Think Bank 2018 – Small Business: Removing obstacles, seizing opportunities

28-29 October 2018


Who is it for?

  • Tasmanian Leaders Program Alumni
  • Not only but including small business owners, managers and workers
  • Government, larger private sector, academia, not for profits and other organisations who may be facing some similar issues
  • Alumni wanting a Tas Leaders experience – to give and to receive – regardless of the topic
  • People who can commit to the full two days


  • A TLP/ Tas Leaders experience of learning, networking, sharing, development, action and fun
  • Change the physical reality of small business towards their desired result
  • Prepare input to other events and processes, such as meeting with the Premier
  • Share results with others – small business, government, academia, associations and other bodies – as appropriate


Day One

10.30     Discussion Boards Morning Tea

Grounding Hierarchy – Place, People, Purpose, Process

Processing our Prework – Where to Intervene for Change in Our Organisation

“Grounding Groups”

13.00     Lunch and networking

Hello Old Friend – SWITCO

“It’s Them” groups – similar industry, addressing Issues Trends and Weaknesses Constraints

Whole Group – presentation from “It’s Them” groups and discussion

Grounding Groups” – meet and link to morning session

Integration pictorial

Networking, drinks, dinner

Day Two

8.30       Review and Input to Ongoing Report

“It’s Us” groups – similar size organisation, addressing Strengths Opportunities

Whole Group – presentation from “It’s Us” groups, Input to Ongoing Report

Whole Group discussion to agree Special Issues to progress today and beyond

“Special Issues” groups self -select and address issues (using a+b+c>d)

Working Lunch – focus on “c”, knowledge of the first action steps.

14.30     Whole Group – brief presentation from “Special Issues” groups

WTFH? – including the Ongoing Report

Think Bank Pictorial Summary

16.00     Close – off to change our world!

Some notes on the design

  • The participants are the experts, no “VIPS”, speakers or “tourists”
  • A mix of Groups as opposed to working mostly in one group
  • Prework to diagnose priorities in each organisation and wider small business issues
  • Discussion Boards to kick start conversation over morning tea on day one
  • Ongoing Report to capture the essence as we go versus post event report focus
  • “Aha! and Take Home Message Board” to capture learning along the way
  • “On Call Experts” to assist groups with content expertise
  • Pictorials to reflect and reinterpret the process and outcomes
  • Personal action plans to translate the event into meaningful business change
  • A document to share the learning and tips for change with other small businesses


The pre-work is in four parts:

  • A “Discussion Board”, an A3 sheet with information about your organisation
  • Completion of the business planning/organisational development/personal development framework which some will have covered during TLP or at a Congress. This identifies nine areas and through a series of questions asks you to identify the importance of and current performance in each area. This will generate the top three or four areas for your organisation to be focusing on for change and development.
  • Reflection on your organisation and its establishment, current position and future direction and analysis on the key issues you face.
  • Talking to at least five small businesses to identify what their issues are. This does not need to be a formal “interview” process but merely conversation with the butcher, the barber, the bar staff and so on.

Working groups

As the mudmap and design notes indicate, participants work in four groups during this event. The first will be the “Grounding Group” which will have the multiple purposes of helping people get grounded in the event, providing a forum for sharing the pre-work about their organisation and other small businesses and providing a “home room” group to touch base with.

We often hear “it’s them, not us”. The “It’s Them” groups will focus on the present state, identifying obstacles and sharing experience and tools about how to overcome them. From the SWITCO analysis (which we will have reviewed!) the conversation will be mostly about issues and trends in small business and weaknesses and constraints to overcome.

The “It’s Us” groups will be about taking charge of the desired future state and maximising strengths and capitalising on opportunities. As well as sharing experience this will be the time for dynamic and creative thinking believing in the possible.

The final group will be the “Special Issues” group where participants self select into a group that focuses on a particular issue that has emerged from discussions to date. The intent will be to clarify the nature of this issue and decide how best to define it, progress it, resolve it in the future to help small business be better in their own terms.

On Call Experts

The “On Call Experts” are a resource for small groups during Thinkbank 2018. The idea is not for them to represent their organisation, give lectures or other structured input but rather to be available in short bursts to provide particular expertise. On Call Experts will be available in maximum 15 minute bursts to ensure that the focus is on a particular issue that the group wants input on. A number of Tasmanian Leaders Board members will contribute as experts, together with a select few others.

Ongoing report

The most important thing is for the participants to go away with an implementable action plan and this is the primary focus of the event. We do also want to capture relevant and meaningful information that can be shared with others but do not want this requirement to capture the event. Contributions to the ongoing report will be from work that is being done in small groups and the group presentations. These can be put together as necessary rather than doing separate pieces of work to contribute to a document.

In conclusion

If you would like to participate in Thinkbank 2018 “What Stops Us?” please contact Frances Pratt at Frances is a TLP Alumnus and is working with me on this event as part of the Staff Team.

I do hope you can join us. I look forward to the prospect of catching up and doing some meaningful work together for the benefit of small business, other organisations and Tasmania as a whole. There should be some personal development as well as it being fun/ learning/ useful!

Brian Lewis
0412 113 638