A global gathering of the international OD community

The function of OD is changing. As we and the world emerge from the turbulence of recent years, our intention at the conference is to identify key emerging themes and to consider their implications for the organisational development practitioners and our many stakeholders in the present and near future. 

Some of the things we are planning to explore together at the event include: 


The world of work has changed. The infrastructure and systems that we have designed to support people, organisations, communities and the planet no longer quite fit as well as they did. What can we learn from a design thinking perspective to make the changes needed for us to flourish? What are the implications for the future of work? How do workplaces, architecture and community infrastructure need to be designed now?


A common question OD practitioners are asked is  “What is OD?” How do we respond to that question in a way that creates comprehension and connection? How do we tell the story of the part of OD that we each play in so that it conveys a sense of the whole of OD and the role we play in scaffolding the future?


Much of the systems and processes that organisations and leaders rely on to run their systems are based on the legacy systems from the past. What new systems are emerging that are working today? What problems are we facing that require a new approach that we don’t have systems in place to support yet?


Our intention is to explore Geelong’s UNESCO designation and the related aspects of Clever & Creative through the lens of Organisational Development. Clever & Creative is about collaborating to address our challenges and opportunities, embracing innovation, and new ways of doing things. It goes beyond being tech-savvy or emerging industries – it applies to everyone, and all business sectors and industries.

A clever & Creative future has business diversity that inspires a broad range of education and employment opportunities, attracts start-ups, innovative businesses and a can-do attitude. It has a strong sense of community and uplifts its vulnerable community members, is devoted to research and encourages economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible solutions to its challenges. It has a global outlook and is connected to the world recognises the uniqueness and significance of its natural environments.


The traditional owners of the Geelong region are the Wadawurrung people who gave Geelong as we know it today its name from their word ‘jillong’ meaning ‘a place of the sea bird over white cliffs’. They have lived in the Geelong region for more than 25,000 years before white settlers arrived.

White settlement from the early 1800s had a devastating effect on the Aboriginal people. Sheep destroyed much of the root crops which the Wadawurrung depended on and introduced diseases. Birth rates and clan numbers fell. 

To recognise the traditional owners of the land, the Wadawurrung will be invited to perform a Welcome To Country at the conference. What can the field of OD learn from a connection to 25,000 years of history and story?


Geelong was declared a town in 1838 with a local population of 545. The city’s humble beginnings were founded in the rich pastoral hinterland and the prosperity of the local wool trade. By the 1850s, Geelong was swept up in “gold fever” becoming the principle seaport for the gold industry. The city’s population ballooned making Geelong the fourth largest town in Australia.

In the later half of the 19th Century, Geelong turned its attention to emerging industrial development and became the major trading port for the textile industries and export of wool to Britain. Today, the City has developed as a centre of excellence in the area of education, R&D, health, hospitality and tourism.

Regional Australia has experienced a dramatic increase in population during and post COVID as city people headed towards the bush. What are the implications for this regionalisation and how does OD respond


Geelong Region


Less than an hours drive from Melbourne’s CBD and Tullamarine Airport, Geelong is  beautifully placed with waterfront views of Corio Bay and immediate access to the world famous Great Ocean Road and charming wine growing region of the Bellarine Peninsula.


The Wadawurrung people have lived in the Geelong Region for more than 25,000 years. These people gave Geelong as we know it today its name from ‘jillong’ meaning a place of the sea bird over white cliffs. 


Geelong was first declared a town in 1838, the city’s humble beginnings founded in the rich pastoral hinterland and the prosperity of the local wool trade. The city became the major trading port for the export of textiles. 


Geelong is Australia’s only UNESCO City of Design. As one of Australia’s fastest growing regional centres, the scene is set for a design-motivated economy where cleverness in design, creativity and culture are at the heart of a achieving a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future.