Max Hardy Consultancy

"The Max Factor" (e-newsletter no. 3)

Despite some not liking the title of this newsletter, I am sticking with the Max Factor for 2015.  Anyway, this issue includes another blog, some news of some new offerings, and some information about other worthwhile events.

If you have any suggestions about future events you believe are worth promoting, please let me know.

Photo by Claudio Raschella
Closing stages of the NDIS Citizens’ Jury.


What I’m up to!

I’m really looking forward to another couple of days with the Collective Impact network in July. So much to learn from this incredibly resourceful and generous group of people. This time it will be held near Melbourne. Can’t wait!

NDIS Citizens’ Jury

The NDIS Citizens’ Jury Scorecard will be launched in Geelong on the 19th May. A 12-minute film, produced by the very impressive Lara Damiani, will be shown, and a Q & A session with a panel will be held, to help tell the story of the process and outcome.  I am really looking forward to being a participant on this panel, s opposed to facilitating it!

Check here more information about the launch and also please check out Craig Wallace’s blog about the process.

Photo by Claudio Raschella – The jury taking it all in.


Peer Academy

I have hosting three sessions with Peer Academy over coming weeks.

The first will be on 27th May ‘How to Persuade a Politician’, which I am co-hosting with the brilliant Micaela Drieberg. 

The second will be held on 2nd June on The Art of Strategic Questioning.

Then, on 23rd June I will be hosting a session on Appreciative Inquiry.  I hope some of you can join these sessions.

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

I will be hosting another session through Peer Academy in July or August titled ‘Experiments in Democracy’. More on that next newsletter.



Capire and I have started work with Yarra City Council – a deliberative process related to a re-write of their planning scheme. The broader community engagement process will be underway shortly, followed by some citizens’ jury type workshops from July. It will be a very interesting process to be facilitating.

I have just commenced working with Bayside City Council on the development of a Footpath Connectivity Strategy. I’m fortunate to be working with Kylie Long on this project – a joy!

VicRoads – I’m working with VicRoads as they prepare to work with stakeholders and the community to ‘fix’ the worst intersection in Melbourne.  This is really exciting.

I am working with a hospital network to help their workforce to adapt to major changes – including the establishment of a highest category tertiary hospital with a major research facility. I will be using an Appreciative Inquiry approach for this work.

I have been invited to facilitate several meetings of late for early partnerships in rural locations in Victoria as they embrace a collective impact approach to addressing issues of educational disadvantage.

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).



Micaela Drieberg and I are delivering a public course about engaging and Influencing Decision Makers on 16th July. The first 15 to book in will receive a discount so don’t wait too long.  We are both really looking forward to sharing what we have learned, and learning about your experiences. So wonderful to do this with Micaela, who is an ex-Mayor and current councilor, an academic and a consultant.

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

• Experiments in Democracy – exploring different ways that decision makers can draw on the collective wisdom of citizens to inform policy making 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 demanded.

• 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 organizations, or for working with organizations. 

• 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 leanings 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 organizations who are ready to review and update their policies and strategies with regard to community engagement.

I am also developing 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. Check out the recent blog about my recent conversations with Diana.

Coaching - I am still 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.

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


Latest Blog

This blog arose after some really stimulating conversation with Diana Renner. It’s about complexity, appreciative inquiry and about adapting.

Hope you like it!



2015 IAP2 North American Conference

Portland, Oregon

Sept 9-11, 2015

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!

World Appreciative Inquiry Conference Johannesburg

The Unconference – participant driven conversations that matter

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


Collective Impact Case Study

This is the second case study I have shared - this time about a project based in Rochester, New York. More evidence of the value of an asset based/collective impact approach.

Project HOPE

Project HOPE, meaning, Health Outcomes through Participation, Education, and Empowerment, was initiated by local residents to improve the health of their ethically diverse community of North Clinton Avenue.

As an alternative to previous programs, which were problems focused and driven with a top down approach and by outside agencies, Project HOPE involves the direct involvement of the community with an assets based approach. It operates with grant support from The Greater Rochester Foundation and is managed by the Ibero-American Development Corporation. Importantly, the project encourages residents to speak out, but also encourages them to take action.

Initially, residents undertook an assessment to identify community strengths, followed by the identification of focus areas including drugs and alcohol, youth development, public safety, personal lifestyle changes and healthy opportunities. A collaborative plan was then developed among groups in the community including its local residents, churches, schools and local government. Community groups meet on a monthly basis, often in resident’s homes with the focus of these meetings to talk about opportunities to improve the neighbourhood. Group representatives meet with council on a quarterly basis to discuss progress within the neighbourhood. 

The work of the community has led to a number of initiatives including the construction of community gardens which are maintained by residents, the construction of a playground by the community to foster a safe environment for children to play, the implementation of community clean-up days, public art projects which positively display resident’s talents, the development of a produce stand in an area once considered unsafe and neighbourhood walks which focus on local illicit drug use and offer assistance to those affected by drug use in the community.

Although it took time for Project HOPE to gain the trust of the community, the project is reported by residents to have made a drastic improvement in the community, including developing a sense of unity and hope for the future of its residents.

For more information:



Interesting Article

This is really amazing and quite disturbing. About what community consultation is meant to be about – according to a NSW judge. I think my next blog will be asking and responding to questions such as:

• What is community consultation/engagement actually for?

• Who can determine it’s scope and purpose?

• What happens when we regard inputs or outputs as success measures?

I’d love to know your thought about this one.


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

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


Below - a photo of Melbourne on a beautiful Autumn morning. Loving this city!