Purpose driven, dynamic and curious, we are pleased to introduce Matt Torney, our Director, Strategy & Insights.
Respected for drawing connections between people and places, Matt is an experienced leader on a mission to help governments, businesses and communities work towards shared outcomes.
With an exceptional resume that includes leadership positions across state government departments, leading management consultancies and affordable housing organisations, Matt has 17 years experience in social policy, social impact strategy human-centred innovation and stakeholder engagement.
Get to know a bit more about Matt.
Sum yourself up in 3 words.
Enthusiastic, energetic and eclectic.
What experience most shaped who you are?
Can I cite two? My upbringing in a country town definitely shaped me. It influenced my values and reinforced for me the importance of trust and community. But my escape from that country town also shaped me by exposing me to the huge variety of experience and knowledge around us. It led me to be curious and to try to see things from many perspectives.
What area of your work are you most passionate about?
I love working on the frontiers of knowledge, where we can blend perspectives or ways of thinking to see new possibilities. For example, I’ve done a lot of work at the edges of design and strategy, and between public and private sectors.
What are some emerging trends in the social impact space?
I think social impact is having – or has maybe had – its ‘mainstream moment’. Increasingly, consumers incorporate social impact assessments into their purchasing decisions. As a result, some of the institutions with the biggest reach in our community are more conscious and intentional about their impact. For example, our largest retailers compete for the most ambitious impact agendas, and people just factor that in to where they shop. On the one hand this is great for purpose-driven organisations, because it creates new potential partners to help them achieve their goals. But on the other hand, it means that the expectations for delivering on their impact agendas are higher, and can create competing visions for change.
If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?
I’d start with expanding the range of voices involved in decision-making. Our institutions are still dominated by a narrow range of experiences. If we want the community to trust our institutions, our institutions need to reflect the diversity in the community.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I started to discover that the world was bigger than the country town where I grew up during my first year of university – and it showed in my results! After a particularly bad result, one of my lecturers called me in for a meeting, and said ‘you are where you spend your time’. It’s a lesson I have come back to a number of times over the years.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
I want to say about three here, but I’ll pick “Let it happen”, by Tame Impala. It has a great energy, and is about being open to possibilities (I think). I might play it now.