About us

Collabforge is a Melbourne-based firm that specialises in driving collaboration and innovation, both within and across organisations through strategy, facilitation and technology. The majority of our clients are within the public sector, including both local agencies and international bodies.

Our core team of strategy specialists is led by Dr. Mark Elliott who brings a wealth of leadership, expertise and experience to each project. We’re supported by an international network of strategists, designers and developers, enabling us to deliver comprehensive and innovative end to end solutions.

The team

Mark_140313_2

Dr. Mark Elliott

Managing Director & Founder

As founder of Collabforge, Dr. Mark Elliott has successfully designed and managed a range of high profile projects, working closely with clients in a highly versatile and collaborative capacity.

Between 2007 and 2008, Mark led Collabforge’s reengineering of the City of Melbourne’s strategic city planning process for wide-scale collaboration. The result was Future Melbourne, an award-winning, world first ‘city plan that anyone could edit’, including the city’s diverse selection of stakeholders and the general public.

Prior to founding Collabforge, Mark completed a PhD investigating the underlying dynamics and mechanisms that drive and enable online mass collaboration. The objective of this work was to provide understandings that could be directly applied to the purposeful engineering of mass collaborative projects and the communities that support them. Mark’s PhD was examined by Internet luminary and inventor of the term “virtual communities”, Howard Rheingold, as well as Francis Heylighen, a leading thinker in the areas of cybernetics and complex adaptive systems. Read more about Mark’s PhD.

Mark has published and delivered keynote presentations on his work to the United Nations, federal governments, universities, international think-tanks, and academic and professional conferences around the world.

Here is a list of his recent presentations and speaking engagements. Watch Mark during his interview with Howard Rheingold on citizen participation and online collaborative environments.

Hailey_140303_1Hailey Cooperrider

Collaboration and Strategy Lead

Since joining Collabforge in 2009, Hailey has been an integral part of over 250 projects, with diverse responsibilities ranging from developing strategic frameworks, to facilitating collaborative workshops, to developing online collaboration platforms. As Collabforge has grown, she has increasingly focused on designing and facilitating collaborative processes, and on strategy development.

Hailey gets the biggest kick when a collaborative process that she helped initiate starts moving under its own momentum, with participants working together more effectively and delivering unprecedented results. That’s why she is currently researching how gameplay can be used to help spread collaboration capability more broadly, reducing the need for support from outside experts.

Prior to becoming part of the team, Hailey participated and led a number of initiatives in New York City related to open and participatory democracy. These included the Beta NYC meetup group and the 2009 Participation Camp ‘unconference’ on citizen participation in government.

Despite her penchant for collaboration, Hailey can get pretty competitive too, excelling at obscure sports like disc golf, wiffleball, ultimate frisbee, table tennis and foosball.

bec3squareRebecca Dahl

Operations and Marketing Lead

Bec takes the complex, breaks it down, and puts it back together better. Her skills include project management, business analysis, measurement and evaluation, databases and automation, visual reporting tools, product management, social marketing and behaviour change, and web design and development.

Bec is helping to take Collabforge innovation and customer experience to the next level by streamlining our operational systems and leading the packaging and marketing of Collabforge products and services. Previously, she worked with corporate leadership in companies such as Newcrest Mining, Realestateview and APN Property Group to develop and implement targeted solutions to pressing operational and strategic challenges. She has completed a master’s thesis focused on the strategic design and delivery of social marketing campaigns to affect behaviour.


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John Hibble

Collaboration Workshop Specialist

John recently left ANZ after 12 years working in IT, Corporate Banking and Finance. Most recently he was a session designer and facilitator in the Bank’s internal ‘MG Taylor’ practice, which locally is also practiced by PWC, KPMG and Cap Gemini. The MG Taylor approach specialises in helping large, diverse groups solve complex problems in an accelerated timeframe (weeks or months of work achieved in 1-3 days). In this role he designed and facilitated nearly 30 events for large groups (up to 50) to collaborate in solving business problems, mainly for some of the Bank’s large transformation projects. He also gained experience in designing and building out collaborative work environments in this role. Outside of work John has experience in building his own ‘meet-up’ community both online and offline.

Matt_140225Matt Withoos

Technology Lead

Matt Withoos is Collabforge’s IT Manager, ensuring that the IT ecosystems for clients run smoothly. His role also sees him leading and participating in software development and server configuration/administration. His expertise lies in web, app and software development, and he is knowledgeable with HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, PHP and Ruby. Technologies that Matt is familiar with include Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Unix/Servers, Git and more.

Matt has lived in Melbourne for most of his life and enjoys the inner city culture and lifestyle. He is passionate about all things coding, and has been programming since he was 12. Until recently, he ran a web design & development business and has also worked across web design teams in Singapore and France. He is currently undertaking an off-campus Bachelor of Computer Science, and he holds a Cert III in Business Administration and Cert III / IV in Multimedia. When Matt isn’t busy holding down the ICT fort at Collabforge, he enjoys playing video games and checking out events and locations in the city.

Matt_140225Alvaro Villafane-Molina

Web Developer & Devops

Alvaro is a web developer passionate about the web and all related technologies. He has 3 years experience developing sites in Java. He also implements and customises Drupal, WordPress and other websites using HTML5, CSS3, responsive design, various web scripting technologies (Javascript, Jquery) and web standards.

Alvaro arrived in Australia in 2013. In his free time, Alvaro enjoys playing with son, playing guitar and reading about IT.

Reshma Neerukonda

Reshma Neerukonda

Drupal Developer

Reshma Neerukonda is a web developer with over ten years of experience in website development using java, J2EE and CMS technologies like Drupal. She has a Master’s in Computer Applications, Bachelor’s in Computer Science and is Six Sigma certified. At Collabforge, she handled project management, and used platforms such as Six Sigma, Java, Drupal, CSS, HTML, JQuery, and Javascript.

Prior to Collabforge, she worked on major websites for GE, such as GE Industrial Solutions, GE Appliances and GE Lighting. Reshma moved to Melbourne a year ago with her family, and loves cooking and playing with her son on weekends, and raising her newborn daughter.

Who we work with

Lina Patel

Projects and Operations Lead

Lina Patel is an experienced project practitioner and continuous improvement specialist, with 15 years experience in the corporate sector. Lina is passionate about sustainable change and working with clients to design and implement changes in support of strategic objectives.

Lina was part of the IT Advisory function at KPMG for 7 years, where she led a number of engagements with manufacturing, telco and financial services clients, including IT risk management benchmarking assessments and business process analysis. For the last 8 years, Lina has worked on a range of project teams at NAB, tasked with delivering strategic projects. This has included designing and implementing continuous improvement programs as well as designing large scale organisation changes for Finance, Enterprise Services, Retail Banking and Wholesale Banking divisions.

Lina is a Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA) and a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainable Leadership.

kathryn anandaKathryn Ananda

Strategist, Designer

Kathryn Ananda has worked with Collabforge across a number of projects and roles since 2013. She takes a multidisciplinary approach, supporting clients to surface needs, visions, stories and shared value opportunities, and to rapidly convert these into strategic roadmaps and practical applications.

She loves the regular experience through facilitation and client engagement when a community becomes rejuvenated, develops greater coherence, and is energized to overcome apparent obstacles and collaborate for a shared vision.

Kathryn’s work and methods span areas of design thinking, systems sciences, strategic foresight and agile project/knowledge management approaches.
Her skills include workshop design and facilitation, user experience design/strategy, visual design, web development and product management.

Kathryn has traveled and worked throughout the world, is a qualified Montessori teacher, yoga teacher, dance enthusiast, budding rock climber, and also founded the social enterprise Positive Handprints, for which she has developed unique methodologies for the ‘design, intervention and management of Thrivable Systems’.

30d130cJulian Waters-Lynch

Senior Partner, The Holos Group

Julian is a futurist, organisational strategist, designer and facilitator of experiences that catalyze learning and development. Julian’s PhD research on the future of work explores the disruptive rifts in technology and social trends that are shaping the new economy. His thesis focusses on the new skills and environments individuals and organisations require to support sustained collaboration and innovation in rapidly changing marketplace.

Julian’s international work history across Latin America and Asia and with the key drivers and worldviews of millennial leaders has afforded tangible insights into how younger generations and emerging regions will shape the 21st century.

An accomplished jazz pianist, he draws on his experience with the discipline of improvisation to assist individuals and organisations in developing capabilities for creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation.

David Hooddavid-hood

Founder, Doing Something Good

David has been working with not-for-profits and community organisations for close to 15 years – including almost four years at Greenpeace Australia Pacific where he worked in Communications and Public Engagement and was the Campaign Project Leader on the successful viral campaign against Nestle for deforestation.

In the last five years, David has experienced the growing effectiveness of the web and social media to connect and enable communities to come together, collaborate, and take action on issues ranging from climate change to mental health and poverty to marriage equality.

The use of digital media and online platforms has been deeply integrated into his current projects as founder of Doing Something Good, host of The Collaboratory Melbourne and producer of the Gathering Unconference. His mission is to help people and organisations doing something good to realise the potential of the strategic use of the social web, emerging models for business and collaborative networked communities to build better futures for all, together.

A graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs program in 2011, David was named Melbourne Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and one of The Age’s Melbourne Magazine Top 100 most “passionate, powerful and provocative personalities of 2012”.

Bernard_140225Bernard Duchesne

Systems Architect

Bernard is an independent IT consultant and with over 20 years of experience with both enterprise and small organisations. At Collabforge he took on the task of setting up the server infrastructure, the development environment as well as introducing a Continuous Delivery process and overseeing the security and performance of the infrastructure.

unnamedRik de Boer

Drupal expert

Rik graduated from Twente University, The Netherlands with an MSc. in Electrical Engineering biased towards Computer Science. Having worked in London, Tokyo and the birthplace of Albert Einstein (Ulm, on the Danube), he has put his roots down firmly in Melbourne, at least for now. After years of team-lead and managerial roles in C++ and Java projects, Rik discovered the website development framework Drupal, founded his own company Flink and hasn’t looked back.

On hot Sundays and summer nights, he enjoys perfecting his handcrafted ginger mojito with fruit and herbs from the balcony garden.

Alexar_140311Alexar Pendashteh

Drupal Developer

Alexar is a Drupal Developer at Collabforge, and has 8 years’ experience in web and PHP development. He graduated from Tehran Polytechnic as an Electrical Engineer, but switched fields to IT. Since then, Alexar has been involved in a variety of projects of different scales, as a developer or team leader. He was also a trainer at the Iranian Academic Center for Education and Research.

On weekends, he helps a team of friends and former pupils in Iran work on projects. His hobbies include enjoying nature, drawing art and calligraphy.

Laura_140225Laura Summers

Front End Developer

Laura Summers has worked with Collabforge as a front-end developer, working with CSS3, HTML5 and javascript to create intuitive and functional user-interfaces with modern design conventions, and strong performance across multiple devices. Her other skill sets include digital and interaction design, art direction and motion graphics. Laura has a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University and Masters of Multimedia from Monash… as well as a diploma in “Googling ‘til you work it out.”

Laura is American-born and educated, and made the move to Melbourne in 2002. She’s also a keen dancer and spends much of her free time involved in the contemporary dance scene in Melbourne (check out her dance essays here). Other interests include her ridiculously adorable cat, Oscar, film & anime, and getting out to see live gigs.

James_140225James Herd

UX Designer

James Herd is a UX Designer, converting business concepts into tangible web interfaces for our clients. Prior to Collabforge, he launched companies such as fanfuel, Modbot and Yumi, and has been running his own business for 5 years. James has also won Startup Weekend and AngelHack competitions and regularly attends startup meetups.

James originally hails from Adelaide, but has been calling Melbourne home for almost 20 years. He has two degrees, one of which is a Bachelor’s Degree of Industrial Design, and if he’s not busy designing new websites you’ll find him rock climbing.

profilepicPaige X. Cho

Content & Community Manager

Paige was Collabforge’s Content & Community Manager, tasked with community engagement and content curation for the firm and our clients. She has a Bachelor of Psychology Degree from Monash University, but decided to ignore her degree and follow her dreams of being a writer instead. Paige has previously worked as a freelance journalist, editor and social media marketer across music companies and consumer brands.

Paige was born in Singapore and moved to the Gold Coast when she was 9, and made the big move to Melbourne in 2006. When she’s not banging away at her keyboard at Collabforge, Paige is usually making loud noises with her band, or painting and making a mess somewhere.