovation.

Liz has a decade of experience working with leaders in community, government and businesses across Australia to learn the theory and apply the practice of Adaptive Leadership to tackle their toughest challenges.  Liz co-led the establishment and growth of the national learning and consulting organisation, Social Leadership Australia. For the past two years she has been blending Adaptive Leadership with the Collective Impact Framework, applying this practice to communities working collaboratively across Australia to achieve better outcomes.

Kerry Graham

Kerry is a Founder & Director of Collaboration for Impact – Australia’s leading organisation for learning how to respond to complex problems through effective collaboration. In this role, Kerry curates learning for and provides support to communities, corporations, governments, philanthropy and non-profit organisations on how to drive large-scale social change in intractable social challenges. Kerry also lectures on collaborative practice with Centre for Social Impact at University of New South Wales.

Prior to this Kerry held executive roles within national non-profit organisations (Inspire Foundation CEO; Good Beginnings Australia, COO); and advised governments on social policy (Australian Social Inclusion Board, NSW Treasurer’s Advisory Body). She holds qualifications in public policy, law, social work and community management.

Max Hardy

Max is the principal at Max Hardy Consulting. He specialises in collaborative governance, strategic questioning, collective impact and designing, facilitating and evaluating deliberative community engagement processes. With a particular interest in deliberative democracy and appreciative inquiry, Max has developed innovative models for collaboration and community engagement. He has presented at international conferences and is a regular guest lecturer at The University of Sydney, and University of Melbourne.  In recent years Max has been focusing on large, complex local government planning projects, and a Regional Centres Development collaborative process in WA. He also designed and facilitated the NDIS Citizens’ Jury Scorecard project with People with Disabilities Australia and the National Disability Insurance Agency, which was Awarded the International Project of the Year (IAP2).

Danielle Annells

Danielle is the principal at Danielle Annells Consulting. A skilled designer and facilitator of collaborative processes, Danielle has worked with government and other organisations to assist them with genuinely transformative stakeholder and community engagement activities for many years.

Danielle has experience working ‘from the ground up’ using the collective impact framework, and delivered various community engagement training sessions as part of her consulting work.   An Associate of Collaboration for Impact, Danielle has recently coached a number of chairs of leadership groups and backbone leads for the DHHS Victorian government initiated Child and Youth Area Partnerships—eight ongoing collective impact initiatives in regional Victoria, working in new and highly collaborative ways to improves outcomes for children and youth. 

David Lilley

David has been working on place based collaboration since 1999. For much of this time he worked for Housing NSW on collaborative initiatives at the housing estate, suburb, LGA and regional levels. This included developing and managing ‘Working Together in Minto’, a forerunner to what would become known as Collective Impact, from 2005 to 2008. David has also worked as a Senior Social Sustainability Consultant in a large firm, and held a Visiting Fellowship at the City Futures Research Centre (UNSW). Until recently David was the founding Director of The Hive Mt Druitt, a Collective Impact initiative working to improve outcomes for children across the 2770 postcode in Western Sydney, facilitated by United Way Australia.

David is currently Senior Advisor Community Impact at United Way Australia (part time), an Associate at Collaboration for Impact, and Principal Consultant at Holos Consulting.

Kristin Gabriel

Kristin is a passionate advocate for the role of the community voice in decision making. She has over 15 years experience of robust research design in stakeholder and community engagement in local government, including the use of online, co-design and deliberative democracy processes exploring contentious city issues.

Kristin is currently the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer for metropolitan Sydney, hosted by the City of Sydney Council as part of the 100 Resilient Cities Network  ( Kristin developed and implemented a metropolitan-wide community engagement program to develop the Resilient Sydney Strategy.

Click here to buy tickets

Ticket Prices:

Both Days — Conference + Workshop:
Government/Corporate $975
Not-for-profit $880

Day 1 Conference only:
Not-for-profit $495

Day 2 Workshop only:
Government/Corporate $450
Not-for-profit $415

Click here to book your ticket today


Contact for further information.


13 - 14 November 2017


SMC Conference & Function Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000

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