we increase the revenue, reach and impact of world-changing endeavours
We’ve been around the block a few times, made some mistakes and had some success. We’ve been involved with health, social and environmental ventures for over twenty years and in that time we’ve chained ourselves to trees, started organic restaurants, sustainable cleaning companies, natural health clinics and even a political party.
We’ve owned marketing and advertising agencies, branding and design firms and web development companies, and have worked with thousands of individuals and organisations dedicated to the common good.
We back our convictions by investing in projects whose activities contribute to a healthier, safer, fairer and more sustainable world; in the breaths in between, we contribute to the evolution of the impact sector by rolling up our sleeves, getting down on the floor and challenging, debating and pushing the edges.
We try not to take ourselves too seriously – which can be kind of tough at times, given what we do and who we do it with – but we also don’t consider that either your venture or the issues it’s disrupting – can afford the luxury of taking more than one chance to get it right.
We don’t just stand on the sidelines and provide dispassionate strategic advice. We take sides.
“I’m a commercialisation strategist, systems thinker, writer, speaker and agitator – and for the past twenty years have been focused on founding, catalysing and commercialising sustainable ventures with a view to shifting the needle.
I’ve worked actively across four continents with organisations at all levels of development, with the primary focus being to create coherent and sustainable organisations that operate in integrity with their founding principles. I’ve read thousands of business plans and support the interrogation of go-to-market and commercialisation strategies in order to ensure that documentation presented to potential investors and partners is accurate and effective.
I’m structure-agnostic – in short, I believe in neither the inherent performance-benefits of for-profit or the ethical benefits of non-profit; I believe that all organisations have a responsibility to minimise waste and maximise impact and should reward their stakeholders appropriately.
I’ve been an innovator in sustainable ventures in Australia and amongst other things:
- setup the first organic restaurant
- setup the first environmental cleaning company
- setup the first dedicated cause marketing consultancy
- am a long-term advisor to One Health Organisation
- am a former committee member of the Natural Health Care Alliance (a governing body that worked to bring together 140 disparate professional organizations)
- am a former executive committee member of The Big Issue (Qld).
- have overseen services to over 400 projects – from micro business to multi national – in nine countries in the past four years alone
My company operations are virtualised allowing me to move freely around the world in response to my interests and the needs of my partners and clients. I’m currently in San Francisco
The uncompromise framework for organisational change has its roots in transpersonal psychology.
Based upon almost twenty years founding, advising and accelerating mission-driven ventures, the process transforms organisations into movements and provides clear, direct and measurable impacts to founders, CEOs and leadership teams.
We provide an end-to-end commercialisation solution, incorporating a range of services including vision refinement, strategic planning, preparation for funding, capital raising, organisational architecture, identity design, marketing and communications, project management and general operations.
Our core protocol – the (re)visioning process – holds space for primary stakeholders to take a deep dive into the organisation’s vision for impact as a pre-cursor to reviewing and redesigning the organisations strategy, structure and operational model. Personally delivered by Cameron Burgess in a one to three day hot-house, the process has proven highly effective in clarifying and re-aligning an organisation in order to achieve more revenue, reach and impact.
We work with a multi-disciplinary, multi-national team of senior consultants and rather than shoe-horn your project into the capabilities of a staffing pool, we develop teams specific to meeting your needs.
uncompromise has provided hundreds of thousands in pro bono in the past decade, not including a combination of board positions with a number of innovative non-profits:
we work with people who are passionate about changing the world for the better, have ideas that can reach epic scale, and the time and resources to make it happen; if that sounds like you, we should definitely talk
uncompromise is actively invested in a number of internal projects, all contributing in some way to a more just, equitable, sustainable and loving world.
Individuals and organisations working for good generally produce their own unique content in order to share news, information and unique perspectives with their stakeholders. While genius, expertise and insight can arise from anywhere, it seems as if those with the resources, connections and capital to make themselves heard frequently drown out many others in an exponentially competitive digital environment. Currently in closed beta, icologi offers a unique digital publishing service to individuals, organisations and communities working for good.
WellnessConnect is the largest dedicated marketing agency for the natural health and wellness market in Australia, and one of the largest in the world. Through a combination of action learning, provision of service and engagement with key industry partners, WellnessConnect has touched the lives of thousands of health and wellness business owners and, by extension, millions of individuals who are committed to a more natural approach to healthcare.
W1SDØM provides unique opportunities to collaborate in the development and evolution of sustainable ventures. The service leverages workflow tools and social networks, providing a venue for agents of change to collaborate in service to sustainability. We believe strongly that information technology — when coupled with the right intention and application — will continue to improve the way humans connect.
As the lines between our personal and professional lives become increasingly blurred, and we rely more and more upon social media to maintain our connections, the avenues for open and authentic dialog seem to be shrinking. In response we felt compelled to launch naughtiyogi – an open confessional created in support of being unashamedly human. It’s a non-judgemental community grounded in mutual trust and respect, one where you have the opportunity to share your greatest challenges, inconsistencies and confusions, and learn from the contributions and feedback of others who are similarly motivated.
Ten Toes Yoga
While yoga is an ever-growing phenomenon in the west, we have discovered that most people don’t fully appreciate that it not only augments other practises and disciplines, but can also potentially replace them. Ten Toes has consistently approached yoga with the understanding that strength, flexibility and peace of mind can be achieved through asana without the need to engage with the esoteric, the mystical or the magical. With three inner city studios in Brisbane, Australia, Ten Toes is one of the most respected yoga studio brands in Queensland.
On December 18, 2014 I visited Amman, Jordan, to participate in #DDX – a conference hosted by the Munathara Initiative. Founded by Belabbes Benkrada in response to the Arab Spring, Munathara is a Tunisian-based online and television debate forum that aims to foster the participation of youth, women and marginalized communities in Arab public discourse. The theme of this conference was ‘There Won’t Be Change Unless”, and all 24 participants – previous winners of Munathara’s debates – were invited to present their own view on what this meant. We had poetry, song, rap and dance and a number of stirring and inspiring speeches (translated on the fly via Facebook Messenger so that I could follow along!).
I was the only Westerner invited to present, and feel both humbled and honoured by the manner in which all participants in this groundbreaking endeavour engaged with me. I’ll be writing more about how my experience here in the Middle East has transformed me and my theory of change soon. In the meantime, however, this is the transcript of the talk I delivered.
We live in potent times. Every day, it seems, brings us simultaneously closer to extinction and salvation. Every day we observe and experience the unconscionable brutality and the incontrovertible compassion of humanity in equal measure. Every day we turn on the tv, tune in the radio or jump online to discover that, in ways both large and small, the human species has both honoured and failed not only its future generations, but its current ones as well.
And, if you’re anything like me, every day you wake with the fervent hope that on this day you might contribute to shaping something new, something better, something lasting. Perhaps, on this day, in this place, at this time, you might participate in writing a new human history.
Yet hope, as profound a force as it’s considered to be, is not what we need in order to effect world change. Hope, as much as it might be a beacon that gets us back on our feet when we’ve been knocked down, is false.
Hope takes us away from the reality of our experience and transports us to a fantasy that makes the intolerable at least passingly acceptable.
In this way, hope makes us unwitting accomplices to all that we would seek to change. I am not suggesting, however, that the solution is to be hopeless, simply that being hopeful is not the same as being helpful.
Over the past twenty years I’ve been fortunate to travel the globe and work with thousands of individuals and organizations working to create a better world. And what I have both observed and experinced is that humans are all essentially the same.
We are born to love, and learn to hate, are born fearless and learn to fear, are born innocent and learn guilt, are born free and learn imprisonment.
No matter who we are, where we are or where we have come from – man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, light-skinned, dark-skinned or somewhere in between – we all want fundamentally the same thing – the right to live and to love peacefully and joyfully regardless of our seeming differences.
And perhaps because of this idea that there is a ‘me’ and a ‘you’ and a vast gap in between, we fail to realise that we are not as different as we believe. We feel the same, think the same and adhere to what are fundamentally the same ideologies. In our world – the world in which we’re standing today, a world in which we believe that we can be a vast and powerful force for good –
we seem to spend far too much time in service to ‘difference’ – and convincing others that they should think as we think and act as we act – rather than pausing and recognising just how alike we are.
Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are powering tens of millions of organizations and deploying more than $350 billion a year toward solving our most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges. Yet while there can be no denying that we have made – and continue to make – great strides forward, there can be also no denying that we are now facing the greatest collective crises in recorded human history.
We are at war – let there be no doubt about it. We are at war with superstition and foolishness and willful ignorance; we are at war with corruption, disease and moral deficiency, with failing national economies, dictatorial regimes, corporate personhood, gross over-consumption, drug trafficking, human trafficking and greed. Worst of all, we’re at war with each other.
And while an enormous amount of time, energy and enthusiasm has been expended to reverse this suicidal pattern, despite at least $10 trillion being deployed through philanthropy, foreign aid and impact investment over the past fifty years, all we can say with any degree of certainty is that, collectively, things have got worse.
So what does this tell us? Does philanthropy work? Does foreign aid? Does capitalism, democracy, debate or prayer?
The answer, I believe, is sometimes – but certainly not always.
Perhaps, after millennia of seeking to reshape the world according to our desires it’s time to permit the world to reshape us according to its.
Perhaps it’s time to remember that we are children of god and not gods ourselves.
So what are the preconditions for change? Who do we need to be, what do we need to know, what do we need to have and what do we need to do in order to usher in a new era of compassion, intelligence, equality and, dare I say it, love?
From my experience, I believe there won’t be change unless we change.
There won’t be change unless we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we have become so comfortable, so arrogant and so righteous in holding others to.
There won’t be change unless we consider the possibility that, despite our accumulated knowledge, intelligence and experience we may, in fact, be wrong. About everything. There won’t be change unless we are willing to learn from the past and break with the past simultaneously.
There won’t be change unless we use both our hearts and our minds, unless we embrace reason and devotion equally and we are more interested in being loving than we are in being right.
There won’t be change unless the young hold hands with the old; unless women and men are offered equal opportunities in education, business and public service; unless the accident of our birth – our race, our gender and who we are predisposed to love is something we no longer feel compelled to defend.
There won’t be change unless we are willing to let go of all that we use to define us as ‘different’ – age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, education, language, economic power, intelligence, beauty – and begin to see each other as family.
There won’t be change unless we wake up to the sheer lunacy of destroying the the environmental systems we all depend upon for our survival.
There won’t be change unless we are willing to get up off our knees and stand for what we believe; unless we are prepared to risk – everything – in the quest for a better life for all. Finally,
there won’t be change unless we realize that nobody – absolutely nobody – is coming to save us.
We’re all culpable of course for the state of the world – perhaps some more so than others. And as I’ve spent time in the company of these remarkable youth over the past few days I feel some small measure of remorse for the fact that, while you’ve probably done the least to contribute to the colossal problems we’re facing in almost every aspect of the human experience, we’re now relying upon you, to a lesser or greater degree, to fix them.
It’s not my intention to dull your enthusiasm. If anything, it’s to sharpen its edge, to ensure that as you go out into the world and continue to commit yourselves to being the movement we so desperately need, that you have access to the weapons you need to be successful in this war, to bring about massive change, and to catalyse, focus and unleash the immense force you carry within you both individually and collectively.
Despite having access to more information and more resources in any given moment than at any other moment before in history, despite our various communication technologies having shrunk the world to the size of a pinhead upon which angels might dance, despite the global economy being valued at somewhere in the region of $36 trillion a day and we (in the west at least) living lives that would surpass an ancient greek’s conception of how life must have looked on Mount Olympus; despite being healthier, happier, more self-aware and more informed than at any other time in recorded human history, the only way we are likely to win is if we finally, inevitably and undeniably realise that the cost of losing is everything.
We’ve always had what we needed to make change. It’s always been right here, scratching away at our awareness, but we’ve been far too measured, far too nice, and far too diplomatic for far too long to get the message through – to ourselves and to others. When I look out at the state of the world, I don’t think there can be any denying that diplomacy has failed.
The greatest weapons we have at our disposal – the greatest weapons we’ve ever had – are our intellects, our hearts and our self-awareness.
Cultivate these, hone your intellect to a razor sharp point, open your heart more and more so that, rather than become inured to the suffering of the world, you can carry more of it, and use it as the fuel you need to warm yourself, feed yourself and light your way whenever you feel cold and hungry and alone. And you will. Above all else, if you don’t have any sort of self awareness practise – yoga, meditation, dance or prayer – then get one.
While we may well be at war – and I’m sure there are some here who would disagree with this – there can be no denying that we are – all of us, every single one of us – in service to the gods. We are in service to the gods of war and the gods of abundance, the gods of wisdom and the gods of love.
We are in service to the gods.
This work that we’re all here doing, this cause with which we’re engaged, is both an honour and a responsibility. It’s also the most inspiring, rewarding and necessary work, and I’m constantly humbled by the fervour, the courage and the commitment of every single changemaker I meet.
On the walls of the oracle at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi are inscribed two words that more than any others can shape, inform and guide us as we continue down this path:
After all, if we do nothing other than come to a deeper appreciation of who we are, if we can begin to see ourselves more fully in each other, if by our very way of moving in the world we can demonstrate to those around us through our quiet self-assurance the relative rightness of an approach to living that recognises all things as sacred, surely this, above all else, is what Gandhi spoke of when he exhorted us to ‘be the change’.
As you continue down this path – not just today, but in the days, weeks, months and years that follow, remember the words of the beloved 13th Century Sufi mystic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī:
Live where you fear to live
Successful entrepreneurs share one fundamentally common trait … they identify gaps in a market and develop a bridge to generate, at the very least, a measurable, replicable and sustainable result.
In Australia there are approximately 600,000 non-profits – one for every forty men, women and children in the country. The US, by comparison has one for every two hundred – a much lower number for a nation many believe to supersize everything. Some view the size of our third sector as an indicator of how much better we take care of our citizens. Yet others, myself included, are perturbed at the ever-increasing replication of effort across not only non-profits, but the rapidly expanding social enterprise sector as well.
While there are many places we could call home, we believe that home is the ground beneath our feet.We are highly flexible in our location, and are generally free to travel to anywhere in the world to support world-changing endeavours. We’re not the ‘we only fly business class’ sort of people, as much as that always sounds like fun. We’re comfortable taking the road less travelled, and view every engagement as an adventure in making friends, working hard and changing lives. We live mobile and digital, so here are all the ways you can most easily reach us:
Ben Love - GrassRoots IT
Janice Sangha Mitra - One World Academy | Jimi Wollumbin - One Health Organisation | Julie Gibson & Helen Travers | HITnet | David Hood | Doing Something Good
Danny Almagor - Small Giants | Tim Rayner - Philosophy for Change
Dirk Sampselle - Benefit Corporation | Ben Burgess - West Australian Youth Music Association | Jack Wilde - Nomad NRG | Rachel Paterson - Paterson PR | Glenda Hamilton - Rescue Foods
Jennifer Lopez - PopTech | Heidi Cuppari - IDE | Thea O'Connor - Nap Now | Katie Jagmin - TBC | Barry Petrovski - TBC
Amy Stallard - SSE Australia | Kathryn Ananda - Source Creative | Tom Dawkins - StartSomeGood.com | Rosie Thomas - Project Rockit | Sean Watson & Kelli Donovan - Pure Pod | Vlad Shchelkunov - YourEcoSteps.com.au | Glistening Deepwater - allisasis.info | Nick Byrne - Bridge Fellows | Pip Devine - TBC | Scott Perlman - TBC | Keira Minter - Five Millennia | Guinevere Rose - Story of Your Life Healing & Massage | Emma Che Martin - TBC | Jean Russell - Thrivable Inc | Adrian Vanisse - ClimateFirst Foundation | Brian E. Kurtz - TBC | Nicole Duryea - TBC | Simone O'Brien - Knit Plastic in Crises | Tania Sernia - Do Good Radio | Mikey Leung - Digital StoryTeller