Canberra innovation hits the world stage

The ACT is a hotbed for entrepreneurship – and now its dedicated innovation hub is taking that message to the world stage.

Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) will represent the nation’s capital at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), to share its approach to supporting economic growth through innovation and strategic collaboration.

Led by CEO Petr Adámek and supported by Kelly Cruz and Irene Zhen, the team will educate innovation leaders on how to design challenges that engage talent and inspire action.

They will also explain how diverse collaboration and co-ownership of challenges can help take innovative projects from the idea stage to implementation.

“Collaborative innovation is something Canberra does really well. We have much experience to share with people on this topic,” Petr says.

“We want to share with the world how we organise our innovation ecosystem in the ACT and how we apply collaborative innovation methods to activate the entrepreneurial capacity in the Territory.

“We believe our approach is world class, and other innovation centres can learn from us.”

But the experience is expected to be mutually beneficial. Aside from sharing Canberra’s most successful approaches with the world, the team is there to learn what practices are yielding results elsewhere, and potentially new ways to bolster the local innovation ecosystem.

“The team will be meeting with like-minded people from around the world who are looking after innovation ecosystems and supporting entrepreneurship to change the world for the better,” he says.

“We’re hoping to learn how others do it, to benchmark our practices against the rest of the world and hopefully, to implement some of the ideas we see here in Canberra.”

room filled with working students at hackathon
Hackathons such as this in conjunction with the Australian National University (ANU) are one of the many initiatives CBRIN uses to tease out ideas from innovative minds. Photo: CBRIN

Aside from being an incubator for start-ups and an innovation centre for established companies, CBRIN is a place where research institutes come together to collaborate on innovation and entrepreneurship.

The organisation also runs specific programs designed to increase connectivity between stakeholders in this innovation ecosystem.

What results is an intricate web that facilitates efficient and elegant innovation.

“Imagine them as a suite of services or programs that bring together a variety of stakeholders to address specific opportunities, problems or complex issues. This is a powerful tool that can be used in anything from space exploration to addressing fatigue in truck drivers,” Petr explains.

“That’s a real example – in 2018 we collaborated with the Australian Trucking Association and corporate sponsors on a hackathon to reduce tiredness and fatigue behind the wheel.”

Canberra team at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress
The Canberra team at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Photo: CBRIN.

CBRIN arranges hackathons, collab-labs, start-up competitions and innovation challenges that apply to real-life issues.

“There are great entrepreneurial minds in our ecosystem. These initiatives are designed to tease and stimulate those minds to come up with ideas to benefit people and planet,” Petr says.

“We want to share how we engage the corporate entities that are typically sponsors of these activities, along with government, which has a vested interest in social issues, and connect them with research institutions to come up with solutions.

“We are prepared to share with the audience at GEC how we do all this in Canberra, and how it can help the mission of innovation centres to activate whole start-up ecosystems.

“Canberra has a highly active collaborative innovation model driven by a strong alliance of the Territory’s government with our education and research institutions. This approach is still quite unique globally, and there’s interest from people to learn from us and connect with us about it.”

The four-day Global Entrepreneurship Congress began on Tuesday, 19 September.

Article written by Dione David for Riotact.