I had an awesome time attending Pause Fest 2020, Australia’s biggest festival on innovation, creativity and startups. The 2020 edition was a milestone event, Pause Fest turned 10 in 2020. A huge achievement, I attended a few sessions, met very interesting people and learnt about creativity from an awesome lineup of speakers. I'll be sharing my takeaways with you.

Founder George Hedon opened Pause 2020 by giving a brief overview of the past 10 years. There were two points in his keynote that really resonated with me. The first one was “Creativity is the Execution” It reminded me of a Steve Jobs quote: “To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.“ Ideas are cheap. Turning ideas to meaningful products and services is where the gold is. Great entrepreneurs are great at executing ideas.

“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.“ - Steve Jobs

The second point I really liked was when George explained that Pause stands for 3Ps - People, Passion and Purpose, I've added a fourth P that I think is important, Play as part of the execution. George also highlighted the importance of community and pointed out that many startups owe their success to the Australian startup community. Pause Fest is an excellent platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their vision of the future.

These are my notes on how Pause Fest 2020 showcased what I'm calling the 4Ps of creativity.

Sheda uses design and emerging technologies like A.I and blockchain to solve complex problems that make and accelerate impact and bring about postive social change.


I saw a lot of talks around purpose-driven businesses. It was awesome to see talks about caring for the environment got prominence and priority, especially in the wake of our current climate crisis. There was a great panel called “Business can lead to addressing the climate crisis”. Lily Dempster from Neighbourhood Effect introduced their new platform to enable individuals to reduce their carbon footprint.

Trent Clews-de Castella from Phoria showcased their Rewild augmented reality platform. Rewild lets you see our world from new perspectives in the face of climate change, the goal is to encourage us to take action to protect our planet.


A passion-filled talk I enjoyed was by Micheal Biercuk from Q-CTRL on Building a Quantum Tech Startup leveraging year-long deep technology research. It reminded me of the days when I worked in photonics research. It’s amazing to see companies develop deep technology with development timeframes of decades. Very impressive.


I went to a few talks on how our relationships with people in our community brought on creativity. Kaley Chu presented stories of their project 100 Lunches with Strangers. Kaley shared that they used to be a very shy person, over the past year they set themselves a challenge to have lunch with 100 strangers they contacted on LinkedIn. Meeting so many people gave the, more clarity about what they would like to do with their life and allowed to see a bigger more diverse picture of the world. I can relate to this as about three and a half years ago, I started Sunday Night Feast, a joyous, all welcome weekly potluck dinner where we share a meal and stories. Through that, I've gotten to share meals with thousands of people and hear so many diverse stories. We just celebrated dinner number 150 last weekend. Get in touch, if you like to come along.

Also, side note and a shameless plug if you are curious about how you can come up with ideas that can create and change things in your life, we at Sheda are running a workshop on how you can use design thinking frameworks to Design the Life you want. The workshop will take part on March 12 at Fab 9 as part of Melbourne Design Week. You can sign up here: https://designyourlife2020.eventbrite.com

One of my favourite talks at Pause Fest was by Angus Harvey from Future Crunch on Information Diet. He argues that humans are consuming more information than ever before. Unfortunately, too much bad information can have negative effects on your mental health. Angus proposed to be mindful about your information intake similar to your food intake and to develop a philosophy around what information you consume. You can read more about his diet here: https://futurecrun.ch/pause

Play: Creativity is the Execution

There was a lot of play at Pause. There was a stage where anyone could pitch their ideas and or what they do for a living. Daniel Teitelbaum and his venture Playful Thinking had a stand dedicated to chat and discuss ideas while playing with Lego and other toys.

Being playful with ideas, sparked the idea of starting a self-help group for people with ideas. How meta! It's called Ideas Anonymous and had their first meeting last Wednesday. We will get together every fortnight to explore ideas and their execution and pitch them in playful ways. If you like to come along, register here: https://events.humanitix.com.au/ideasanonymous  

Speaking of pitches, I loved listening to the startup pitches at Pause 2020. Startups have to be creative and play with ideas by executing and iterating multiple times. This playfulness was on full display at Pause this year, with lots of great ideas being executed by courageous startup founders.

This year the pitch winners were:

Medinet: Bringing 24/7 GP telehealth consultation to your smartphone.

Everty: Developing a flexible charging station management system for electric vehicles.

AI on Spectrum: Providing emotional education and support for kids on the spectrum.

All three startups were founded by women. It’s fantastic to see that we are slowly moving away from a male-dominated startup industry. Thank you Pause for empowering a more diverse startup ecosystem.

Those were my takeaways, it's work mentioning that Pause itself was incredibly well executed. Kudos to George Hedon, the Pause team and the fantastic volunteers for creating such an amazing platform to bring out the best in people.

A massive thanks to Prathayana Chandrakumar and Lasya Rao from the Austrade Landing Pads who sponsored Sheda's Pause ticket this year. It will take me a while to process all of the insightful conversations. So much food for thought and new projects.

I am always interested in talking with people in organisations who want purpose, passion, people and play to be part of their process of turning great ideas into products and services. If you'd like to find out how to leverage emerging technology to transform your business, let’s have a chat, my diary is online here.

Speak soon


Eike Zeller

Head of IoT Product Development
@ Sheda

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