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A new internal creative agency & brand platform at Xero

Xero is a cloud-based business platform that exists to change the game for small business worldwide. They've twice been named Forbes' #1 most innovative growth company on earth.
Global Copy Director in a new 70-person internal creative agency (2015-16)

Key services and results:
  • Led development of Xero’s first brand platform working with M&C Saatchi Australia
  • Delivered above-the-line campaigns in all markets
  • Implemented culture & systems for sustained global growth
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Starting up the future of work with Runn

Founded by a team from SilverStripe, Spark, Xero, and BMW, Runn is a Kiwi technology startup built around managing time and money in digital projects. 

Head of Strategy (2019-20)

Key services and results:
  • Helped shape strategic story, product positioning, investment case
  • Raised capital and found product/market fit at Series A stage, setting up for sustained growth

"We now have clarity on the product vision, the type of company we want to build, and a framework to communicate that to the world!"

Nicole Tiefensee | co-founder of Runn

Growing the global leader in e-learning

Totara is a learning management provider with hundreds of enterprise customers including Samsung, Amazon, Toyota, US Department of Agriculture, UK National Health Service, Deloitte.  

Lead Storyteller (2022-23)

Key services and results:
  • Drove new strategic brand positioning working with Head of Brand and 2 x CEOs (Founder and successor)

  • Delivered refreshed website, core sales deck, key messaging, go-to-market assets

  • Immediate uplift in pipeline and conversion, subsequent company sale to leading European investor Tenzing

"As a high-end story specialist, Colin understands the challenge of developing strategic narratives that truly drive commercial outcomes. He brings a fantastically deep, insightful set of tools to solving for growth."

Mark Ash | CEO


Better citizen services

Somar Digital is New Zealand’s leading Citizen Experience Agency, helping government agencies and not-for-profit organisations offer social services to people through digital technology. 
Board Chair (2017-22)

Key services and results:
  • Guided CEO & leadership team through a 5 year business transformation gaining dozens of government & not-for-profit sector clients, NZ Fast 50 growth

  • Strategic focus on transport journey planning

  • CEO transition from Founder to successor

"…helped guide the company through significant growth and change in a complex environment…tremendous integrity and humanity."

Fiona Reid | COO of Somar Digital

Human-led narrative design for a $2.2 billion urban recovery

Canterbury's recovery from a devastating series of earthquakes in 2010-11 brought together communities,  infrastructure providers, urban design, policy, and hundreds of agencies and stakeholder groups.
Senior / Principal Communications Advisor at Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (2012-15)
Key services and results:
  • Led the successful reimagining of the $2.2 billion Christchurch Central Recovery Plan
  • Led international investment messaging
  • Helped develop the infrastructure master sequence (eventually became the NZ Infrastructure Commission)
  • Crisis management & stakeholder engagement in a disaster zone

Flipping the global workplace conversation

Riders&elephants, led by Jeremy Dean, is bootstrapping a global ecosystem of leadership & culture practitioners around the Emotional Culture Deck product, used by 400,000+ people across 60+ countries and organizations including Canva, Airbnb, the United Nations, Air New Zealand, IBM, Xero, Netflix, Coca Cola, Amazon, and Mercedes Benz. 
Executive advisor (2018-21)
Key services and results:
  • Strategic guidance on every aspect of ecosystem development, go-to-market, efficient scaling, and brand positioning from earliest stage to global success 

"Working with Colin has been a true partnership."

Jeremy Dean | founder of riders&elephants


International growth in a delicious social enterprise

The Wellington Chocolate Factory creates social and economic value at every step from cocoa plantation to taste buds. I helped steer WCF through Year 1 of being the most successful artisan food startup in New Zealand's history.
Head of Strategy (2014-15)

Key services and results:
  • Supported co-founders Rochelle Alagar & Gabe Davidson in generating outstanding revenue, debt-free balance sheet, and award-winning luxury brand
  • World-first Wellington Chocolate Voyage crowdfunding initiative driving global recognition and sales

"There is no textbook for making something new. Colin understands this."

Rochelle Alagar | co-founder Wellington Chocolate Factory

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Rapid value creation with 

Trinsic Labs

Trinsic Labs is an ongoing innovation lab programme aimed at bringing together diverse teams to tackle compelling problems at speed. 

Stakehouse is a digital tool for easy stakeholder engagement mapping, developed with public sector practitioners across New Zealand. It’s free; open source; and enjoying rapid uptake.

Divvy is a simple blockchain voting machine, a first step in exploring 'trust-less' governance in projects and organisations. 

Key services and results:
  • Innovation lab creation
  • Rapid scoping, prototyping, testing and investment
  • Ongoing process improvement and learning cadence
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Project Tempest: an interactive story world

Lovecraftian horror on the New Zealand frontier. Project Tempest is about building a series of digital projects with creators from around the globe.

Key services and results:
  • Story development
  • Platform, publishing & community
  • Finalist in the 2020 Australasian Horror Awards
  • Shortlisted for the 2021 Shirley Jackson Award
  • Podcast shortlisted for the 2022 Sir Julius Vogel Awards 

"… hauntingly lyrical and delightfully strange .... highly original in tone, concept, and execution"

BookLife Prize | Publishers Weekly

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