Sometimes, we amaze ourselves.

So it was at Mad Men (and women) Melbourne on Wednesday. Another huge success for our event series. A full house, a fantastic atmosphere, and most importantly some seriously creative ideas from the competitive teams trying to win $10,000 on how to best promote a NABERS rating for buildings.

Howard Parry-Husbands

This project, in collaboration with NABERS, is evolving in style and substance, with a nice balance of networking, competitive ideas generation, insights into human nature and how to influence it (for green and good), as well as some wonderful displays of how inspired and generous this sustainability industry of ours is.

Among the delegates were EnergyAction, Hux Connect, ISPT, CBRE, Savills, SATEC Global, Dexus, Ausnviro, City of Melbourne, Sustainability Victoria, Ecovantage and a host of individuals who came without their corporate hats. Several teams were collaborative, which was great to see.

But the real question is, let’s face it: is Melbourne actually more imaginative than Sydney? Does it really deserve to keep laying claim to the most creative city in Australia? Hmmm. We had some great ideas from the Sydney Mad Men crew too, but not many have lodged their submissions to claim the national prize yet.

And here’s a heads up: One idea was a bit similar (actually quite similar) to one that came out of Sydney. But maybe a touch more refined. (You’ll have to read our coverage next week to find out which one, Envizi team. And you have only until 9 June to lodge your entry.)

On Wednesday Pollinate’s Howard Parry-Husbands, our MC, was a huge hit, again.

One delegate said told us he was floored by how good Parry-Husbands was.

“One of the best presenters I’ve seen.”

We agree.

Also great was oOh!Media’s chief executive Adam Cadwallader, whose company has a huge number of buildings in its portfolio of digital advertising outlets, such as screens in lifts and lobbies (among other things like Junkee Media, which it’s recently acquired).

We didn’t realise how big Ooh! was until we researched them a bit and found the its planned merger with the APN Outdoor Group that would create a massive “$1.6 billion billboard advertising powerhouse” had to be dropped because the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission flagged concerns. You have to be big to get that kind of attention from the ACCC.

Why is this crowd important? Because it knows how to sell messages. Our objective in question. Not the medium mind, the message. This is what it says about itself on its website:

“We create deep engagement between people and brands through unmissable location-based media solutions,” their self descriptor says.

Carlos Flores, NABERS

“We combine … extensive reach with sophisticated data, industry leading insights and world leading digital innovation, integrating our physical inventory with experiential, social and mobile online channels to provide clients with greater connections with consumers.”

It cites:

  • Lift displays achieve an engagement of 98 per cent
  • The Locate Lift and Lobby portfolio achieves an engagement rate of 91 per cent
  • More than 82 per cent make significant purchases for their workplace

Are you starting to see our sense of excitement here for the potential to use those highly effective mediums to spruik a green message?

Artist Jaqueline Hannigan was on hand to capture the imagination

Our third speaker, Craig Roussac, well-known to these pages, again brought insights into how humans and machines interact, how much you can cut energy for instance, with no capital expenditure, just changes in human behaviour.

Again, some very useful data. And you need this data to get away from the rubbish that the wrong spruikers will try to sell you.

In Roussac’s world, getting a better outcome is about a different way of framing, a different view.

Love it.

So too Parry-Husbands’ presentation when he talked about values and how effectively these had been tapped to create a vastly more consumerist society than we had 20 years. Why?

Because what’s been flipped once can be flipped again.

Mad Men NABERS Creative Stars competition details:

More stories soon

Yoga session at Miss Sydney pageant.

Fashion as a statement and an outcome

Fashion. You’d think fashion was probably the most consumerist wasteful industry on the planet. Even more so than electronic gadgets and Christmas presents.

But check out what’s happening in the land of the fashionistas. Turns out they also love the planet and want to see it hang around in good shape so that they can shimmy-shimmy their way to the next social gathering and attract glances of admiration with impunity.

Willow’s story this week is a joy to read. The human spirit is good. It wants to do good. All it needs is for the right light to shine on its shop front to see it respond.

Well that’s what you can’t help but think when you read about clothes and shoes made from rubbish. We kid you not.

And how “fabrics distilled from fossil fuels or woven from chemical-drenched water-hogging broad-acre GMO cotton are so last season”. (And forever last season now, we reckon.)

Discarded plastic bottles ending up as boots; Adidas (bless their organic cotton socks) with sports shoes made from “95 per cent recycled marine plastic waste and five per cent recycled nylon”.

We don’t want greenwash, we said to Willow in the news conference discussing this story. We don’t want to give a free plug to some outfit who does a line in something good so it can get back to it’s 95 per cent trash.

Not so, Willow being Willow felt the same way of course. Behold Adidas has partnered with Parley, a collaboration initiative that brings together people across the STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics] for the shoe job.

Even H&M is in the susty transformation act. Oh and thanks Italy, spiritual home of fashionistas, for finding a way to make leather from shoes and handbags using grape waste. Of course!

And so on with some other great ideas. Cow manure for instance. Read the story, you’ll see.

If you think this is a side attraction, think again. It’s an industry worth $2.5 trillion annually and is responsible for 24 per cent of the world’s pesticide use.

Flip sides – it’s worth taking a look

Then there’s the flip side of sweet fuzzy co-working, co-living, co-riding, co-everything that’s been so disruptive in the past few years. Hipsters flock to it, then even the older folk. As if disruptive is an end in itself and not a tool. As if when the big corporation is busted by the small up and coming corporation it’s a reason to be joyful.

But some people are aware and awake. We like that Uber is now a verb but we need to understand who is doing the ubering. Some places, Sandra has found in her fabulous story that challenges the preconceptions of change, are saying no to Uber and ubering uber where it hurts most. They’re taking an uber to ownership!

It was always about the software we reckon. How long before you could apply algorithms to collaborative ownership rather than the pick up location and review information?

Wearing the beads doesn’t necessarily make you a hippy.

Job security, holiday pay, fair pay is not something that should be ditched, just because we can, which is what the anti-Uberists say.

We need to look at what we care about.

The recent debate about cutting holiday and Sunday pay to retail staff, so we can shop or have breakfast on Sunday needs to be challenged.

Why do we need to do this? What are we achieving? Oh yes, choice. But what are the outcomes? Choice to shop every day of the week for us. Loss of community and family time for others. Gain of massive big profits for the retailers and more disempowered lonely individuals who need to go shopping and eat out because no one they know is around and the shops is where the herd is.

Instead Australia, which has a great history of cooperatives, is seeing the re-emergence of this co-ownership trend.

And then along came Trump, like someone’s embarrassing dumb uncle, fooling around, playing catch with a nuclear weapon like he’s drunk. Or is he? Maybe he’s someone’s highly engineered viral spyware to destabilise the planet and let the aliens come and take it over?

Sound crazy. Well that’s how crazy it is to watch the US pulling out of the pact that had so many of us dancing in the streets after the Paris climate talks and agreement. So an agreement that’s not?

Against all the science, all the evidence, all the financial market movements shedding coal faster than the Dutch shed tulips after the first big Ponzi scheme crashed – after all this, Trump does exactly what he promised.

No surprise.

We need to work harder, faster, longer. But not for them. Be careful who your energy goes to help and bolster.

Scratch the surface of your boss, the companies that sell you stuff, the services you use. There are more of us than them. Let’s stop giving them our money. In any shape or form, wherever possible.

Let’s do what the ancients did when they were waging war. Let’s starve them from the parapets. Let’s deprive them of the life force that keeps these suckers crawling into our breathing systems and trying to kill us, money.

It’s that serious folks. Time to stop prancing around and pretending they are not what they are.