Dominic Thurbon

Australia - NSW

Specialty Areas

Dominic Thurbon is a partner in the Community Impact team at EY, and an internationally engaged author, researcher and speaker in the fields of innovation, behaviour change and organisational transformation. 

A business leader in the trenches, Dom was co-founder of Karrikins Group (acquired by EY in 2019), a consultancy he grew to over 150 staff with offices across Australia, New Zealand and North America. Dom has led the design and implementation of behaviour change programs in businesses and the community which have reached over 500,000 each year and won global awards for innovation and social impact. 

He has worked across government, business and the not-for-profit sector helping leaders make sense of and respond to the profound forces of change that are reshaping organisations and society. His books and papers include Matter: How to rise above the competition to become the obvious choice, Talent magnets: Attracting and retaining top talent, On purpose: from purpose-driven to driven purpose and Game On: How video games change work and education.

Dom was also co-founder of Educator Impact, a technology company applying data-driven models to improve educational outcomes for students and teachers, and was a founding board member of the Shared Value Project in Australia.

Dom has delivered keynotes and workshops to a combined audience in the hundreds of thousands across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas. He lives with his wife and pets in Sydney.

Speaking topics

Unleashing the power of innovation

In today’s market, companies that can’t innovate can’t survive. The market is changing so quickly that our ability to innovate now sits at the heart of remaining relevant and competitive in an ever-changing world. That’s probably why ‘innovation’ is one of the most discussed and debated topics at conferences, off-sites, workshops and strategy sessions around the country.

But most places can’t connect all the talk with real action, and in too many places innovation is simply as a buzzword. We need to develop a deeper and more practical understanding of what innovation is, in all its forms, and how we bring it to life. The truth is, innovation is a behaviour: you’re either doing it or you’re not. And learning the behaviours of innovation, and then finding ways to enable and promote them in your business, is the key to turning innovation from empty rhetoric to real-world change.

In this session Dom will:

  • Unpack the forces of change that mean we need to challenge assumptions about how we make innovation a living thing in our business
  • Examine the four types of innovation that can be used in your business to drive improved performance
  • Look at the behaviours of innovation, and how we enable and promote them as leaders across the business

Matter: Rising above the competition and becoming the obvious choice

It has never been harder to stand out. In B2B, B2C, and even job markets, it's getting harder and harder to differentiate, compete and win. There are many reasons for this: digitisation has flooded the market with content and competition; commoditisation is driving prices and margins down, making it harder to sustainably compete; rising complexity is making it harder for companies to articulate clear, relevant value propositions; and customer loyalty is “so 20th century”.

In this changing world, it’s no longer enough to be ‘good’ or ‘great’, we have to matter. This requires a deep connection to purpose, an ability to understand what our customers really buy, and insight into the true value that we can bring (and that no one else can).

In this session Dom will:

  • Bring a fresh perspective to the major disruptive forces that are redefining the way business is being done, and value is being created
  • Use inspiring, real-world case studies to show how a diverse array of companies are responding effectively
  • Give you the formula for effectively dealing with and thriving in times of disruption and change

Changenomics: Making change happen

Companies don’t change, people do. We need to stop talking about ‘managing’ and ‘surviving’ change, and learn to talk about driving change. Take a look around your business and think about your greatest challenges. I’ll bet you they are behaviour change challenges. You might be trying to increase innovation, improve collaboration across teams or silos, sell to customers differently, drive better leadership or enhance your culture… these are all behaviour change challenges.

In a world where change is so constant and so profound, there are few skills more important to cultivate than learning to drive behaviour change in our teams. It’s the key to solving our greatest problems and boosting our performance.

In this presentation Dom will:

  • Detail the five human responses to change that you will have seen in your business every day, but may never have had a label for
  • Examine a model for change based in the neuroscience of human behaviour that can empower us to more effectively change the way staff and customers think, act and buy in positive and constructive ways)
  • Look at management and leadership strategies to help ourselves and our teams more effectively navigate and promote change

Never Waste a Crisis

Leading Through Uncertainty, Change and Disruption

COVID-19 is an example of an entirely predictable disaster. Serious, novel pathogens emerge regularly. None of this minimises or plays down the effects of the current pandemic but it does illustrate that this should be an occurrence that that precisely no one finds surprising. Not only was it bound to happen sometime, evolution tells us it is certain to happen again, too, So how do we lead our teams in times of change and massive disruption?

COVID-19 is an example of an entirely predictable disaster. Yes, its effects will likely be economically devastating (and in some cases personally devastating for those affected in the individual sense), but nonetheless it is still absolutely predictable. Serious, novel pathogens emerge regularly. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen things like H1N1, H5N1 and SARS all emerge, as well as outbreaks and epidemics of older viruses such as Zika and Ebola. None of this minimises or plays down the effects of the current pandemic (which many experts predict may well be worse than all of the above); but it does illustrate that this should be an occurrence that that precisely no one finds surprising. Not only was it bound to happen sometime, evolution tells us it is certain to happen again, too, 

But there is no doubt – predictable or not – that many of us have found ourselves blindsided by just how far-reaching the effects of this pandemic have been. I, myself, have been dealing with my own form of crisis management – I have a team of over 50 people delivering programs in around 4,000 schools a year – including hundreds in the next few months. So you can imagine what operational planning has looked like in my office for the last few days!

Crucially, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into thinking purely reactively. We must resist the temptation to be pulled purely into the day-to-day of managing what is right in front of us, and find ways to keep ourselves thinking strategically and learning the lessons we can from this that will help us manage the highly predictable reality of crises, uncertainty and disruption that we will continue to face into the future.

So in this future-focused, provocative and instructive session, we will:

  • Look at the curious reality of just how ‘predictable’ most surprises in the marketplace actually are, and look at what the current events should teach us about strategic, scenario and contingency planning
  • Unpack the ‘physics’ of disruption; how it moves through markets, and how various sources (technological, demographic, geopolitical, consumer and – yes – even biological!) combine to create an ‘edge’ of disruption in every market 
  • Examine the four mindsets of the change-ready leader, and how we can arm ourselves with an approach that makes us more resilient to external shock
Dominic Thurbon speaker

Speaker Video

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