Max Hardy Consultancy

Welcome to my e-newsletter

Another hectic year has almost past. The finale for me was moving to Fitzroy, so writing this surrounded by boxes and feeling both overwhelmed and thrilled to be here at last. Here is a view from my new balcony!



What happened in in 2017?

I delivered a TedxTalk in October; Questions Change Everything. Check it out and tell me what you think of it.

Exciting news – I’m working with Susan Carter of Community Studio, and others, to develop an online community engagement course. Read about it here and don’t forget to register interest to be part of the first cohort to experience this contemporary approach to learning.

Susan Carter, The Community Studio


Conferences / Unconferences / Symposia

Engage2Act Unconference

This 2 day event was thrilling. I facilitated a session called ‘Making Sense of Codesign, Deliberative Processes and Collective Impact’ which I really enjoyed. Great questions and lots of pondering.


I also facilitated a session at the IAP2 on ‘Closing the Loop’, with the help of a terrific panel including Amanda Newbery (Articilous), Ann Telford (North East Water), Sam Brown (VicRoads) and Amanda Spalding (Fairfield City Council).

Collaboration for Impact

I co-delivered a session with Danielle Annells about innovative practice at the Collaboration for Impact Community Engagement Conference in November, 2017. We followed this up the next day by codelivering a workshop about ‘Designing Deliberative Community Engagement processes to a group of about 35 people. Met some amazing people.

Earlier in the year, July I think, I participated in C4I’s annual conference in Canberra and facilitated a couple of sessions. Thoroughly enjoying myself as an Associate of Collaboration for Impact.


Who I've worked with in the last twelve months

North East Water

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Jacinta Cubis and the team at North East Water (NEW) led by Ann Telford, to design and facilitate the deliberative Customer Forum to inform their Pricing Submission to the Essential Services Commission. It was really pleasing to see NEW receive a Highly Commended for our collective efforts at the IAP2 Awards night. Click here to see the video. 

VicRoads - Citizens Advisory Group, again working with Jacinta Cubis on this deliberative codesign process. Very satisfying and a great result. Click here to see the video.

City of Vincent, working with Anna Kelderman, Shape Urban. A deliberative process as part of the long term visioning/planning process known as Imagine Vincent.  Click here to watch video. 

City of Port Phillip (along with Amanda Newbery, Articulous and Michelle Weston)

Melbourne Water - 20 year wastewater strategy

Indigo Shire Council - Ageing Well strategy

South East Water - Facilitating Reviewing Customer Engagement Council

Melbourne City Council - Collaborative Governance process for Climate Leaders Forum

Ovens Murray Partnership/Regional Victoria - Regional Assembly

Redlands Canals Deliberative Process - working with Articulous

Queensland Utilities - Advice concerning deliberative process

ACTCOSS - Session on deliberative community engagement, principles and evaluation

Ballarat City Council - Visioning for Miners Rest community

Moonee Valley City Council - 2030 Planning symposium

Boroondara City Council - Designing Kew Library, with Jacinta Cubis

Training delivered

• Municipal Association Victoria - Deliberative Community Engagement Course

• Access Health - Community Engagement and co-designing solutions

• Wide Bay Primary Health Care Partnership - Collaboration and Partnering course


Latest blog: Three keys to a great deliberative community engagement process

Deliberative engagement is an approach to community engagement that is becoming increasingly popular. For this we can largely thank academics like Prof Lyn Carson as well as the positive experiences of participants. Some recent recognition for exemplary projects by the IAP2 might also have something to do with it.

Having designed and facilitated over 30 deliberative panels (think ‘citizens’ juries’, but there are other forms) since 1998, I have seen how well this can work. I love watching panels do the deep dive. It’s great to see them learn and feel better connected with issues and people as a result. I also get a thrill from seeing how the output of deliberative panels really can contribute toward positive, tangible outcomes for the community.

However, there are many more variables to deliberative engagement process than you might think, and it’s vitally important to make sure you invest some time designing the process.

Click here to see the three things that in my experience are essential to get right.


Next year

I’m planning on some exciting collaborations with many people next year. Here are some of them.

• Susan Carter, The Community Studio

• Collaboration for Impact

• Kylie Long, Peer Academy

• Jacinta Cubis, Qbis

• Amanda Newbery, Articulous

• Megan Girdler, Future Boutique

• Gilbert Rouchecoste, Village Well

• Danielle Annells, the Collaboration Whisperer

• Anthony Boxshall 

• Elly Gardner

• Nick Fleming, Innergise

• Liz Mackevicius, SGS Economics and Planning

• Micaela Drieberg

• Don Sharples, Altometer

• Amber James, Fresh PR

• MR Cagney

• Jen Riley, Navigating Outcomes

• Rebecca Finn, Tract

Thank you …

To Sam McFarlane of Sam Says who has helped me so much in so many practical ways.

To all consultants I have partnered with this year.

To all the clients I have so enjoyed working with and learning from.

To the following people who kindly gave me additional testimonials for my website:

• Kelly King, Wannon Water

• Lisa Rae (ex City of Port Phillip)

• Liz Mackevicius (SGS)



Have a tremendously enjoyable festive time and hope to see you in 2018!


Max Hardy

0418 217 261

PS. Here is part of our new rug. Like it?