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Social Change Champion: Giuseppe (Pino) Demaio

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Giuseppe Demaio, aka Pino, believes that human-centred design can be a powerful tool to catalyse positive social outcomes and solve complex challenges. A business leader and Creative Director with extensive experience solving problems and identifying opportunities across the health, education, sports, property and social impact industries, his latest project – Matters Journal – brings the stories and insights of social enterprise and businesses for good to a wider audience. We sat down with Pino to learn more about what it means to create social impact through innovation and a sustainable approach to business.


Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

An optimistic bearded human that believes in design to create a better future.

What do you love about the social enterprise community in Australia?

It’s full of passionate, creative people who think of others before than themselves.

Tell us about your vision for Matters Journal and why you decided to start the magazine?

With so many challenges right now, but also incredible potential being shown by so many people, our aim is to make it easier for people to be inspired by and connect with organisations doing good for fellow humans and the planet. We started Matters Journal as we believe sharing stories is such a great way to inspire and empower positive change. A weekly digital and biannual print publication offering a unique exploration of responsible business, impact and sustainability across the Arts, Design, Environment, Food, Health and Technology.

Matters Journal is an initiative of Local Peoples, a strategic design studio focussed on delivering design for healthy, resilient and resourceful communities. We deliver this across brand design, content, experience and digital design and community engagement. As a design studio, we have a deep hunger for learning and we love to understand and be inspired ourselves.

Matters Journal is really our opportunity to dive into topics we are passionate about and share great ideas on things that matter with like-minded people, with the aim of accelerating the shift to responsible business and demand for products and services which strongly consider their triple bottom line. For this reason we are a certified B Corporation and recommend any other organisations consider becoming accredited themselves.

What do you wish you had known before taking the plunge?

Where do I begin…?! Perhaps that it is important to find people who have shared values and goals when collaborating. This is quite a complex thing to asses, from partnerships to colleagues, clients, suppliers and now our readership.

What has been the highlight of your Matters Journal journey so far?

We have already had a few great wins! Getting our first mini print edition to the printers this week, is definitely high on the list! We will have 7500 copies to be distributed nationally after our launch in early Dec so can’t wait to hear what people think! It will be a free “taster” edition of 36 pages of stories If you are keen for some free copies please reach out to hello@mattersjournal.com We have had some really wonderful feedback on our digital stories so far as well, so it’s always great to hear someone share that they really enjoyed a piece and learnt something on a topic that really interests them.

We are getting stuck into our first full issue shortly and this will also be a big milestone. To be launched at Pause Festival, Feb 7-9 next year (the southern hemisphere’s premier, creativity, technology and business festival), we will be a partner hosting a panel discussion around measuring personal impact and then hosting a “party for a purpose”. It will be an awesome way to launch the edition and anyone interested in these areas should come along!

What has been the biggest challenge in growing an organisation in Australia?

For a new publishing organisation, it’s a really noisey media landscape right now, as the traditional channels are being rapidly eroded and the rise of individuals and influencers who have large followings. This means the media landscape is  becoming highly fragmented and consequently it can be hard to get people’s attention and stand out. The good news there have never been more opportunities and ways to engage with and find your audience and with relatively low cost.

Australia is a sophisticated market in some respects and that means expectations are high. As a design company, we don’t see this as an issue, in fact, it’s a challenge we enjoy tackling, both ourselves and for our clients, using design to help tell the story, explain value and stand out.

The costs of doing business are high… internet speeds are ridiculously SLOW (I’m looking at you NBN) 🙁

What Australian social entrepreneurs are you inspired by at the moment?

My friend Simon Griffiths @ Who Give’s a Crap. Amazing socially minded entrepreneur who is having a great impact on sanitation and access to water in Africa. A really great guy, who has done a lot for the social enterprise sector over the last 5 years and helped to inspire many more social entrepreneurs to start something!

If you could give one piece of advice to startup social entrepreneurs what would it be?

Do enough research to know something has potential (talk to as many people as you can and seek advice) and then proto-type – make small mistakes often, learn and then iterate on your solution. Don’t try to build and then sell the “grand plan” first up…statistically it will be a grand fail!

Many of our Social Change Central members are looking for exposure for their ventures. What are your top three tips for successfully pitching a story to an editor?

The reason for your venture. Why are you doing this and what’s the story behind the business? People love to hear about the journey.

The impact of your venture. What is the social environmental and economic benefit?

Where is the innovation? It is a product, service, social, design, funding, delivery, technology based? And how did you come-up with the idea?

How can Social Change Central members get involved in Matters Journal?

We are always open to partnerships and collaborations. Please contact partnerships@mattersjournal.com to talk.

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