Dr Fiona McKenzie is a human geographer with a PhD on innovation and expertise in both public policy and academic research. Co-Founder and Director of Strategy for the Australian Futures Project, she has led the design and implementation of a range of unique programs including ‘social innovation labs’ on early childhood development and agriculture. Fiona is respected for her ability to rapidly synthesise complex topics for decision makers and co-design systems change processes with stakeholders. She has more than 15 years of experience working with a range of academic, government, non-government, and intergovernmental organisations. This includes organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme, EcoAgriculture Partners, Terrestrial Carbon Group, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, University of Sydney, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and various other government and non-government agencies in Australia and internationally.
The longer version!
Dr Fiona McKenzie is a Co-Founder and the Director of Strategy for the Australian Futures Project, where she has led the design and implementation of a range of unique programs including ‘social innovation labs’ on early childhood development and agriculture. The objective of the Australian Futures Project is to build Australia’s capacity to make decisions for a flourishing shared future in the 2020s and 2030s. This Project is hosted by La Trobe University, where Fiona is an Honorary Associate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Fiona also works with selected organisations as an adviser and facilitator. She is respected for her ability to rapidly synthesise complex topics for decision makers and co-design systems change processes with stakeholders. She is skilled in conducting qualitative research and interviews, facilitating dialogues, undertaking system mapping, and developing qualitative scenarios. She has worked with government, non-government, academic and intergovernmental organisations in Australia and internationally. Examples include the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, EcoAgriculture Partners, the United Nations Environment Programme (on enabling cross-sectoral collaboration in the global food system), HRH The Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit, various Australian federal and state government agencies and the University of Sydney. Australian Futures Project is not Fiona’s first not-for-profit start-up. She was also part of the teams that established the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and the Terrestrial Carbon Group.
Fiona’s academic background is in human geography and she is on the Council of The Geographical Society of New South Wales. Her main focus is innovation – and how to strengthen the decision processes of individuals and groups across diverse networks and systems to unleash solutions for more sustainable long term outcomes. In 2011, Fiona completed a PhD on farmer-driven innovation in Australian agriculture. From 2012-2013, as a Research Associate at the University of Sydney, she helped to establish and pilot a participatory model of farmer engagement – designed to encourage on-farm innovation and stronger knowledge networks – in a cocoa growing community in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. This project was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and was conducted in collaboration with a range of Indonesian organisations. During this time, Fiona was also a lecturer on Sustainable Development at the University of Sydney.