Phase One – Protyping

Over the last two-and-a-half  years I’ve been exploring ways I can serve people and organisations working toward better futures – so they can be more effective and have greater impact in the work they do. Based on feedback and gaps I’ve identified during that time, I’ve focused around hosting events for much needed conversations and idea exchanges; offering facilitated sessions for collaborative project development, and building capability in the strategic use of social media to grow communities, amplify communications and scale impact.

This started with me starting up Doing Something Good (enabling clients), and with a passionate, skilled and dedicated team, evolved and expanded into Collaboratory Melbourne (enabling communities) and from that emerged Gathering ’11 (enabling leaders, linchpins and entrepreneurs).

2011 was the year of prototyping the concept for the services we want to deliver and how we connect and organise. 2012 is the year we establish foundations and test systems and structures for a new type of community-led organisation.

We’ve had a great start to the year with Alex Steffen at our first Collaboratory Melbourne Meetup, and we’ve just reached 500 members (which is amazing in just over a year). I’m also excited at the opportunities that are starting to open up after having been awarded Melbourne Social Entrepreneur of the Year, at graduation from the outstanding School for Social Entrepreneurs last month. In the next month we’ll be launching Gathering ’12 (20-23 September), and there are a bunch of great initiatives coming out of Hub Melbourne, where we’re planning to base ourselves.

By the middle end (revised) of this year, our aim is to establish Collaboratory Melbourne as a community owned social enterprise – an innovative cooperative model that can be replicated and scaled. Its mission: to act as a platform for the development of a collaborative community of practice, and attract people and resources from across sectors to cocreate solutions to our most pressing social and environmental issues. Our objective is to host and deliver events, experiences and services that contribute to enriching the ecosystem.

In 2012 we’re looking to offer:

  1. Regular monthly Meetups to bring together inspiring & innovative changemakers and future builders from around Australia and all over the world. At Meetups led by these special guests, members will be able to share ideas, have thought provoking conversations, get a practical insight into what’s possible with emerging technologies & new models for business, and identify opportunities to collaborate.
  2. A Skillshare Program for members, subscribers and business partners on topics ranging in anything from service design and engaging community through storytelling, to business model development and strategic communications.
  3. Ongoing Project Build Sessions for members, and a purpose designed Project Build Program for subscribers or partners – developing projects and campaigns with skilled professionals and experienced mentors.
  4. Project Design Jams that, in 48 hours with designers, programmers, marketers and communication professionals, can take your big idea that addresses our most pressing social and environmental issues, and help you make it a reality.
  5. A new Collaboratory Melbourne website where we’ll profile members and other leading future builders to help them show the world what’s possible, and provide a channel for them to amplify their message, extend their reach, scale their impact and connect them to others who can enable their big ideas.

If you’re passionate about community, interested in social innovation, love to collaborate with dynamic, creative and inspiring people from diverse disciplines and from across sectors, please consider joining us. You’ll get the chance to work with brilliant people on incredibly rewarding projects, build your skills on anything from facilitation to programming, and be part of building something pretty special.

In particular we’d love to work with people with skills and interests in:

  • event coordination
  • writing, photography and video production
  • digital communications and social media
  • web and graphic design
  • programming, knowledge management and communications technology
  • project management, collaborative processes and group facilitation
  • marketing and promotions
  • legal and finance

If you’d like to join us building something special, please register your interest here.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to deliver or fund some or part of our program, please email David Hood at or call  0413 124 427.