We will always remember 2020. The year in which most people realised we need to do more to address climate change. The year in which digital transformation happened much faster than we ever believed it could. The year in which we re-discovered the need to be better connected to each other. The year in which it became very apparent how fundamental innovation is to our survival and to our sustainable existence on this planet.

Crises are opportunities. They are wake-up calls. Formational and transformative moments. What will our transformation be? Is it mostly up to us or are we insignificant in changing the course of history?

At the Canberra Innovation Network we believe our future will be empowered by innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe it matters how we look after the environment in which businesses, academia, governments, community organisations, entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizens collaborate to create and progress new ideas to have a real world impact. We believe it takes visionary leadership and willingness to work together to create such an environment. And that is why we are not in it alone. Backed by the ACT Government, with support from major higher education institutions, including the Australian National University, University of Canberra, University of New South Wales Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology, CSIRO and its Data61, we engage with corporate sponsors, such as Optus, King&Wood Mallesons, PwC and ActewAGL and join forces with anyone in our community who are ready to roll up their sleeves and help us build a truly clever, connected, and creative city. We are very grateful for having such an amazing and growing web of pro-active supporters.

Our collective purpose is to empower entrepreneurs to make an impact and change the world. And we continue to be amazed and humbled every day as we observe how they do. Just look at the small selection of the 10 who pitched at the end of year Innovation Showcase. From non-alcoholic craft beer to sustainability evaluation software, block-chain food provenance tracing or quantum computing, Canberra entrepreneurs are not afraid to try to turn the impossible into the possible. And as they do, they diversify our economy, create new jobs all the while helping to solve some of the world’s most wicked challenges. As citizens, we can be really proud of the Canberra’s innovation sector.

But more needs to be done. In fact, innovation must not be understood as a sector. It must be a theme which is top of mind and put daily into practice across all businesses, institutions and among our citizens. Canberra has all the right ingredients for this to happen. We are, really, only at the beginning of what is possible to achieve.

As we sign off this extraordinary year, we call on you to join us in 2021 to be a part of our vision of a clever, connected and creative city where entrepreneurs and innovative businesses build on our excellence in research and innovation to create social and economic benefits for all.

Petr Adamek, CEO