In order to make the work more accessible and useful to organization’s and non-academic audiences, Fiona has become a scientific communicator over the past few years and is now a professional speaker, spending a significant part of her time giving keynotes at both national and international business conferences, in various areas of social cognitive neuroscience, especially around the neuroscience of leadership and the fact that great leaders can grow people’s brains. She also has spoken on the power of values, collaboration, creativity and the ideation process (Fiona has been lucky enough to spend time with such organizations as cirque du soleil), and such unusual topics as the neuroscience of space, learning, engagement and how different artistic hobbies change the brain as we age.

Changing Our Minds - How great leaders rewire brains

A published book chapter called “Operationalising Innovation” discusses some of the key elements of shaping and leading an innovative company with a case study example of practice.
As part of the Thinkers in Residence Program Fiona worked with Professor Goran Roos’ team on building Innovative capacity in small and medium Enterprises (SME’s), and was lucky enough to work with Alister Haigh and his staff on the project of taking Haigh’s chocolate on line, resulting in a book chapter case study called ‘Taking a Premium Quality Chocolate Making Family Business onto the e-Market – Haigh’s Chocolates.

The Neuroscience of Engagement

In relation to Fiona’s expertise in complex systems, Fiona works with ministerial and government bodies both here and overseas, looking at shaping creative bureaucracies, long-lens policy design, the neuroscience of engagement and democracy reform. All of these areas combine the areas of systems and neural complexity (hence her title) which are profoundly intertwined in the majority of complex, long term societal issues and challenges.
Fiona is part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Innovation framework group in South Australia, and advises the Premiers department on capacity building and methodologies around community engagement.

Insight SBS program on sleep

There are a number of ways we can build new brain, particularly complex schemata, and these can include face to face positive interaction with others, exercise, engaging with novelty (learning new things), and sleep, which encompasses certain types of naps and even has connections to daydreaming. Fiona recently appeared on the Insight SBS program on sleep, speaking on the cognitive role of sleep, naps and biphasic rythms, and the addictive nature of technologies on the brain.

TEDx: Look Into My Eyes

Fiona will teach us how part of understanding and valuing the dynamics of human interaction is knowing when it offers advantages over the technology-based interaction which is becoming pervasive in human society. She will ask, what is getting in the way, and how do we ensure we connect?


Fiona’s extensive work has sparked numerous articles on her areas of expertise. She has also published her own thesis and other works on various topics.

Neurogenesis: a force for creativity

A short written summary of the broadcast where Fiona was a guest on the ABC show “Ockham’s Razor” with Robyn Williams.
Fiona has spent a number of years investigating the building of new brain, which can be done at any age with the right conditions, and is currently trying to complete a non-academic book which outlines in lay terms how to grow new brain.

Thesis: Creating and Leading Adaptive Organisations: the nature and practice of emergent logic

One of Fiona’s particular areas of interest is that different styles of leaders have different brains. In particular her research looked at the difference in the brain of the emergent logic leader who builds adaptive organisation’s and creates a flourishing environment, and how this contrasts with the more linear, autocratic leader in terms of how they think and what they do.
Fiona’s thesis was based on over 25 years of experience in industry.

The weekend Australian on thinking success

Health Check: what determines whether we’re night owls or morning larks?

The power of naps: creativity and efficiency

The great debate: Is data killing creativity?

Short power naps energise but don't make up for a long sleep

Fiona is becoming a regular on ABC radio, and was interviewed in early June regarding polyphasic sleep. Here is an article written following the interview.

Leader’s effect on staff

Fiona’s career path for the Sydney Morning Herald

An article on Fiona’s somewhat eclectic career path was written for the Sydney Morning Herald as she began to gain an public profile.

The Art of Leadership

Technology and the human brain: how we work

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Publications, July, 2016

Daydreaming ‘can boost your daily productivity’ – research suggests

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Publications, July, 2016


Fiona has been interviewed on various radio shows and podcasts, exploring many different concepts to do with neurogenesis, ageing and sleep.

Neurogenesis: a force for creativity

A podcast recording of Fiona as a guest on the ABC show “Ockham’s Razor” with Robyn Williams.
Fiona has spent a number of years investigating the building of new brain, which can be done at any age with the right conditions, and is currently trying to complete a non-academic book which outlines in lay terms how to grow new brain.

Will we shape or be shaped?

Adelaide Festival of Ideas 22nd October, 2016


Fiona has given many conference keynotes and organizational presentations over the last couple of years relevant to her work.

Keynotes – Australia

  • Build a Better Brain for Business Victorian Small Business Festival. Aug. 2017
  • The Cognition of Media Consumption” News Limited, Adelaide. Aug. 2017
  • Human Centric Partnering with AI” Aurecon Limelight Leadership Engineering Conference, Adelaide. Aug. 2017
  • “Creativity in Leadership” Inaugural National CMO Momentum conference, Sydney. Jul. 2017
  • “Dancing with Complexity: the neuroscience of collaborating for Wicked Problems” Water Research Australia National Conference. Jul. 2017.
  • “Rewiring your Brain – Servicing the Engine” William Buck International Directors and Managers Conference, Adelaide. May, 2017
  • “The Science of Empathy” National Health Providers Compassion Lab, Victoria. Apr. 2017
  • “Leadership: The hard Science behind the Soft Stuff” Governors Leadership Foundation Showcase, Adelaide, Mar. 2017
  • “The neuroscience of resilient organisations” Macquarie Finance Global Conference, Sydney. Mar. 2017
  • “How Technology Shapes Us” WORKTECH Sydney, Mar. 2017
  • “The law of increasing returns – how human connection grows business and brains” Macquarie Legal Global Conference, Sydney. Mar. 2017
  • “How Technology Sculpts Us at Work” Mobile-ising Women in Business Conference, Canberra. Feb. 2017
  • “Wiring Wonder: the Neuroscience of Learning” ATU Annual Conference, Adelaide. Feb. 2017
  • “Changing Our Minds – How Great Leaders Rewire Brains” Outside the Box – State Government Professionals Conference. Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Feb. 2017
  • “The Role of Connectivity and Diversity in a Healthy Society” Australia Day AddressAdelaide Entertainment Centre January, 2017
  • “When only a Human will Do – the Place of Technology in the Health System” GP Forum, Adelaide Convention Centre. Nov. 2016
  • “How Technology Sculpts Us at Work” Mobile-ising Women in Business Conference, Melbourne, Nov. 2016
  • “Look Into my Eyes” Wired for Wonder, Sydney/Melbourne. Nov. 2016
  • “Look Into my Eyes” TEDx Sydney, Nov. 2016
  • “Look Into my Eyes: why a personal connection matters”. CBA National conference, Hobart. Oct. 2016
  • “Will we Shape the Future or Let it Shape Us: crafting a human-centric future” Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Oct. 2016
  • “How Leaders Change Brains”. TEDx Adelaide, Oct. 2016
  • “The Law of Increasing Returns”. MacQuarie Legal Global Conference, Canberra. Oct. 2016
  • “AI: Friend AND Foe”. Plenary lecture, Chemeca Engineering Global Conference, Adelaide. Sept. 2016
  • “When Only a Human Will Do: (the Neurophysiological Effect of Touch and Eye Gaze on Healing and Wellness)”. SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) Brain, Body and Mind conference, Adelaide. Sept. 2016
  • “How Technology Sculpts Us”. Keynote, AMCHAM conference, Adelaide. Aug. 2016
  • “Dances with Robots: humans as Disruptive Innovation”. Hawke Centre, University of South Australia, July, 2016
  • “The rise of the robot Nurse: Are Humans the Innovation Disruption we seek”. Healthcare of the Future conference, Sydney. June 2016
  • “Is Data killing Creativity?” Vivid Festival, Sydney, June, 2016
  • “Building the Intrapreneur’s Brain – how leadership helps to craft creative bureaucracy”. DSD Entrepreneurs Week, Department of State Development, Adelaide, June 2016
  • “Building Better Brains”. BUPA conference, Melbourne, May, 2016
  • “Thinking in Systems”. Masterclass for DECD Senior Management group, Adelaide, May, 2016
  • “The Neuroscience of Leading a Resilient Organization”. MAINZ MBA program, Adelaide University, May, 2016
  • “The Resilient Path”. CBA Leaders Conference, Sydney. Nov. 2015
  • “Neuroleadership”. Masterclass, Department of Premier and Cabinet Executive, Adelaide, April, 2016
  • “TECH-NO – Why a Personal Connection Matters in Banking”. CBA Technology Conference, Sydney, Oct. 2015
  • “The Neuroscience of True Engagement”. Better Together Showcase, State Government, Adelaide. Nov 2015
  • “Changing Our Minds – How Great Leaders Rewire Brains”, Wired for Wonder Conference, Sydney, Melbourne, Oct. 2015
  • “Leading the Values Led”. Volunteering SA&NT Conference, Adelaide, Oct. 2015
  • “The Neuroscience of Change”. Webinar. July, 2015
  • “The Future of Learning”. ChristChurch Grammar School, May, 2015
  • “The Neuroscience of Values”. VIVID festival, 2015
  • “The Neuroscience of Space”. Unwired Festival, Melbourne, May 2015
  • “Creative Arts, Creative Minds – the positive effects of performing arts on the Cognition of Ageing”. Hawke Centre, 2014
  • “Wire Yourself for Wonder”, presented at Wired for Wonder 2014, Sydney


International Keynotes and Presentations

  • “How Technology Shapes Us” Keynote at WORKTECH ’17, Berlin. Unwired Ventures, Jul. 2017
  • “What Do We Want Future Work to Look Like: building quality partnerships with AI” Bene International Round Table on Future of Work, Berlin. Jun. 2017
  • “Partnering with AI for a Human Centric Future” FHI (Future Humanity Institute). Oxford, England. Jun. 2017
  • “AI in a Human Centric Future – what do we know, what don’t we know?” Briefing for Minister’s task-force building Finland’s AI program for the future. Helsinki, Finland. Jun. 2017
  • “Strategic Intuition and Foresight” VTT, Espoo, Finland. Jun. 2017
  • “Partnering with AI for a Humane Future” VTT, Espoo, Finland. Jun. 2017
  • “When Only a Human Will Do” Futures of a Complex World International Conference, Turku, Finland. Jun. 2017
  • “Partnering with AI for a Human Centric Future” Futures of a Complex World International Conference, Turku, Finland. Jun. 2017
  • “Complex Systems, Innovation Policies and Creativity: Perspectives from Australia, Singapore and Finland” Guest presentation, ISI Fraunhofer Institute for Systems Innovation and Research, Karlsruhe, Germany. June, 2014
  • “Cognition of Collaboration and Creativity” –ACLA (Australian Corporate Lawyers Association) conference: March, 2014
  • “Cognition of managing creative collaboration, leading multi-sector projects, and creating alignment between government and non-government stakeholders” Strategic conference, SVA (Service Ventures Australia). April, 2014
  • “Neuroleadership: How trust facilitates Creativity”. Creative Innovation Conference, Melbourne, Nov. 2014
  • “How Social Neuroscience Can Facilitate Better Collaboration and Cooperation” CPA National conference: Be Equipped for Success. Key note in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, 2014
  • “How Governments Can Inspire Creativity”. Creative Industries conference, Ministry of Creativity and Trade, Jakarta, Nov. 2013
  • “Elements of Supportive Government for Increasing Productivity and Innovation in SME’s”. Conference speaker, Department of Treasury, Singapore, December, 2013
  • “The Stump Jump Plough and Women in Parliament” (a study of Adelaide as a creative city which was founded as a social innovation experiment). Conference on Cognition of Creativity and Collaboration, Universite de Strasbourg, Nov. 2013
  • “Potential for, and Challenges to, Enhancing SME Participation in Supply Chains in APEC”. Retailing Services Conference: Surabaya, Indonesia, 10-11 April 2013
  • “Partnerships, Paradigms and Possibilities”, National Business Conference, Singapore, March, 2013


Fiona is passionate about shifting people’s mindset and opening their eyes to their true potential. As an inspirational speaker, scientist and implementer, she will help you to understand how our brains function as human beings and our organisations and societies function as systems, providing practical approaches to maximizing our potential.

Contact Fiona

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