My Work 🏕️
For the best part of 15 years, I have focused my energy on 'for purpose' work, understanding how change happens, and the work needed to bring it about.
For the best part of 15 years, I have focused my energy on 'for purpose' work - from sustainable development to food systems, youth wellbeing to environmental regeneration. I'm privileged to have worked with some excellent people, projects and initiatives which have shaped my understanding of how change happens, and the work needed to bring it about.
Current Status: working with Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) on Net Zero transition on campus, and exploring the growth of Living Labs at the University.
I help people navigate uncertainty and work in complexity in service of social, environmental and economic regeneration.
1) Strategic design
Including researching, positioning and designing impact strategies, portfolio approaches, programs, organisations, services, products, impact evaluation, CX/UX and ecosystems of these.
2) Systems & complexity practice
Through coaching, advising and working with teams to implement targeted systems change activities from systems mapping, to designing portfolio approaches, devising impact signals and evaluation, deploying experiments/prototypes, setting up and running social labs, and more.
3) Experience and collaboration design & facilitation
I design group processes to support collaboration, exploration, experimentation, collective alignment and direction, and facilitate these experiences for quality outcomes.
4) Communications & narrative change
Running the full gamut from working on narrative change development, to developing comms and marketing strategy and audience intelligence, through the creative and production phases, to implementation and management of teams and individuals. I am also a professional photographer, specialising in events, landscape and wildlife photography, which I often bring to my communications work as well.
5) Advisory board membership
bringing the above energy, international connections, and a proactive constructively critical perspective to social and environmental initiatives.
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Current & recent work:
My current role is with Monash University (Monash Sustainable Development Institute), supporting Net Zero 2030 commitments, through enabling research, education and commercialisation across the 4 university campuses. In addition we are exploring the development of a Living Labs ecosystem across the University.
I am also actively part of the inaugural Luminary Cohort which is a systems leadership program coordinated by Illuminate. You can read a little about that here.
In collaboration with The Australian Centre For Social Innovation (TACSI), I've been working to shape a series of Local Learning Labs as part of the Regenerating Australia film and impact program. You can read a little about that here.
What Others Are Saying
I'm deeply thankful for colleagues and clients such as these, who have reflected on working together.
Sam is a wonderfully humble, smart and collaborative colleague to partner with. I bought him on board at Monash to run an ongoing series of systems workshops with the design department. He was consultative and generative in his approach leading up to the workshops and then organized, responsive, and open-minded in his role of facilitating the sessions. He deftly personalised the experiences for the different teams, respectful of their different motivations and challenges. Most of all I deeply appreciated how transdisciplinary Sam's thinking is — you can't pin down his expertise — and this allows for a wide-ranging, creative yet critical approach to designing responsive systems, continuous improvement strategies and social lab cultures.
- Lisa Grocott, Design Professor at Monash University, Australia
It's hard to know where to begin in describes Sam's role in Lifehack - put simply Lifehack in its current form would not have happened without his energy, enthusiasm and passion.
I saw his strengths blossom at Lifehack - communications, team development, strategy, finding sense in chaos, research and development, youth support, event/programme development and delivery. Lifehack in its early days needed Sam to be all of the above - and he rocked it.
He does has a special skill and focus on communicating the unknown in a form that makes sense. He is brilliant at thinking about the user - whether that is who is going to read the report he is writing, the tweet he is tweeting, the lecture he is about to give, or the programme he is developing.
Additionally Sam brings design and creativity into everything he does - he is one of the most holistic thinkers I know.
- Silvia Zuur, Director at PWC New Zealand, Aotearoa NZ
Sam is a mature and sophisticated thinker. He has a great ability to unpack and make sense of difficult challenges. He thrives in complexity and has a natural systems thinking ability. I believe he brings a 21st century edge to his thinking that any organisation will benefit from.
- Onur Eckinci, Co-Founder at Peer Academy, Australia
I worked with Sam when he was co-lead for Lifehack and I was on the Governance team. Sam and his colleagues were given a unique challenge - to develop new approaches to youth wellbeing - there was no clear path and an entirely different and experimental approach was needed. As co-lead Sam was able to build a strong team, lead bold experiments bringing together his knowledge and skills in co-design, social enterprise and wellbeing. As a result Sam and the team engaged 1000’s of people and many organisations around Aotearoa in new ways of working and thinking about youth wellbeing. Sam was central in leading NZ’s first youth wellbeing Social Lab, as well as developing subsequent Fellowship programmes and partnerships. Lifehack’s programmes seek to exemplify a commitment to co-design, community engagement, innovation and reflective practice and Sam was instrumental in building, enabling and promoting this approach. I appreciated Sam’s leadership, commitment and courage to try new things, ability to pivot when change was needed and humbly and effectively share the learnings from each experiment. I look forward to collaborating with Sam further in the future.
- Penny Hagen, Director at Auckland Co-Design Lab, Aotearoa NZ
Thanks for reading about some of the disciplines and ideas which inform my work. If you've made it this far, perhaps you'd like to connect for a chat?