My month of exchange at The Canberra Innovation Network

Written by Jindřich Weiss – Chief Services Officer at JIC, Czech Republic.


I have worked in the area of innovation support for more than 11 years.

My home organisation is JIC (South Moravian Innovation Centre) seated in Brno, Czech Republic. JIC’s vision is an open innovation ecosystem that is home to globally successful entrepreneurs and an inspiration to the world. In order to get closer to this vision, we run a number of different services for entrepreneurs and ecosystem projects.

It is no secret that Petr Adámek guided our management team as a facilitator while formulating our vision. That happened 4 years ago. Based on our long-term trustful partnership with Petr, we have agreed on a staff exchange. Thus, I have had a unique chance to spend a month at The Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) and JIC will host CBRIN team member, Arthur Pappas in February 2020. Here are some of my thoughts on what I have experienced here.

What we have in common

It is actually more than one would expect from such a far distant cities and organisations.

Socio-economic context

Despite one major difference – Canberra is Australia’s capital, whereas Brno is a second city – there are major similarities. To name some of them: city size around 400 thousands people; each city having more than 50 thousand students at the major universities; world-class research teams; exceptional quality of life. This context provides a critical mass of talented people and favourable conditions to nurture vibrant innovation ecosystems.

Unity and high commitment of regional stakeholders

Both CBRIN and JIC are organizations that were born from a broad consensus of key regional players. Having a multi-founders’ structure comprising of regional governments and major educational and research organizations, CBRIN and JIC can execute innovation support with a strong mandate. Such stakeholders’ support and unity is not a matter of course in many other regions. We should take care about it, mainly of the trust among the regional partners, which is a key enabler for a truly collaborative regional innovation environment.

Top people

Service-based organisations must rely on people. That applies to innovation centres in Europe as well as in Australia.

Both CBRIN and JIC have been lucky enough to attract unique persons like Petr, Sharyn or Craig. They became natural co-creators of their organization and visionary cheer-leaders of the ecosystem. High level of purposefulness, enthusiasm and customer-focus are common features that I have observed among all staff at CBRIN and JIC. Working here is more than “a normal job”.

Core values

Our organizations believe in the same guiding principles:

Only long-term high-quality work realised through thousands of small concrete actions can result in the desired compound effect. No matter if that is a workshop passionately delivered by Craig and Irene, Liz and Naore meeting a KILN client or Samantha inviting the community for a beer.

We can’t achieve our visons alone. That is why we operate in a network of partners and aim for a collective impact.

Our approach is holistic – we see innovation in every change that brings higher value to the company and its customers. We are sector-agnostic.

We constantly innovate our services and align them with our customers’ needs.

Can we learn from each other?

Sure! The exchange has shown that both CBRIN and JIC have some magic recipes. We have agreed to explore their potential adoption from each other.

As JIC, we are eager to introduce:

We have been impressed by the workshop methodologies, marketing of CBRIN, coworking space and last but not least by the support of the women entrepreneurship.

On the other hand, CBRIN has been attracted by the

  • Experts’ network of JIC
  • System of key account management for clients of JIC
  • The community activities.

These are on the list of Arthur for his study stay in Brno in February. We are looking forward to having you at JIC, Arthur! 🙂

Jindřich Weiss

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