The Max Factor (e-newsletter no. 4)

July 2015
Max Hardy Consulting

Check out the contents of this e-newsletter if you are interested in community engagement, deliberative democracy, collective impact or appreciative inquiry!

I’ve been told that this is the coldest winter in 20 years for Melbourne. Despite that, Angela and I are not complaining much. We have been enjoying some fabulous restaurants, concerts, and having the most hectic time socializing we can ever remember. It is a special place, that’s for sure!

Apart from my consulting work I am also partnering with Angela and Bruce Joy on a new business venture; FinerDiners. More about this exciting new business next e-newsletter!

Flinders St Station at night. Just 200 metres from our front door!


What I’m up to!


Influencing the decision makers

Micaela Drieberg and I are delivering this course together in Melbourne on the 16th July, 2015. It will be very practical, fun and based on years of collective experience. There are some spaces left so be quick if you want to learn more about engaging decision-makers, and supporting them to become sponsors of inclusive and sophisticated planning processes. To find out more with the option of registering dive in here!

NDIS Citizens’ Jury

The NDIS Citizens’ Jury has come, been launched and completed, and it has generated a huge amount of interest. The reply from the NDIA has been very positive as well.

What’s it all about? Well, it’s about generating a scorecard on Australian’s progress in implementing our most significant social reform for over decades. Check out this short film, skillfully produced by the talented Lara Damiani to find out more.

Settling in to Melbourne, seriously!

I’ve been feeling quite settled for awhile now, but seeing my name and logo outside the Place Lab door in Flinders St certainly confirms it. Thoroughly enjoying my shared space at Place Lab, and I'm now beginning to work on some projects with people I didn’t know previously. It’s what hubs are all about!

Slime Mould – Collective Impact Practitioners Network

The next Collective Impact networking event is fast approaching. Why is it called Slime Mould? Check this blog.

So much to learn from this incredibly resourceful and generous group of people. This time it will be held near Melbourne. Can’t wait to dive in. It is apparent that there is growing interest in Collective Impact around the globe and we need to become increasingly resourceful to support collaborative endeavours using this approach. For more information about Collective Impact check out

Collaboration for Impact

Seminal article on collective impact.

Peer Academy

I have hosted my three sessions with Peer Academy and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I plan to offer similar and different sessions between now and the end of the year. The one I am feeling most excited about will be titled ‘Experiments in Democracy’. Hope you can join me!

collab aug reality

There are so many other interesting sessions on offer. Go to Peer Academy to check them all out.


Capire and I continue to work with Yarra City Council – a deliberative process related to a re-write of their planning scheme. Deliberative Forums will commence early August.

I am halfway through a project working with Bayside City Council alongside Kylie Long, from Peer Academy, to develop a policy on where and how to install footpaths. It’s been quite fascinating and again the community has risen to the occasion, and offering very constructive advice.

Melbourne Water have invited Micaela Drieberg and I to deliver two days of training over coming weeks. I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with this organisation (I think it’s been about 5 years since I worked with them).

Regional Development Western Australia

Early days as yet, but thrilled to be invited by GHD to work with them on an immensely important project. Drawing on a number of frameworks, such as collective impact, collaborative governance and appreciative inquiry we will be working with up to 9 regions across Western Australia.



I will soon be offering a series of public courses. Here are some of the courses! Let me know which ones interest you the most.

• Place activation, co-design and community engagement – It was perhaps inevitable that the effervescent Gilbert Rochecouste and I would join forces to develop a course like this one. Due to be offered as a public course around September at Donkey Wheel House in Melbourne. Look out for this one if placemaking is something you are committed to and keen to learn more about!

• Re-imagining leadership in community engagement –  I am developing and co-delivering this coure with Micaela Drieberg. A course for elected representatives, CEO’s and other power brokers who are being confronted by new challenges and opportunities in the 21st century.

• Experiments in Democracy – exploring different ways that decision makers can draw on the collective wisdom of citizens to inform policy making and program development for complex issues. It will include case studies where citizens’ juries have been used, as well as other innovations in deliberation.

• Framing Issues for Creative Solutions – we will explore strategic questioning, dilemma framing, and scoping issues in such a way that creative solutions are generated.

• Collaborative Governance – we will examine how we can apply a pathway for collaborating to our most complex challenges. It will include theory, case studies and interactive sessions so that all participants take away something tangible for their specific challenges.

• Appreciative Inquiry for transformative processes- this course will involve presenting an introduction to Appreciative Inquiry (AI), and then using AI to identify the key factors to help all participants to be more effective change agents within their organisations, or for working with organisations. 

• Community Engagement in Health – in this course we will consider how engaging the community is not only necessary, but utterly pragmatic with regard to health issues. It will include case studies, frameworks for community and patient engagement, and extract key learnings from the experience of all participants.

• Trends in community engagement – in this course we will consider some trends over the past 25 years, and consider a range of frameworks, principles and techniques. It will be especially useful for those organisations who are ready to review and update their policies and strategies with regard to community engagement.

I am also continuing to develop a capacity building package with Diana Renner (co-author of ‘Not-Knowing’) for organisations wanting to respond more effectively to their complex challenges. I’m really looking forward to working with Diana.

In recent months I have been building a relationship with the very talented team at the Hargraves Institute. If you want to truly embed a culture of, and systems for, innovation then these are great people with whom to work. To get a taste of their approach read Allan Ryan’s recent blog on how people management delivers innovation.

Coaching - I continue offering coaching services for executives, project managers and collaboration/engagement practitioners. These can be provided for a set period of time (3 months - 24 months). 

Shadow consulting – It looks like this will become an increasingly important way for me to work; supporting other consultants in their practice. Excited about some new relationships with some very talented and committed consultants, including some outside of Australia.

Deliberative Democracy Projects – I will continue to partner with other practitioners and organisations to design and facilitate citizens’ juries, deliberative forums and other processes, working with Emily Jenke and Emma Lawson of Democracy Co, newDemocracy, and Danielle Annells (also known as the ‘Collaboration Whisperer’)


Danielle Annells

Contact me if you'd like to discuss any of these offerings.


Latest Blog

collab aug reality

I have written a blog about Trends in Community Engagement. There have been many comments where I posted it on Linked in as well. If you want to know what is happening and where things are heading then check it out and leave some comments.


Events/Learning Opportunities

2015 IAP2 North American Conference

Portland, Oregon

Sept 9-11, 2015

Sadly I can’t be there but I will be skyping in a guest for a session about re-imagining the IAP2 Spectrum being led by Stephani McCallum.

IAP2 Perth - Influence, Engage and Lead and will be held in Perth, Western Australia from 14-16 October, 2015. Micaela Drieberg and I will be facilitating a session about working with leaders at this Conference! I have also recently been approached to codeliver a session on the IAP2 Spectrum with two very talented and smart people, Amanda Newbery and Joel Levin.

World Appreciative Inquiry Conference Johannesburg

Another I won’t be able to get to but can heartily recommend.

The Unconference – participant driven conversations that matter

Announcing TWO 2015 Unconferences! 
NSW: 15-18 September 
VIC: 23-27 November

Really looking forward to this one. It’s not often one is asked to be a Key Agitator. This is an opportunity for those wanting to learn more about ABCD, Asset Based Community Development.

Collective Impact Conference Sydney – 16-17 July, Sydney.

So sorry not to be attending this one, but can’t be everywhere I guess. For those wanting to learn from others who are learning how to use the Collective Impact approach to respond to complex issues.

How to become a Peer Academy Host – Melbourne, 14th July.

A most worthwhile class to attend if you want to offer your own classes through this dynamic new learning organism.

Partnership Brokering Courses

I can thoroughly recommend either of these courses.

AdelaidePartnering Essentials with Ian Dixon, August.

Brisbane – with Marcia Dwonczyk, September.


Collective Impact Case Study

Here is yet another case study for you to check out, with regard to Collective Impact.

Franklin County Communities that Care

The Communities that Care Coalition (CTCC), a Collective Impact initiative, aimed to address the issue of substance abuse and improve the overall well being of young people in Franklin County.

In 2000, rates of substance abuse among young people in Franklin County were recorded to be higher than regional and national figures, leading to great concern amongst leaders within the community. The CTCC was developed in order to address the issue of substance abuse including “to promote protective factors, reduce risk factors, prevent substance use and other risky behaviours, and improve young people's ability to reach their full potential and thrive.” Importantly, it aims to bring together community groups including schools, parents and young people to address these issues.

It was discovered that social services already in place to tackle the problem of substance abuse were not in collaboration or coordination with each other, limiting their ability to adequately create sustained change within the community. Alternatively, the CTCC has utilised the principles of collective impact including a common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support.

Community Action and the Partnership for Youth are two organisations working in collaboration to deliver the Coalition’s projects. In coordination with local community leaders, they met to discuss the issues of alcohol and drug use among young people, conducted training and working sessions, as well as planning and implementing programs to address the issues at hand.

The success of the CTCC is evident through changes in the behaviour of young people, with a 37% decrease in the use of alcohol, 50% decrease in binge drinking, 45% decrease in cigarette smoking and 31% decrease in marijuana use.

Throughout the duration of the project, a number of lessons were learned. Firstly, community ownership of the project was recognised as “a key aspect for effective work distribution” and in order to facilitate an informed and deeper understanding on the needs of the community. CTCC has found that “collective ownership” of project success helped to keep efforts united, and as such, CTCC made sure to emphasis the role that each partner played in the successes. Secondly, for organisations to work collectively, it is important that they are simultaneously “rigid in vision and goal, but flexible in strategy”. Thirdly, the CTCC faces several challenges, particularly related to its rural context. Funding was difficult to mobilise due to the absence of firm foundations and access to funding opportunities, as well as a “distance from state policy making.” The CTCC found it important to “leverage relationships” in order to secure resources such as staff support, in-kind support, human resources and funding for program evaluation and implementation to overcome such challenges. Overall the CTCC has been able to mobilise over $5 million in funding.

For more information go to Franklin County Communities that Care site.


What I’ve enjoyed reading

What is community engagement? Crispin Butteriss.

The Emergence of ABCD in Australia and the Asia Pacific – posted by Dee Brooks.

Four Conditions that Leaders Create for Innovation to Thrive

Eight North American Cities Doing Public Engagement Right

Two health organisations doing it well with regard to consumer and community engagement in health. You can tell just by their websites!

• Austin Health, Victoria

• Capital Health, Nova Scotia


Other resources

‘Bubbles with Becky’ – from Becky Hirst.

Blogs at Articulous - by Amanda Newbery and her team.

Case Studies and Bibliography Activedemocracy - by Prof Lyn Carson

Collaboration for Impact - Kerry Graham and Dawn O'Neill

Tamarack Institute - Lyn Weaver and many others.

Bang the Table - Crispin Butteriss and team 

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation 

IAP2 Australasia

Jeder Institute - About Asset Based Community Development.

Appreciative Inquiry Australia

Commgodigital – Blogs from Public Sector Communications and Community Engagement Professionals.

Twyfords Blogs - from Vivien Twyford, Stuart Waters, John Dengate and co.

Social Light – Shining on stakeholder engagement, social enterprise and business innovation for a more sustainable tomorrow – curated by Leanne Griffin


Below, one of Melbourne's vibrant laneways. Do you know which one it is?