The current catch cry in all levels of government and organisations is 'innovation'. As the word ‘innovation’ has taken attention away...

Mistakability: How We Can Promote a Culture of Innovation


Academy Xi
2010 NSW

Mistakability and Promoting a Culture of Innovation


Professor James Arvanitakis

Professor James Arvanitakis

Dean of the Graduate Research School at WSU

Professor James Arvanitakis is the Dean of the Graduate Research School at Western Sydney University, where he also lectures in Humanities and is a member of the University's Institute for Culture and Society.

James is internationally recognised for his innovative teaching style and was the recipient of the Prime Minister's University Teacher of the Year Award in 2012 and an Eminent Researcher Award in 2015 from the Australia India Education Council. He is a regular media commentator appearing on ABC TV and recently launched Sociologic (the book) and the podcast with FBi Radio.

His research areas include citizenship, resilience, piracy and the future of universities and he blogs at

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Jen Armstrong

Jen Armstrong

2016 NSW Woman of the Year

Jen is the 2016 NSW Woman of the Year, as well as the Local Woman of the Year for Cronulla.

She is the founder of the Beauty Bank, a charity collecting unwanted toiletries and other beauty products for women in need, particularly those experiencing domestic and family violence. The Beauty Bank has helped over 3,000 women and men since 2013 and is now the signature charity partner of the Cronulla Sharks.

A survivor of domestic violence, Jen is also a popular leadership speaker for corporate organisations and schools, motivating and educating others on the effects of domestic violence and the power of resilience.

Jen is a third year student at Western Sydney University, studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce degree with majors in Sport Management and Advanced Business Leadership. She is also the Stadium Operations Coordinator at the Cronulla Sharks.

Jen has two small children and provides foster care for a third child.

Charbel Zeaiter

Managing Director, Velvet Onion

Charbel is the founder of Velvet Onion, a UX & Service Design agency and Academy Xi, a school that teaches UX, design and innovation - both in Surry Hills, Sydney.

His vision is to improve lives through meaningful design and to change the world through education, empowering people with the skills and confidence to create their own ripples of change.

He is passionate about creating great experiences that solve problems and help you build long lasting relationships with people. Our experience creation process is deliberate, collaborative and creative; where abstract research solidifies into something human and meaningful; solving real problems for real people in real contexts.

"Since starting my design career in 1998, I’ve helped iconic brands, eager startups and a broad range of organisations improve their ability to create long lasting relationships with their customers. By combining my fanatical belief in customer centred design, research and collaboration we've helped create countless successful solutions."

Standing with giants (large and small) he has created many great, profitable experiences for likes of ING Direct, Aussie, IAG, IAG Ventures, AMP, CGU, OneShift,JobVibe, Meeco, NRMA, M&C Saatchi, AMEX, Salmat Digital, ParcelPoint and Siteminder.

He is on a mission to create a space of innovation between problem and solution, to remove the barriers between people and technology and to create meaningful experiences for clients and students.

Ben Wong

Co-founder, Academy Xi

Ben is a Co-founder at Academy Xi, a campus that provides short courses and workshops in experience design and innovation.  Xi empowers people to transform themselves and pursue the dreams they aspire to: Integrating in-demand skills and emerging technologies into their programmes.

Ben is passionate about solving problems and co-creation. His vision is to change the world through education - providing people and companies with the ability to grow, whilst also making a positive social impact. He has worked across a number of different startups, from education at General Assembly to his hospitality services market place Lokii app - a beacon based competition app service.

Associate Professor Gwyneth Howell

Associate Professor Gwyneth Howell

Associate Professor, Public Relations

Associate Professor Gwyneth Howell has 20 years’ experience in tertiary education and corporate marketing and communications.

Today, Gwyneth is considered to be at the forefront of social media engagement and research. Her theoretical model for media use and response during crises and disasters is internationally acclaimed.

She has extensive global corporate and consulting experience in business, marketing and communication. She has held senior management roles in the services sector and has been delivering innovative education to Western Sydney University Students for 12 years.

Gwyneth’s communication experience has been gathered both in-house within public and private organisations of various sizes and in agencies, providing expertise in strategic response to a range of communication and marketing projects and activities.

In recognition of her work in academe, Gwyneth was awarded an OLT Citation for Teaching Innovation in 2012 and in 2015, Western Sydney University named her an Inaugural Distinguished Teaching Fellow. 

Mistakability Workshop

Ben Wells

Teacher - Sanctuary Point Public School

Ben is a Primary School Teacher at Sanctuary Point Public School who has a passion for 21st Century Teaching methods and ICT integration. 

He is an accredited HAICT Educator (Highly Accomplished Information Communication Technologies) and loves to share and talk about the techniques used to prepare students for the future.

Ben will  co-present with Michael Chapple on innovative teaching methodologies and how their school is being internationally recognised for leading innovation and achieving excellence in student learning.  This has resulted in the development of a “Future Book”  that outlines many of the 21st Century Learning strategies the school uses.

Michael Chapple

Michael Chapple

Teacher - Sanctuary Point Public School

Michael is a primary school teacher of 8 years with experience in Special Education (ED), mainstream classroom settings.  He is  Sanctuary Point Public School's Computer Coordinator and IT Mentor, specialising in 21st Century Pedagogies.  

Michael will co-present with Ben Wells on the innovative teaching methods being used at Sanctuary Point Public School which is being internationally recognised for leading innovation and achieving excellence in student learning. This has resulted in the development of a “Future Book” that outlines many of the 21st Century Learning strategies the school uses.

Event Details

The current catch cry in all levels of government and organisations is 'innovation'. As the word ‘innovation’ has taken attention away from ‘disruption’ and ‘authenticity’, we now have the opportunity to bring these concepts together to redefine and embrace the concept of true innovation.

So how do we promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in a culture that is focused on ‘getting it right’ the first time and is afraid of failure?

The fear of failure has crept into our education system and whilst claiming to promote creativity and innovation, the reality is that students and teachers alike are afraid of failing or making mistakes. 

As such, the curriculum is boring. It rewards rote learning and we produce environments that lack the very innovation we aim to promote.

Likewise, the promotion process across the private and public sectors focuses on successful outcomes and our media emphasis on ‘winners’ rather than the journey of mistakes, errors and even failure that got us there.

This workshop brings together a cross-section of industry and leading innovative educators to challenge us to reflect on how we 'learn from our mistakes’ - or mistakability - in our everyday culture. Learning to fail fast and building a sense of celebration of our failures is part of this process.

For only when students and employees are rewarded for ‘failing’ can they really learn to take risks and innovate.

This will be hands on design workshop with representatives from Academy Xi and Western Sydney University that will require participants to plan, develop, make mistakes and learn from the process.

It will be an ideal day for educators, tech people, corporates (HR), entrepreneurs and those who connected with those that educate, disrupt and accelerate.

Note: Afternoon tea, nibbles and refreshments are included in ticket price.

*Booking and transaction fees may apply


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