Creative Innovation 2019 (Ci2019)

Watch Stephen Heppell’s Ci2010 Presentation!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

‘Playful learning; why we all need cheering up.’

Stephen begins his presentation with an anecdote about his friend’s son’s first day of school. The night before the big day, the child’s father found him in his bed, fully dressed in his uniform – backpack on – ready to go. He was SO EXCITED about starting school, he just couldn’t wait….

Stephen begins his presentation with an anecdote about his friend’s son’s first day of school. The night before the big day, the child’s father found him in his bed, fully dressed in his uniform – backpack on – ready to go. He was SO EXCITED about starting school, he just couldn’t wait….

What takes us from this joy of learning to the dismay experienced in our teen years and beyond? In this presentation, Stephen explains how play & joyfulness can bridge this gap.

The model of learning in the last millennium, Stephen suggests, was a model of “met-before” learning. Children would arrive to sit with their exam and think: “Oh, I really hope there are no surprises here.”…

But the world is full of surprises. Natural disasters, economic collapse… As you will have seen, when these big surprises come along, we are generally paralysed for about a week! We are incapable of reacting instantly and thinking of a solution.

Stephen has been involved in setting up a number of schools around the world, using a whole new system of education. One that is based around playfulness and joy, not the expectation that you can ring a bell and all students will be hungry at the same time, or that you put children in a classroom just because it is a certain day in January.

By using this innovative new approach in the Caribbean, they have succeeded in changing the education system of an entire nation – with the children’s performance doubling over a 4-year period.

This is a delightful & engaging presentation addressing the importance of playfulness: bankers playing with toys in their pin-striped suits, board members swimming in lakes with shark fins on their backs, and hijacking ideas from primary school curriculums in our workplace.

If our system is going to cope with the unexpected surprises ahead of us, we absolutely need to put play right back at the heart of learning.


"Without a doubt the best conference in Australia with a delightful mix of creativity and big thinking bringing together an eclectic group of industry, community and education leaders. Once again, I’ve come away enthused by new ideas, more aware of future trends, and heartened by the kindness of humanity. We all have a role to play and it should be a collective one." Kerry Anderson, Founder of Operation Next Gen

"Conferences are boring. Creative Innovation is more like a rodeo for ideas, and you are guaranteed to leave wanting to make the world better for everyone." Andrew Despi, A.kin

"Kudos to Tania for organising the the 2019 CI Conference in Melbourne - it is the best I have attended so far. All the speakers and sessions were very well-planned. I have attended many conferences and this is the first I did not have the 'luxury' to skip any sessions. Your effort in this space has truly made Melbourne a global innovation and entrepreneurship hub." Danny Ong, Deakin University

"I wanted to pass along how incredible I thought Creative Innovation was and how much your passion for life and for humanity was inspiring to all of us. It was a privilege to be included and one that I am very grateful for." John Pickering, Chief Behavioural Scientist

"Creative Innovation is a transformational platform built by changemakers for changemakers. It is an educational adventure showcasing the forefront of ideas internationally." Melissa Warner, Ci2019 Scholarship Winner & Education Officer, Mind Medicine Australia

"Creative Innovation 2019 was one of the most well-organised events I’ve ever taken part in. From beginning to the end, every detail had been planned through and taken care of. Secondly, are the production values. As a result, it was possible to attend all the sessions without suffering conference burn-out, happy in the knowledge that the next piece of content was guaranteed to delight and challenge the senses." Richard Claydon (Singapore)

"Well done on another successful Ci conference. Your energy, passion and sheer determination to ensure the conference delegates get a fantastic experience is admirable." VP People & Global Capability | P&GC, Woodside Energy


There are a host of incredible opportunities to partner with us on this world class innovation event. If you are interested in becoming a partner or creative collaborator for the upcoming conference, please contact:

Tania de Jong AM // Founder and Executive Producer
Tel: +61 (0)3 8679 6000

Alrick Pagnon
Tel: +61 (0)3 8679 6000

“Remarkable, mind blowing, brilliantly choreographed – easily the best conference ever and I’ve been to plenty. Truly wonderful and amazing.”

Jim Grant, Partner, Dattner Grant

“Thank you for a challenging and rewarding couple of days. The quality of the team you had at the conference was extraordinary! These events will change people and thereby the world.”

Craig Carolan, Director Private Wealth, ANZ

“I came to learn – I came away inspired! Best conference ever.”

Paul Duldig, University of Melbourne