Interview with Dr Lloyd Nash, Co-Founder of Global Health Startup “Global Ideas”

First published September 2, 2016


Dr Lloyd Nash is a General Medicine Physician working between Australia and Vanuatu, who co-foundedGlobal Ideas, a series of conferences and events where people from diverse industries unite to learn about Global Health issues, social ventures, and career pathways. Lloyd and his friends created this as they found a severe lack of opportunities for people at various stages in their studies or professional lives to explore career options in Global Health. This weekend, their fifth Global Ideas Forum will be held in Melbourne, featuring international guest speakers and small group sessions. During the year, they also host the Design Jam and Global Ideas Labs, where people brainstorm particular issues in Global Health over three hours, using human-centred design thinking.

Lloyd has successfully brought together healthcare workers, architects, graphic designers, lawyers, NGO founders, social entrepreneurs and more into a Global Health powerhouse that energises people at all levels of education to build solutions to Global Health problems. We’d been blown away by the enthusiasm at last year’s Global Ideas Forum, and got talking to Lloyd about his journey combining traditional clinical training with building his own Global Health organisation.

Dr lloyd nashjpg

Dr Lloyd Nash. Photo: Supplied

How did Global Ideas begin?

It started around the board table at an AMA (Australian Medical Association) meeting in 2011. I was there as the chair of the College of Physicians’ Trainees’ committee. I was sitting with young, inspiring people who were passionate about global health, including Dr Rob Mitchell, Dr Ross Roberts-Thomson, and Dr Jake Parker, and we were lamenting the status of Global Health career opportunities.

The lament was, there’s a lot of passion and energy around medical students and campuses, lots of activity and initiatives, then people get into the early part of their careers, whether in healthcare or not, and get buried. Often they might come to Global Health at the end of their career, but there’s a sort of donut (where their Global Health opportunities are lacking). That was a frustration for us, realising there wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm about Global Health, more of a lack of pathways, opportunities and engagement.

Also, looking at my own career path, as I trained in Infectious Diseases for awhile, the Global Health models that were around were either, do an internship at the WHO, or via NGOs- volunteer in the field for two years, then we might give you a job as a program officer. It seemed both of those were very bureaucratic, unresponsive pathways, not fit for purpose, and hadn’t adapted to the 21st century realities of technology, using the skills and passion coming through from the next generation. Most people were told to go do a Master’s degree or camp in the jungle for five years, then come back and look for work. It seemed to be the wrong way to harness the energy and enthusiasm of younger people.

So we started Global Ideas with the Forum in 2012. Our mission is to create and connect the next generation of Global Health leaders. It’s a leadership capacity building project, from Education through to Action.

The structure was Learn, Share, Develop and Connect, as an educational and networking enterprise. We wanted people to learn about new initiatives, share their own ideas, any research they might have done, any social enterprises and other new initiatives they may have developed, and connect with a broad, diverse interdisciplinary community.

We ran three conferences, then had a strategic review and thought, what more do we need to be doing? We were doing well at engaging and inspiring younger people, but I wanted to do more knowledge and skills development, so we launched a couple of new programs- the Labs and Design Jam.

Labs is an extension of the Forum- Labs engages people on a more regular basis to dive deeper into issues over 3 hours. We have a Lead (facilitator), and intimate group discussions. It revolves around the Sustainable Development Goals framework, so connections between health and development, and advocating for the Sustainable Development agenda amongst the next generation of Global Health leaders. We wanted to have events like edutainment, so people can be, like, “I could go to the cinema tonight, or go to the Lab, and I could have more fun and learn more by going to the Lab.”

The Design Jam program extends that educational journey into Action. We partner with organisations doing Global Health work, Design organisations and other groups, and smash those together with our participants to help people become more aware and comfortable applying the tools of Human-Centred Design Thinking.

How can you motivate anyone to care about Global Health and see themselves as change-makers?

If you think about how to create change or develop leadership influence, think about people’s motivations and passions. We encourage people to reflect on their world view to influence others’ behaviour. To do this, you’ve got to learn about Global Health. You’ve got to develop skills to apply in the field, not just vertical skills, but a reproducible thought model that is creative, innovative, and collaborative, to apply to complex challenges in their own careers. That came screaming at us as Human-Centred Design and Design Thinking, and I use both terms interchangeably.

We want to have discussions that feel comfortable, usually taking the form of expert, but I really wanted to challenge the idea of expertise. The concept that you have to be an old professor who’s published a lot of papers, I didn’t think that was true. We wanted to promote the idea that younger people who’ve taken time to reflect and had experiences can be experts in their own right.

I ran a Lab in June on ethics and leadership, discussing Sustainable Development Goal 16- Peace and Justice- how you build societies that encourage dialogue and discussion around conflict.

So I was nominally a discussion lead, and brought a friend and colleague, Professor Paul Komesaroff, who’s a clinician and philosopher, who also led the discussion, but we’re not there to teach or preach. We facilitate connections and help the crowd, and reflect insights back to people. That’s the essence of good facilitation.

We’re creating pathways because, maybe, someone will meet someone working in Global Health, or an organisation that has opportunities through what is a pretty complex system.

How quickly did Global Ideas evolve to what it is today?

It was remarkably quick actually, our meeting was end of 2011, our first forum was held 2012, and now we’re at our fifth forum.

We were kind of powered by medical doctors in the beginning, mainly through my networks. The four of us, Jake, Rob, Ross and I sat and decided we needed a more diverse board, so we brought on Jenny Jamieson who is also another doctor; an accountant, and a lawyer; then we ran into a young doctor who was very passionate about Global Health, Natalie Wright, and literally over a coffee I said, “I have an idea to run a conference, will you help me?” and she was like, “Yes,” and she was effectively our CEO and forum convenor. We literally sat in a cafe on the back of an envelope and sketched out what a great forum would look like.

We brought in other people. Our first academic officer, was also a doctor, Aaron, a really bright guy who created a great experience for people that was grounded in Global Health with many career development angles. This became Global Cafes, sitting in small groups talking to people who’d worked in Global Health, and could reflect back to others about their leadership journeys, and people could ask how they could consider their own career pathways, educational opportunities, and opportunities for action. We had a Career Corner, and Family Time- threaded throughout the conference, in small groups where they stayed with each other during the conference to build intimate connections. Family Time has now become Reimagine Time, which still runs throughout the conference to address global health issues via human-centred design thinking.

How did you get the word out to designers and other professional groups?

Once you diversify your leadership team, you can diversify your management team, your content, and everything else. As the board evolved, it became more diverse, we brought on a designer, a business development person, and a human-centred design service designer. The board became radically diverse.

We always took a more upstream look at Global Health, in that we’re not here to just look at tech solutions for global health. We’re looking at drivers of ill health, particularly social and environmental determinants of ill health. Health is intimately connected with development and vice versa, and people felt it was very accessible and our events were not swamped in health, and that health touches all aspects of their lives.

Once you have content that’s engaging for these people they come along.

What’s your biggest tip for people wanting to do what you’re doing?

There’s a lot of ways to create impact. We identified five personas at Global Ideas, ranging from Grassroots advocacy to Entrepreneurial activities to Policy-making. You may fit into one or more personas. Start with what you’re passionate about, and how you can influence the world, and you’ll quickly identify with one or more of these personas. Once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about and what gets you out of bed in the morning, decide, how do I want to create influence? Do I need a bigger network? More education? And that’s partly planning, part serendipity. But you’ve got to know where you want to get to.
Don’t be intimidated by vertical pathways that are wound up with social status. If you want to change the world, work out how you want to change it, and make it happen.

The Global Ideas Forum 2016 kicks off tonight in Melbourne. Tickets are still available, including day and student passes, here

Creative Spotlight: Dr Nelson Lau, Photographer

First published July 1, 2016


The Medical Startup believes that creativity is the life-force of good in healthcare, technology and business. We’ll be regularly featuring the faces of health professionals and medical startups who excel in creative pursuits beyond their medical and startup careers.

Dr Nelson Lau is a General Practitioner, telehealth doctor, professional photographer and filmmaker. His company, Looking Glass Photography, has exhibited on multiple occasions, including twice at Head On, Australia’s largest photography festival. Nelson’s current exhibition, “Timeless,” is finishing on a high note this weekend as part of Head On in Sydney.

Timeless” photo exhibition by Dr Nelson Lau, Looking Glass Photography. Photo taken with Dr Lau’s permission.

Inspired by the languid beauty of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai’s film “In The Mood For Love”, “Timeless” takes viewers on a suspenseful journey of hope and longing, following two star-crossed lovers through The Rocks and other iconic Sydney locations.

The characters of “Timeless” are styled in the nostalgic fashion of Hong Kong in the 60s, with beautiful cheongsams, delicate wristwatches and the female protagonist’s iconic bouffant nodding to Wong Kar-Wai’s depiction of the era.

The Rocks was once a thriving marketplace where many Chinese immigrants sold their wares in the 1800s. “If you look outside, there is still a wall on one of the buildings with the name of a Chinese merchant painted from back then,” says Nelson. He had the honour of Claudia Chan Shaw, daughter of acclaimed fashion designer Vivian Chan Shaw, speaking at “Timeless”’ opening night.

We met Nelson at his exhibition and chatted about his work.


How did you get started with photography?

In med school, I made time for life drawing, sculpture and photography, and reading literature. I believed in the benefit of keeping something outside of medicine. It’s really important to try find your identity outside of medicine. In high school, what really inspired me was literature and the arts, even though I was much better at science and maths.

How did you evolve from school days to med school, and develop your careers in medicine and filmmaking?

I’ve worked in a lot of places- I trained and then worked in both metropolitan and rural Western Australia. I’ve also worked in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Horn Island, the New South Wales Central Coast, and now, Sydney. I grew up in Swaziland and Hong Kong. You see huge inequalities in health in Swaziland. The percentage of the population between 15-49 years of age with HIV is 29%! One of the highest rates in the world.

My student elective was in Mauritius- Quatre-Borne- in Paediatrics. Again, I was faced with more health inequalities. There’d be six kids to one cot! Very different from the holiday resort depictions of the country.

Dr Nelson Lau, Looking Glass Photography, at his latest exhibition, “Timeless.” Photo taken with Dr Lau’s permission.

I began taking photographs in high school, and continued throughout med school. I started out using manual SLRs, then learnt how to create Super8 videos from my dad. I also have a lot of friends in Med who are very creative.

Working as a doctor has also allowed me to travel to many interesting places around Australia. I met I met Torres Strait Islander and ARIA-award-winning musician, Seaman Danwhen I was working on Horn Island, which is next to Thursday Island at the northern tip of Queensland. He would take the ferry with his Zimmer frame across every week to play gigs at the pub, and then return the same night! I shot a photo documentary about him.

I also shot a documentary photography series about Ron Williams’ David and Goliath journey against the High Court challenge relating to the National School Chaplaincy Program. Multiple interests have led me to different projects.

Can you describe your photography?

It took awhile for me to pinpoint my style. I finally realised, that I create fine art portraiture in a narrative sense.

“Timeless” represents key frames of a film about the couple’s life. I also created a short nine-minute film at the exhibition, featuring 2.5D animation techniques. I shot the scenes over four days, over the course of three years. Serena, the female model, is also a big fan of Wong Kar-wai’s work, and of Maggie Cheung (the lead actress from “In The Mood For Love”). Then I tried to write a story about it.

It’s interesting that Wong Kar-wai’s films are never scripted..

Yes, and I tried to do that with Timeless, too. Initially, I was writing the story myself. This idea that they’d be in parallel worlds and travel through time. Then I came across Emily Dickinson. I realised her words would help enhance the key frames, and the viewer can then relate their own interpretations of the story.

The Rocks Discovery Museum, where Nelson’s exhibition, part of Head On Photo Festival, will run til July 3rd. Photo: The Medical Startup

How did your interest in Telehealth begin?

I started six years ago, when Medibank called out for GPs to help with their telehealth project. Patients were dialling from rural locations where the closest doctor could be over 500kms away. The service provided patients across Australia with free after hours’ GP advice. Often, the patients wouldn’t know how to use their prescribed medications properly, or needed other simple advice that they would have otherwise travelled to the nearest ED for, after hours.

Now, I am a consulting GP for ReadyCare, which is a part of TelstraHealth.

At the moment, Telehealth consults aren’t directly covered by the Government or Medicare. There’s no MBS rebate for the patient. It’ll be great when the Government sees the benefit of Telehealth in Australia. It’ll improve access for rural communities to healthcare.

We need data to show the benefit of telehealth in certain areas. It’s not a replacement for a regular GP living in the area. Telehealth’s function is to be complementary to the patient’s own regular GP’s care. It’s really important for us that we promote and ensure the continuity of care between the patient and their own GP.

What’s some advice you’d like to share with others interested in pursuing a similar journey?

I heard some advice from Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page: “Don’t think in terms of limitations now- think in terms of possibilities in the future.”

Timeless” as part of Head On Photo Festival will be showing until 3 July 2016 at The Rocks Discovery Museum. Entry is free. Visit and to learn more about the exhibition and to follow Nelson’s work.

Opening Hours:

Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm


Kendall Lane (off Argyle St)

2000 The Rocks , NSW

How Co-Working Spaces Can Help You And Your Startup

First published June 2, 2016


Wondering what co-working is? We visited two major co-working spaces in Perth-  Spacecubedand its sister space Flux, to find out.

Co-working spaces are community spaces for working on and building your startup, sole trader enterprise, or scaling business. Spacecubed just held Australia’s first Mental Health Hackathon, MindHack. Its success means another MindHack is in the works!

Co-working spaces are also, by definition, a space for working with other businesses, at various stages of a business lifecycle and from a range of different industries. Startups and sole founders can be very isolated, and co-working helps to solve this problem. Membership flexibility allows businesses and sole founders to adapt as they require, and the space is built to facilitate networking and collaboration, as well as quiet -room working spaces and longer-term office leases.

Spaces tend to offer a rotating program of activities that can help its members, for example, SEO tutorials, legal advice, games events, pitching tips, and drinks. Some of these events may be open to the wider community.


Spacecubed offers packages including mentorship and legal advice for its members. Photo: The Medical Startup


Spacecubed Marketing Manager Matt Kirk kindly took us on a tour one Wednesday, showing us the varied office spaces, desks and personalities inhabiting Spacecubed over several floors. Home to startups across a range of industries, co-working helps members cross-pollinate ideas, resources and perspectives that they wouldn’t encounter otherwise . Having neighbours who are coders, engineers, designers, or copywriters from fintech, education, photography and even space tech, helps new connections and, potentially, new startups form. Mentor programs also run from many spaces.


Spacecubed, Perth. Photo: The Medical Startup

Hot-desking options allow members to meet and greet while working in different spaces. Office space for more established companies are also available for hire. Part-time and full-time memberships are on offer, and many spaces offer one-day or even free introductory rates. Packages at most co-working spaces exist to be flexible, starting from daily rates to monthly or even yearly memberships. Spacecubed also offer a day of free co-working at partner locations across Australia, and this helps foster connections between communities across the country.

Housed in the former Reserve Bank of Australia headquarters, Spacecubed has different floors for levels of quietness during work hours. Meetings can be held in a soundproofed former bank vault. And, further down the road at Flux, businesses can use the new maker labs with 3D printer, virtual reality lab, and prototyping materials – a first for co-working in Perth. Introductory packages are on offer to coincide with Flux’s opening this month.


A peek inside a demo office at Flux Perth. Photo: The Medical Startup

The other benefit of co-working spaces tends to be location. Both Spacecubed and Flux are situated along the CBD hub of St George’s Terrace. The area’s bank facades and glass windows are punctuated by shortcuts to some of Perth’s best bars and dining areas for business meetings and post-work meetups. I snuck over to the Print Room for a meeting, chomping kale salad while my colleague had a drink, and, later, The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House for a dinner catchup. (Melburnians, think Chin Chin with less queuing and a more Malaysian twist.) Perth’s startup scene may not be as well-known as Sydney and Melbourne, but its geographical isolation, strong education institutions and quiet beauty has helped it become a major player in Australia’s startup community.

For more details and to book a free tour, visitSpacecubed‘s and Flux’s websites.