Good Is The New Cool Sydney Recap: A Day Of Inspiration And Innovation

Afdhel Aziz
5 min readAug 18, 2019


Shani Langi from Usual Suspects introducing the first session

When we first dreamed of bringing Good is The New Cool to Australia a few months ago, we had no idea how powerful and meaningful this idea would be. On Saturday, August 17th at Lendlease in Sydney, we saw the most amazing collection of innovators, entrepreneurs, and citizens come together to celebrate the best of Australia and Australians working at the intersection of business, culture and social impact. Here’s a brief recap of what happened — and a sneak peek ahead to what you can experience in Melbourne on August 24th.

Isaiah Dawe (ID Know Yourself) and Marlee Silva (Tiddas4Tiddas)

In the ‘Know Your Purpose’ session, we kicked the day off with a heartfelt talk by Marlee Silva, co-founder of Tiddas4Tiddas, an incredible platform that is now an Instagram feed and podcast showcasing the achievements of indigenous women; a powerful reminder that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. Isaiah Dawe from ID Know Yourself told his raw and poignant story of growing up in foster care and how his wounds helped him find his purpose in making sure other aboriginal children like him are ‘never left behind or forgotten’. And David Ohana, Chief of Brand Building at UNICEF told us his remarkable story of ‘a boy from Oz’ who went on to work with some of the biggest superstars on the planet like Beyonce.

Nik and Harry Robinson, Co-Founders of GoodCitizens

Next up, in ‘Lead with the Cool’, we had Jade Slater and Sarah Spike from Cotton On Foundation taking us through the phenomenal work this ‘sleeping giant’ is doing in social impact; Sarah Meredith from Global Citizen Australia on how they use the power of cool with artists like Coldplay, Pharrell and Alicia Keys against their mission of ending extreme poverty’; and my personal highlight, Nik Robinson and his fearless and funny eight-year-old son Harry on how their family launched supercool sunglasses brand GoodCitizens to help fight ocean plastic pollution.

Kenny Singh from Microsoft

After a delicious lunch by TwoGoodCo (and even more delicious coffee from The Little Marionette), we kicked off our next session ‘Don’t Advertise Solve Problems’ with the remarkable Kenny Singh from Microsft. Visually impaired himself, he shared the life-changing work Microsoft is doing to help drive accessibility for all by treating ‘disability as a driver of innovation’. The hilarious and humble Dr. Kate Ringvall from IKEA shared the deep work the Swedish furniture giant is taking to turn itself into an avatar of the Circular Economy. And finally, the dynamic due of Paco and Beto, award-winning creative directors and co-founders of Activista shared their philosophy of ‘Acts Not Ads’ and how creativity can supercharge social impact.

Paco and Beto from Activista

In our final session ‘Think Citizens Not Consumers’, we had Alex Meyer from The Iconic give a deeply insightful talk on how the brand is championing storytelling that drives inclusivity and body positivity; Dr. Sam Prince, one of Australia’s most innovative entrepreneurs and the founder of Zambrero and One Disease speak movingly about ‘passing on the baton of kindness’ ; and we ended the day with glasses of wine and beer in our hands hearing the stories of Kari Allen, Co-Founder of Sparkke Change Brewing Company and David Laity from Goodwill Wine and how the alcohol industry can be a force for good.

Dr. Sam Prince, Founder of The Sam Prince Group, Zambrero and One Disease

And throughout the day, we were also privileged to have Innovation Sessions (interactive masterclasses in a more intimate setting) by some wonderfully inspiring folks: Caroline Ghatt, founder of Play For All, an initiative to make Australian playgrounds more inclusive; Susie Bayes from The Guardian Australia and Tim Mahlberg from League of Intrapreneurs on ‘How to be a Social Intrapreneur’ ; Megan Gilmour from Missing School, which is using telepresence robots to help sick kids be connected to school; Anna Sheppard from Bambuddha on ‘How Kindness Can Be a Competitive Advantage’; and Heidi Lenffer from FEAT on ‘How rock bands can save the planet’. Just really fantastic talks and lectures that gave people real and actionable insights to take back to work on Monday.

Susie Bayes from Guardian Australia and Tim Mahlberg from League of Intrapreneurs in one of the Masterclasses

What we witnessed on Saturday was the maxim that Margaret Mead declared: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ We hope the day reminded everyone of two things: one, that ‘you are enough’; it doesn’t matter who you are or what access to resources you have, you can always make a difference in the world. And two, ‘you are not alone’; there is a tribe of people in Australia and out there in the world who believe in the same things as you do: that a life of purpose and meaning is a life worth pursuing, and that being of service to others is one of the most fulfilling and exciting things you can do with your time on this planet.

My favorite quote from an attendee: “It’s not often I walk away from an event changed so profoundly. I found my tribe. Unexpectedly, I found me.”

This world isn’t perfect. But we can leave it in slightly better shape than we found it.

Join us in Melbourne on August 24th for an equally exciting day, with new speakers from companies like Adidas, thankyou, Who Gives a Crap, and Giant Leap Fund.

For tickets and more info, please visit:

With huge thanks to our sponsors, Cotton On Foundation, Little Marionette Coffee, Sparkke Change Brewery, TwoGoodCo, Good Will Wines, Good Beer Co, University of Sydney Business School, Innovative, Rooy, Humanitix, and the League of Intrapreneurs.

And with eternal gratitude to Usual Suspects Creative, our spectacular ‘partners-in-purpose’ in bringing the conference to Australia, and UNLTD, our charity partner, for all their hard work. We did it!

#goodisthenewcool #thepowerofpurpose #conspiracyoflove #makenosmallplans

Afdhel and Bobby



Afdhel Aziz

Founder, Conspiracy of Love,a brand purpose consultancy | Author, ‘Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn’ | Keynote Speaker