Are we a knowledge based economy?

What’s down the track for a knowledge based economy? 

photo-3 OPINION: Not only is its confrontational industrial relations environment seen as a major constraint on innovation, but government statistics show that its investment in R&D lags a long way behind most other industries. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data on business expenditure on R&D (BERD) shows that of the total $18,849 million invested in R&D across all Australian industries, manufacturing remained the largest contributor at $4,844 million (26 per cent). That outpaced professional, scientific and technical services ($3,753 million, or 20 per cent), financial and insurance services ($3,093 million, or 16 per cent) and mining ($2,830 million, or 15 per cent). Together, these four industries account for 77 per cent of total BERD, while construction contributed $864,103 (4.5 per cent). While the above data looks depressing, it masks the reality of how much innovation really happens in the construction sector. In contrast to the pre-planned, laboratory-based and scientific R&D that typifies others sectors such as manufacturing, innovation in construction normally happens at the ‘coal-face’ in response to day-to-day problems. This means it is largely ‘hidden’ from formal government R&D statistics. However, given that we are inexorably moving toward a knowledge-based future where intellectual property and new ideas will mean the difference between staying ahead of increasing competition or lagging behind, there are also strong arguments that the construction sector should be investing more in formal R&D. So it is worth knowing something about what R&D involves and the many commercial benefits it could bring, if designed and managed effectively. In simple terms, R&D is a knowledge creating process underpinned by rigorous scientific investigation which leads to the commercial development of new services and/or products. R&D can be applied or pure, the form being a response to market developments and having a practical application. Pure R&D is more conceptual and exploratory with the aim of adding to our knowledge base without any specific application. In contrast to applied R&D which has traditionally been the focus of the construction industry, pure R&D has traditionally been the responsibility of government. Government support for pure R&D has always been considered crucial because research shows that most private construction companies, if left to their own devices, would under-invest in this area. With only a few exceptions, the vast majority of construction companies see pure R&D as too risky and time-consuming and are not prepared to tolerate the long-term risks in capturing its benefits. However, as demonstrated by the world’s most innovative companies, when R&D is targeted and managed effectively, it can bring significant commercial benefits. Take for example, British Petroleum’s (BP’s) highly successful and innovative Venture Research Unit which developed and managed one of the world’s most successful corporate R&D programs. BP’s Venture Research Unit was deliberately located outside any of BP’s existing business units to enable it to generate ‘new breakthrough ideas that would lead to new industries and markets for BP.’ Working under the management of BP’s Venture Research Advisory Council and in close collaboration with the world’s leading universities, BP’s innovation strategy involved signing up the world’s most gifted pioneering researchers whose interests were aligned with the business. Rather than following the traditional approaches to R&D which typically involves commissioning pre-determined business-led projects, BP provided these top researchers with the resources to pursue their own ideas and to launch radical challenges to existing ideas outside any external business influences and constraints. This process not only preserved the ideology of independent, unbiased research, but was designed to promote uninhibited thinking. BP chose its team of researchers on the basis of whether their research would radically change thinking about something that was very important to society and to BP’s business. Once accepted into the Venture Research Unit’s team, BP’s goal was to help these leading researchers bring this about. There was an exceptional lightness of touch in managing this research. The only requirement imposed on the academic team was that they were to keep BP regularly informed of what they were doing so that BP could be the first to translate these ideas into marketable products and services to for their customers. Researchers were not concerned directly with the commercialization process. This was entirely BP’s responsibility and once a researcher received BP’s money, they were free to use it in any way they liked. BP did not dictate projects, fields of study, problems or timescales and eventually the unit’s funding was expanded to a consortium of business partners with complementary interests in BP’s demand and supply chain such as ICI, Sony and DuPont. The beauty of BP’s collaborative approach was that it avoided the classic problem of selecting research proposals and constraining the freedom of researchers to follow their passions and strengths. By supporting individual leading researchers and their research aspirations rather than specific research projects, BP was able to pursue a liberal approach which drew knowledge from a range of disciplines and business partners. Furthermore, by hand-choosing their research partners and by minimizing the normal time, resource and bureaucratic constraints associated with scientific research, BP not only reduced the barriers to innovation but they also reduced risk since the researchers they supported were almost certain to succeed. The key question and risk then became how to convert that research into ideas for BP’s benefit. The research that was implemented proved to be extremely successful and their return-on-investment more than covered the relatively small investment in the overall initiative. While there are too few examples like the above in the construction sector, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, Arup is renowned for investing significantly in both pure and applied research with a longer-term view. Arup is reported to invest approximately three per cent of its annual turnover in R&D and has a clear road map for its R&D which extends over 20 years into the future based on key drivers of change in key business areas. Arup also integrates research-based KPIs into performance reviews for staff who are required to publish and collaborate with universities in creating new knowledge for the benefit of the business and society at large. Arup’s research program is driven by both ‘pull’ from its business leaders and ‘push’ from universities and research network partners. Research is seen as vital for its strategic business planning to ensure that it is equipped for future trends and that it can capitalize on new opportunities to improve its business and enter new markets. As in BP’s case, Arup’s research team’s work involves forging and maintaining links with the best quality universities, researchers and research establishments, no matter where they are. Arup also works closely with government research funding and advisory bodies around the world to lobby for certain priority areas of funding and to leverage its own resources. Arup has arguably generated more knowledge than any other firm in the construction industry and has benefited enormously as a result. Indeed, many of Arup’s most successful business units have arisen out of its willingness to allow its staff members to pursue their own passions and interests within the work environment. Importantly, while this strategy has inevitably involved some risk and failure, it has also enabled Arup to build a global reputation for innovation, attract the world’s brightest and most engaged staff and to be first mover in a number of new markets and reap the significant benefits associated with this. While contracting is not generally synonymous with R&D, Laing O’Rourke also has a strong commitment to R&D through the formation and continued success of its Engineering Excellence Group (EnExG). It is not only Laing O’Rourke’s spending commitment to innovation and R&D (1.9 per cent of revenue) that led to it being recognized as one of the top 10 most innovative Australian organizations in 2014 and 2015. Rather, it is how these funds are utilized through the EnExG, and other activities of the wider organization, that makes Laing O’Rourke’s approach to innovation distinctly successful in an industry that often promotes similarity. The EnExG is a highly cross-disciplinary team that has offices in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Now five years old, it employs a broad mixture of intellects and experiences from both within and outside of the traditional construction industry, with the aim of providing the perspectives and insights that can only be gained at the overlapping boundaries of the traditional disciplines of knowledge. By providing the environment for challenging and disruptive ideas to take seed and grow, the EnExG aims to drive fundamental change in the practices and culture of the broader construction industry. This means much of the work of the EnExG is not solving problems through innovation, but rather providing fundamentally new methods and modes of thinking and working. The EnExG has pioneered the development and implementation of disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, augmented reality and biometric measurements, among many others, for use by the Laing O’Rourke workforce and clients. Along with this foundational development the EnExG acts as a cultivation space for promising and innovative commercial ventures. One of these, SunShift™, has been awarded several highly competitive government grants and been the subject of much media attention for its potential to reshape the economics of renewable power generation. While not every consultancy or construction company has the resources to invest in the types of highly structured and formalized R&D programs described above, it is worth remembering that all construction firms, large and small, exist in an increasingly globalised and knowledge-based economy where there is an ever greater reliance on our intellectual and creative capabilities than on our physical inputs or natural resources. We need to work smarter not just harder and without new ideas the Australian construction industry and the jobs that it provides will wither away in the face on growing and smart international competition. Thanks to Dr Rowan Braham of Laing O’Rourke’s Engineering Excellence Group for providing information relating to its activities.  Martin Loosemore is a Professor of construction management at UNSW. This opinion piece was first published on Sourceable.

KONA Group helps raise $345,000 for young Australians with disabilities

In 2015 KONA Group will be again raising funds for young people with significant disabilities. In February Managing Director Glenn Dobson will cycle 1,100 kms from Brisbane to Sydney to raise funds for young people with significant disabilities including cerebral palsy and autism. Last year KONA helped raise over $345,000 which DOUBLED the number of young people Fighting Chance, a local Australian Charity, were able to support as well as purchase equipment, adapted wheel chairs, vehicles and other much needed resources If you can’t join us on the ride can you please support the cause and donate at Every dollar will go to these young people Fighting Chance For more information on Fighting Chance please check out

Day 10 – Going Home

After a very funny Mexican evening in Nelson Bay and a belly full of Burritos to blow us home we set off yet again into a dawn of clear skies…   Today we had another ferry to catch across the river into Newcastle.  A brisk pace was set and off we went.  Little did Peter Eborn know it would be the day to take out the Black Hand award with multiple punctures and a stack when trying to take path space from big Stevie G… img_3283 Newcastle held a few surprises,  over the hill to Bar Beach and onto Merewether.  The need to concentrate was paramount as walking obstacles proved highly distracting.  Just about as distracting as Byron Bay!!  Onwards – the beautiful Fernleigh bike path for 20kms before making Blue Wren Drive to Elizabeth Bay.  A significant milestone of 1,000 kms pedalled and the whisper came through that the fundraising target had been achieved.  A very satisfying stop for lunch at Lizzies of Elizabeth Bay. 20140307_133752 You will notice my bike in this photo.  From a distance it looks like an impressive Ironman Time Trial bike, however after 1,100 kms up close it rattles and squeaks and clearly it is in need of a new ‘engine’. After this event, in 8 weeks time it will be responsible for carrying me 180 kms in the Australian Ironman at Port Macquarie. One posed the question as to who rattles and squeaks the most – Bike or Rider??? The afternoon concluded with one more flat tyre for Peter E, this time a wheel replacement was in order and on we rolled into The Entrance and a private awards ceremony.  Not before one last post ride rehydration session. 2014-03-07-14-50-16 Start of day 10 came with a beautiful sunrise and 6.30am departure for the last time…   This was to be a day of reflection, taking it all in and thinking about what we had achieved. 2014-03-08-06-44-05 Strict ride instructions were issued,  “Stay tight boys, keep the PODs together, lets get home safely…   Did Pod One listen or was this one last chance for a 33kmph pedal… 39kms to Ettalong for the Ferry and our last bakery stop. 20140308_090113 2014-03-08-10-07-17   Off the ferry on to the Palm Beach route… this is training territory….  Newport Hill – Easy!… A stop off at Mona Vale Quality Meats for Rod and Steve to meet family and friends, then into Narrabeen to Tim’s house and a wonderful photo with his daughter Ashleigh. The inspiration behind Tim which led to this great event img_6010 We are all getting very excited… Back on the training route to South Steyn Surf Club and the Group MANLY Photo to bookend the trip…  we had made it!  Manly to Manly… Up Lauderdale Avenue to the Spit for a group photo and waiting for the word from Paul to roll down Battle Boulevarde over the Spit Bridge and into final 100 m and over the finish line. 2014-03-08-12-46-44 Day 10 was a real mix of emotions – anticipation, satisfaction, accomplishment, relief, pride, gratitude, and a nagging sense of something between disappointment and loss from knowing that this journey was ending and that this group of 25 Fighting Chance 2014 team members would in all likelihood never be together again. But the sweetest sensation for me was seeing the faces of my family and those of the Fighting Chance members who we were raising funds for as we pedalled into Mosman – pure joy!!! I’m sure every one felt the same, one amazing crusade led by Tim, one fine pair of siblings leading Fighting Chance… One final group photo and a lovely way to say good bye… No more pedalling to do!!….. STATISTICS
  • 1,109.3 kilometers travelled
  • 9,013 meters climbed
  • 44hrs and 9mins in the saddle
  • 25.18kmph average pace
  • sausage rolls eaten???
  • Over $250,000 raised…
and a final note…. You can still donate…..   or even donate again at THANK YOU ALL!!!! Glenn To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 8 – Crashes, Climbs and Collapses

Day 8 dawned misty in Taree and we had already left by 6am. Gotta 2.30pm ferry to catch so we left focused on no slips ups and no one late… photo7 For Pod One things usually go according to plan, but today…. not quite. It started with the call to rollout at 6.00am and “where’s Eric?…” Not sure but it soon transpired that Eric was doing something that he should have done a little earlier… Out of the darkness looking quite embarrassed he appeared and 5 minutes later we were off… straight in to a lung busting hill We settled down to push some miles out of the days ride – into the single file pace line on the Pacific Highway, grinding hard, then bang!! Damo has punctured again… Not a great experience at 30kph img_1175 Puncture repaired off we hit a lengthy rise on the Highway… pace line pulling… Tim Smeallie doing email on his iPhone and woahhh!!! over the handle bars he goes Big Stevie G and Graeme just avoid riding over his bike and Tim himself…. We pick him up out of the roadside debris, dust him off, give him some HTFU tablets and establish nothing broken with bike or rider… That was a close call.. no more riding, listening to music and doing emails for Tim before we get back to Sydney. Today was turning into a real hard slog backing up from yesterday’s long 152kms pull into Taree.. All groups pressed on making serious dents in the schedule headed for Bulahdelah. Off the highway and onto Wooton Way and a very serious hill climb photo-25 One big hill was the warm up for the real thing, and then we charged into the segment known on Strava as Wooton Top Half… wooton A hard grind and over the summit and down into Bulahdelah nearly 2 hours ahead of schedule. So what did the boys do while they relaxed… Stevie G got a hair cut and manicure! I filled up on a veggie pie and Chad fell off his bike in a car park!! img_2585 Back on the bikes and 15kms of dirt track riding (NOT a great experience when you are riding a Triathlon Time Trial bike) to the Bombah Point Ferry and then 27kms into Tea Gardens for the ferry to Nelson Bay. Highlight of the trip for me was standing up in front of all passengers on the ferry and passing the hat round as the passengers donated to our great cause 20140306_142040

“How Much?”

Coming to you from the Halifax Holiday park in Nelson Bay… Time to hit the rack, refresh the legs and be ready for some pedalling first thing tomorrow. Getting close to Sydney but still a couple of instalments to go… Get organised and be down at the Spit in Mosman on Saturday to welcome us home. The highlight of the Fighting Chance Summer Festival. We aim to arrive around 1pm… Oh, and ‘Go Souths!’ A great win from the South Yorkshire Rabbitohs sufest_thumb To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 7 – ‘Big Wednesday’

After two quiet days on the road, day seven was always going to be the toughest day of the tour, a 152kms ride from Crescent Head to Taree. The build up last night involved all the correct nutrition of an athlete – a Chinese meal and a couple of schooners. This was a nice change to the usual steak and chips we have been used to during the tour. After a good feed all riders got there heads down early ready for ‘Big Wednesday’. We set off in the dark at 6.30 with a cool mist still settling in the valleys and no sunrise photo for the blog… Nev and Col provided Salami and Cucumber sandwiches, which led to many riders witnessed passing wind and belching for the first 25 kms!!! The morning had previously started well with Tim banging on the door of the young ones to wake them up and get them into shape early. This worked for the best part of half hour, when 20kms into the day the front support (Paul & Charles) misjudged a few turns and forgot to use the radios. Nothing too major, just a very confused nineteen riders. The last member of the young ones didn’t take to well to Tim’s early wake up. We rode on part of the Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon course today past the camels and I thought bugger it, time to ride with the ‘big boys’ in the fast group, even though they are in reality quite light, skinny and a lot younger than me We took off and I put my angry race head on and averaged just under 30 kms an hours for 150 kms! I hit the lead of the front group when we got onto the Ironman course and absolutely hammered it Great practise for May’s Ironman – a 4km swim then a 180kms bike race followed immediately by a 42kms marathon Jordy, who already has had some issues on the road, came up trumps again. He managed to puncture his tyre twice within the first 60kms, the second puncture causing the biggest drama. Jordy was cycling with a bulge coming out the side of his tyre, when the wheel locked he thought it would be a good idea to pull over and find the problem. The team joined him and when Rod put his hand up to help with the flat, the front tyre on Jordan’s bike exploded, giving Rod a numb hand and sent Simon Noakes into the bushes with fright. The punctures held the third pod back quite significantly, however they are pretty used to that riding with Jordy. ‘Big Wednesday’ will mark a significant point in the Tour de Chance. All riders will have completed the biggest day of the tour, however, this does not mean an easy run into Sydney. The final 324kms will test us all with some very steep climbs (which with my size I always have to work extra hard on compared to the lighter smaller blokes) and this is where it is important that we keep our nutrition and recovery up (As I speak a few of the team are heading to the local RSL to ‘rehydrate’) Our riders love hearing messages of support from you and we also love your donations as EVERY cent us going to the people with disabilities at Fighting Chance Your donations are going to have significant impact on the lives of people with severe disabilities so please help us get as much money into an organisation that is doing amazing things. Come on guys three days to go, so send us a message! To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 6 – How to burn 6,000 calories in one day

One of the biggest challenges to multi day events is how to eat and drink enough to keep the body functioning under immense physical pressure, especially when you are on the move all of the time and don’t feel like eating. On an average working day most people burn around 2,500 calories. Yesterday I burnt over 6,000 on one days ride, which if I wasn’t eating on the bike and at each break, would create a major physical problem as my body would start to shut down Starting with a high carb breakfast I nibble every 10-15 minutes on bananas, power bars, meal replacement drinks like Nutrastart, muesli bars, Growling Dogs, veggie mite sandwiches, oranges, snakes and other delicacies. Then at each break I have tried vegetable pies, toast, smoothies, quiche, ham and cheese sandwiches, and more Today though I made the mistake of eating 2 sushi rolls which was a BIG mistake as, though high in carbs (fuel), they don’t digest well at 30 kms an hour. Cycling tip of the day – don’t ride behind a cyclist who won’t stop and throws up while pedalling! No more needs to be said Today is a 70 kms ‘rest and recovery’ day and we have arrived in Crescent Head after a relatively quiet day on tour. With time to reflect, the team have put together the best five moments of the tour for you to enjoy. 1, Two days in, apparently the six radios, two support cars, four support crew and nineteen riders was not enough to warn Yours Truly of a wooden bridge. The story goes that I rolled over whilst thinking about my nutrition routine when I get my front wheel stuck in between the wooden slats and fall off my bike nearly going over the edge of the bridge. 2, Peter ‘The Beaver’ Bevis, decides to introduce himself to the co founder of Fighting Chance, Jordan O’Reilly, in style. Whilst riding through beautiful country lanes surrounded by rolling hills and stunning crop fields, Jordan deciders to take a bite of his Carman’s muesli bar to give him a bit of energy to get through the last 10kms, at the same time Pete is trying hard to avoid the cow dung littered across the road, unfortunately Pete makes a slight misjudgement and rides straight through nice fresh cow dung which flicks up right into Jordan’s mouth. Apparently cow dung doesn’t compliment muesli bars in any way shape or form. 3, Pod One, a group that has come into their own over the last few days, made up of experienced riders who are eating up the kilometres on this tour. Being up at the front, they spend the majority of the time with the front support crew who are on hand to give out directions. After a stop in Macksville Tim speaks with the front support crew and informs them that the riders will not need directions saying “if anyone gets lost here they deserve to be lost”. As we head off the front support crew stops off at Woolworth’s to get the shopping done for a bbq that evening, only to look around and see a group of six riders circling the woolies car park trying to find their way. 4, Greg Rector drew first blood for the cause today, however not in heroic style. With only 5kms to go a bridge appears for Greg to overcome, after hearing stories from Glenn Dobson, Greg decides that it might be best to walk it. This also proved to be a problem, Greg jumps off his bike walks across the bridge only to fall over in front of a car that stops within feet of Greg. Luckily Kim was on hand with cameras to capture the moment. 5, Finally, nothing can beat Kim’s tremendous effort with his waterproofing. The irony of wearing a high vis, waterproof jacket to dinner in a pub was there for all to see when the moment Kim was peer pressured into removing the jacket, The Beaver Pete Bevis dropped his full, cold beer all over Kim. Well done boys. The team will need your messages of support more than ever for tomorrow, a 152kms ride is in front of us, going from Crescent Head to Taree. Please connect with us and keep sending your messages of support and donations as we get through the second half of the tour. We look forward to seeing you at the Summer Festival at the Spit Reserve in Mosman to welcome the riders home at around 1pm Cheers, Glenn To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 4 – Cow Pats, Toothless Bikies and Sore Behinds

Breakfast this morning in Grafton (where are all of the people? – it is a ghost town) – was a change from the Ham and Cheese rolls produced by Nev and Col every morning….  McDonald food of champions – 24 very hungry customers at 6.30am in the morning, certainly gave the 2 girls on service some real challenges,  perhaps we should have called ahead!!! Our day is well planned around regular stops to regroup and refuel and first stop this morning was at the bakery at Glenreagh where Nev our support driver was handing out apples. A fairly old and crusty biker (as in motor biker) rolled up and Nev wandered over and asked if he could have a photo with him.  The biker goes “why…” Nev says, “well we are a charity called Fighting Chance raising funds for disabled children and I just wondered if I could have a photo with you….   You can have an apple if you want….” The bikie responds…  “an apple,  why do I want an apple, I’ve got no F$&$%g  teeth!!!” One of our riders, John Maguire has given Col and Nev $50 so each day they can buy him a packet of frozen peas to ease his saddle sores for when we finish each day. However much to Johns disgust the money is being spent on ice to keep the beer cold We have now cycled 500 kms and after 4 days on the road it isn’t getting any easier. The Young Bulls are flying however us Old Bulls are hanging in there and chasing them up those hills As one bloke said when we rolled into Sawtel just South of Coffs Harbour – “Sawtel, sore legs and sore arse” Last 20 kms today were on very rough cow manure covered country roads. One of us had just opened up a Power Bar when the bike in front went through a fresh green cow pat and splashed it up all over the bar chewing bloke behind! Not sure if that flavour will catch on. Last scene of the day was Jordan ‘rehydrating’ on Fat Yak and he is going to have a really tough day tomorrow!! To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 3 – 150kms and the Beaver is Back

Hi all, Today’s update is a bit brief as we had a 9 hour journey riding 147kms in testing conditions. It was hot, windy and busy (see the stats below) The day got off to a bit of a late start with everyone moving a little slowly after the birthday celebrations last evening but once again spirits were lifted thanks to a sensational sunrise. After a quick stop for a photo at the Ballina Big Prawn we were on our way. Apart from me nearly falling over the edge of a bridge yesterday when my tyre got stuck inbetween wooden planks, we had our first fall for the ride when Tim hit the deck (literally) walking his bike onto the car ferry at South Ballina. Everyone made the ride safely and in good spirits – if not pretty fatigued. I expect that we will be in bed not much past sunset tonight. Another testing day tomorrow with the ride to Coffs and Sawtell, and then onto Bellingen for the night. Lots of hill climbing! How do we know that we are successfully getting the Fighting Chance message out there? Well today we got an indication. One of the riders (Kim McD) walked onto a shop in Maclean and was stopped by a guy who saw his Tour jersey and said “I saw you guys on tele and you are doing great work – keep it up”. Now with no disrespect to the fine people of Maclean, but it is not a major regional town let alone a thriving metropolis, but if the message is registering here, then we are on the right track- all good!! For those of you waiting for the ride to start before making your donation – now would be a good time to show your support. Those ‘New Donation” messages work wonders on restoring the energy levels!! To donate please go to Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

Day 1 – Blog for our Brisbane to Sydney cycle ride

Hello All, At last it has come down to the day of the ride.  We are 19 cyclists (I hesitate to say athletes) cycling 1100kms in 10 days with a support team in 2 vehicles. All good, right? I mean what could possibly go wrong?? I am pleased (and somewhat surprised) to report that we were pretty much on track from the start, with just a few minor hiccups but nothing overly concerning. One of the team missed his flight to Brisbane (great start fella!!), another needed urgent bike repairs when he drove into his driveway with his bike on the roof of his car and forgot about a low hanging branch (!!!) – as I said, what could possibly go wrong? But despite all this it was pure joy and some sense of relief to see the Team in Manly, Brisbane yesterday working thru the final bike checks and confirming the ride logistics before we got up at 4.30 am this morning. After a breakfast of a banana and a bottle of Gatorade we set off, with the media and an ABC film crew recording our departure We did have a slightly inauspicious start as we were locked in motel car park and couldn’t initially get out Then on leaving the car park one of the team got a flat tyre, however after that all we had to watch out for was pot holes, dead kangaroos, traffic and fatigue Riding in groups of 5 the rest of the day was a great success and very organised, with a total focus on safety (The absolute opposite to a typical Ironman triathlon   training ride!) 95 kms and 5 hours later we arrived in Miami just south of Surfers Paradise and went for a swim. A good finish to the day’s exercise Tomorrow we ride 120 kms from Miami to Ballina Stay tuned Glenn Dobson is the Managing Director of the KONA Group and raising funds for Fighting Chance, a charity that supports young people with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities. For more information on KONA’s sales and sales management training and coaching courses in Sydney or Melbourne Australia, or how you can donate to our Brisbane to Sydney ride please call 1300 611 288 or email [email protected]

KONA Group is riding Brisbane to Sydney to support Fighting Chance, by Glenn Dobson

On 27 February 2014, I will be cycling 1,000 kms from Brisbane to Sydney to raise more than $250,000 for Fighting Chance – a charity that creates opportunities for young adults with significant physical disabilities to access employment and social participation programs.

Along with 14 other riders the reason I’m attempting the 1000 kms Brisbane to Sydney ride is that I’ve been fortunate to be able to conquer some of the world’s major sporting challenges, however, I’m inspired by the amazing work Fighting Chance do on a daily basis.

In 2012, I fulfilled a 13 year dream and completed the Hawaii Ironman, in Kona. In 2011, I ran 250 kms across the Sahara Desert before representing Australia in the Triathlon World Championships in Las Vegas. Then, in 2010 I fought Heavy Weight boxing champion John Hopoate, then 6 days later ran 475 kms across the Simpson Desert to raise $32,000 for Breast Cancer patients.

The Fighting Chance team help people with disabilities to live a better life, when every day is a challenge that makes the Sahara and Hawaii Ironman pale into significance, and for that reason the KONA Group want to help in our own small way to make a difference to their work.

So can I ask you to please help me raise funds for this great cause and donate what you can at

(Your donation is tax deductible).

To get more information on the ride and what Fighting Chance plans to do with the funds you donate please go to

Thank you very much for your support as we all genuinely appreciate it and please take a minute or two to think about friends in your network that you might feel comfortable sharing this email with.