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Speaker, strategist and systems designer architecting solutions to the world’s wicked problems | https://cameronburgess.com | https://trillions.global
Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash

Love comes with a knife, not some shy question, and not with fears for its reputation!

~ Rumi

Dear America,

Almost five years ago, as the reality show you called the 2016 Presidential Primaries was kicking off, I wrote you a letter. I took a tone, granted — one I know that some parts of your body politic (especially progressives, who questioned my right to question their right not to question) didn’t appreciate. My intention in writing to you was to let you know that, as critical as I was, as a taxpayer, and an Australian resident of San Francisco (at the time), I was on your side. I believed in you. …


— Want to cut to the chase? Click here to download the concept note —

Each year hundreds of millions of people work in tens of millions of organisations, and deploy trillions of dollars in an effort to solve the most pressing challenges of our time.

Yet despite this vast commitment there remains an estimated $50 trillion funding gap required to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals) — the most comprehensive, cohesive and coherent description of these wicked problems to date.

The existing approach presumes that a multitude of entities addressing some part of the greater challenge…


The business of change is brutal. At times it is glorious, uplifting and inspiring, certainly, but the real work, the work of solving the most pressing human challenges is arduous, heart-breaking and, at times, interminable. It is messy. It is tedious. It isn’t instagrammable, or quotable, and nor is it fit for Facebook. It is, more often than not, the province of politics, economics and statistics, the work of decades, not of moments, and involves hundreds of thousands of people across ages, races, genders and cultures.

And if we’re paying attention, the business of change inevitably exposes us to the…


Dear America,

We need to talk. Actually, I need to talk. And I’d like you to show me how great you already are by sitting down, resisting the urge to interrupt and listening- I mean really listening. Listen like your life depends on it. Because even if you think it doesn’t, mine does — and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

I already know you may not like everything I have to say. And that’s ok. In fact, by the time I’m done you may not even like me. And that’s ok too. …


I just heard through several friends of mine of the loss of another luminary. Yet another who dedicated their life to serving those of us less fortunate, less seen and less provided for by the mechanics of our modern systems. Yet another who dared to live and to love with all of their being, and to use their relative privilege as a lever to move the world. Yet another one who, for reasons unknown (by me at least) reached the point where the burden of living seemed to outweigh the rewards for long enough for them to take irreversable action.


Today is Martin Luther King Day. I woke up this morning to a feed full of inspiring quotes from a great man, most of which exhort tolerance, love, compassion, forbearance — the essential and gentler side of change. At this time, when racism, classism, religious fundamentalism, economic extremism, xenophobia and hatred for all that is not ‘us’ fills the airwaves, when we cannot turn on the TV, or the radio, or drop into our social feeds without being greeted by some fresh new assault on our humanity by those who would seek to ‘lead’, these messages ring with a poignancy…


While living in Boulder in 2010, I was invited to guest-lecture at the University of Colorado on the intersection between social media and social good. My lecture, perhaps not surprisingly titled Do Something That Matters derided the infantile obsession displayed by many of the great new minds who were fiddling with intricate technologies of limited value while all about them Rome burned. I had recently been introduced to Bill McKibben of 350.org who said in his book Eaarth that the global environmental changes we were once trying to prevent are upon us. …


Successful entrepreneurs share one fundamentally common trait — they identify gaps in a market and develop a solution to generate, at the very least, a measurable, replicable and sustainable result.

In Australia there are approximately 700,000 non-profits — one for every forty men, women and children in the country. The US, by comparison has one for every two hundred — a much lower number for a nation many believe to supersize everything. Some view the size of a nation’s third sector as an indicator of how well they take care of their citizens. …


On December 18, 2014 I visited Amman, Jordan, to participate in #DDX — a conference hosted by the Munathara Initiative. Founded by Belabbes Benkrada in response to the Arab Spring, Munathara is a Tunisian-based online and television debate forum that aims to foster the participation of youth, women and marginalized communities in Arab public discourse. The theme of this conference was ‘There Won’t Be Change Unless”, and all 24 participants — previous winners of Munathara’s debates — were invited to present their own view on what this meant. …

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