Purpose 2016 Conference Hall

Purpose 2016 Wrap Up by Purpose

Purpose 2016 was an incredible experience. Hear more from their collective voices about the two days that inspired and gave many local and global businesses further belief and practical advice about purpose-driven business, below.

Purpose 2016 Necktags

Purpose 2016 Conference Visitors - people on conference floor picking up giftbagsDay one of Purpose 2016 was an exhilarating series of speakers from a diverse range of companies who were brought together by passion; with the goal to make a positive difference, by bridging business back to reality, back to the people and back to politics.

With themes including Cathedral Thinking and the Millennial Mindset, the event was sure to cover the concept of time, and this emerged as a key theme in itself. Purpose’s resident futurist, philosopher and self-described ‘cathedral thinker’, Eddie Harran (aka Dr Time) set the stage in a cloud of smoke, and wig of epic proportions. He opened our minds to exploring the impact of the past and present on our future. This thinking permeated much of the conversation throughout the day, from tracing the first purpose-led business models of Gunditjmara peoples and ‘hacking’ our perception time to understand our role in the ‘vast cosmos of timelessness’, to developing mindful practices through turning carrots into art.


A goal without an end

Dr Time challenged us to make decisions in an infinite way. We discussed time as a great feedback loop, allowing us to reflect on our lives and providing us with a guided framework to navigate the world around us. Whether you call it cathedral thinking or seven generation stewardship, this long-term approach to business encourages a mindset that points to laying the foundations ‘the stones’, planning for the future and finding joy in the legacy we leave for generations to come.


Indigenous wisdom; the power of looking back

In the morning plenary on Cathedral Thinking, we were blown away by the beautiful and honest words of Jirra Lulla of Kalinya Communication, who connected indigenous wisdom with the challenge of creating purpose-led business in Australia.

She spoke about Australia’s first purpose-led business, formed thousands of years ago, by the Gunditjmara people who developed sustainable eel farming practices which fed indigenous communities across Australia.

Jirra explained that the first peoples of Australia have been practicing cathedral thinking for thousands of years, with a deep understanding that “when you look after your country, it will look after you…”

Let us unite and move forward together, honouring our past.

Purpose 2016, woman at workshop table preparing fresh food

Finding mindfulness at your green grocer

One of our current Instagram crushes is Danling Xiao’s Mundane Matters, and we were excited that, combined with the power of Liane Rossler from Superlocal, this online sensation can be brought to life in a hands-on workshops. Combined, this due create the Plant Planet workshop. This event throws the notion of not playing with your food on its head, and instead celebrates turning Brussel sprouts, carrots and spinach into works of art.

You might ask, what turning vegetables into art has to do with sustainability…

Well… Liane and Danling, co-founders of this zero waste art movement, believe that practising mindfulness and appreciating beauty and art even those most mundane vegetables, we can strengthen our connection with nature and ourselves.

This movement, which is a mixture of meditation, art and philosophy has received enormous support around the world, tackling environmental issues such as climate change, waste and food security through the cutest of sculptures.

Purpose 2016, woman in black dress reading conference booklet in large hall with archways

Our MC extraordinaire, Matt Wicking, guided us expertly through the day as we covered such sessions, in four unique venues, including New Kids On the Block, Culture by Design and Legally Speaking.

A fast-paced plenary to close day 1 featured Michael Bradley, in a return to the Purpose stage for the founder of Marque Lawyers, Andy Lark – marketing guru, gave us some home truths on profit and purpose, Ed McManus on giving us choice in a market that has previously had none, and Tracy Conlan from Ernst & Young who gave us the sage advice that people have to experience the promise in your purpose.

Purpose 2016 Conference Visitors, man and woman doing a puzzle

For early risers, Tuesday morning commenced with a meditation session led by the dulcet tones of Rohan Gunatillake of Mindfulness Everywhere and Buddhify. Held in the post-apocalyptic setting of the sunken Paddington Reservoir, it was an opportunity for stillness before the full program of day two.

Purpose 2016 Conference Speaker - man on stage in front of a black screen with white text, you have the power to change stuff

African drummers welcomed the 400-strong-delegates into the morning’s plenary, ensuring that energy levels were high as we were reminded of naivety in the wowing journey of Thankyou as told by co-founder Daniel Flynn.

Wildwon takes great pleasure in positive partnerships, whether our own or ones that form as a result of our events or connections, or simply those that we’re fortunate to discover, so it was encouraging and inspiring to hear from companies that are kicking ass together in our Combine & Conquer session.

Purpose 2016 Conference Speaker, woman on stage speaking to audience

In the Town Hall, Vanessa Beggs from The School of Life led an enquiry into leadership, and an introspective approach to the psychological characteristics of a good leader. Attendees were invited to reflect on the leadership styles of influencers of their own life, including their parents, teachers, and role models. Do our current leadership styles mirror those of our influencers, or have we taken a different path? There was an air of surprise and intrigue among the audience as people thought about leadership in a whole new way. Vanessa brought our awareness to common blind spots in leadership, and naming our blind spots to a stranger moved us into a refreshing space of vulnerability. The final portion was dedicated to a guided, interpersonal exercise to reflect upon our values, ambitions, passions and achievements, using a tool called a Leadership Shield. The exercise culminated in a single sentence motto or purpose statement to guide the direction of the psychology of our leadership as an individual.

Purpose 2016 visitors participant in a group exercise

With 15 sessions throughout the day, delegates covered how to Make Sh*t Happen (Gut-feel, gumption and purpose for those playing at home), Social Procurement 101 with Mark Daniels of Social Traders, which highlighted the positive effects on making supply chains more sustainable and ethical, and how to get customers to care (“Make people feel that you deserve their emails” – wise words from Courtney Sanders of Well Made Clothes). A session on Purpose Built explored how we can reimagine looking at and working with our built environment and tangible objects, making us all want to get out there and start creating things. But it wasn’t all what was happening on solid ground that was discussed, with our Planetary Tech session featuring WILDLABS, Geoplex and Interface exploring, amongst other things, ‘agile aerospace’ and what we’re doing to help get a better picture of our changing earth.

Purpose 2016 Luke Burrell & Nikki Wright

The afternoon breakout session on sustainability and personal empowerment turned out to be more of a discussion than a presentation. Starting in the beautiful garden of Paddington Reservoir, the glowing Mary Hoang guided our small breakout group in a 10 minute mindfulness meditation journey to centre and open the space. The energy of the room following the meditation was tranquil, and the group left the buzz of the conference behind us to focus on the discussion ahead. Jocelyn Brewer (psychologist and Digital Nutrition founder), Chip and Mary introduced themselves and their work. Jocelyn Brewer, a geographer, teacher, school counsellor and Psychologist, spoke about the relationship between humans and technology, and the challenges we navigate when managing what she has termed digital nutrition. Mary Hoang introduced The Indigo Project, a mental health and positive psychology company and movement based in Surry Hills. Mary spoke about the challenges she faces as an entrepreneur, and how she personally uses mindfulness skills to help navigate her entrepreneurial journey. Moving to the reservoir shifted the vibe of the breakout session, and after Chip Richards shared his inspiring journey of moving from an Olympic aspirant to a corporate coach, a Q&A session flowed into conversational discussions around mindfulness, technology, purpose, empowerment, and more.

Purpose 2016 Branded Frank Green Reusable Coffee Cups

The closing plenary on Better by Design left us with thoughts, learning and ideas about how to design for purpose. We expect downloads of Folo to increase after Sam Adams Nye described the huge potential of passive income for charities that is possible through their browser plug-in. Ben Young of Frank Green horrified us with the stat that 38% of Australia’s landfill is made up of single use coffee cups and plastic water bottles, but settled us by sharing what they’re doing to fix that. And in closing, Rohan Gunatillake talked about tech for good, and asked the question we were all thinking, that at the end of a retreat or conference, how do we take what we’ve learnt and experienced home. The answer comes from his extensive experience in meditation, and can be applied in how we move forward after Purpose: “In meditation, the most important moment is when you open your eyes. Observe transitions. They are magical.”

Luke Burrell and Nikki Wright at Purpose 2016

The two-day event was full of quotable quotes, key insights, and invaluable connections between the 400-strong delegates, and we look forward to seeing the transitions from Purpose, and the actions and connections that are created from it.


Words by Vik Nithy, Shenaz Engineer, Julia Adamski and Madeleine Gasparinatos

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