Events » Creating Effective Innovation Ecosystems

Creating Effective Innovation Ecosystems

Steel City to Smart City: the Hunter Innovation Precinct


There is general agreement that Australia will need to transition its economy in the years to come, but exactly how to do this remains a point of debate. The aim of the workshop series is to highlight both the challenges the country is facing, the opportunities and best regional practices.


Upcoming workshops

Steel City to Smart City: the Hunter Innovation Precinct

This Workshop has been rescheduled for the 4th October 2017

Workshop four in this series will see Chief Executive Officer of RDA Hunter, Susan Wilson, talk about the Hunter Smart Specialisation Strategy, an initiative developed and driven by RDA Hunter to advance the region’s innovation network and grow the Hunter’s international competitiveness.

Christopher Saunders, will introduce the Renew Newcastle project and discuss how generating artistic and cultural activity in disused commercial spaces has enticed locals back into an empty CBD and revitalised a ghost-town.

Regional General Manager of TAFE NSW North, Ms Michelle Van de Mortel, will talk about the role of TAFE in the new Smart City before all presenters are joined by Chair, Professor Lars Coenen for a panel discussion. The afternoon will be concluded by networking drinks.

You can read more about what's happening in Newcastle in a recent article published in the Guardian here.

New Date: Wednesday, 4th October 2017

Time: 12:30pm - 5:30pm

Venue: Woodward Conference Centre,

10th Floor, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Carlton VIC 3053

Download the provisional program here.


Past Workshops

Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - Creating Effective Innovation Ecosystems

The first full-day workshop explored the challenges the state of Victoria is facing in transitioning its economy and the role that tertiary education institutions can play in this transition.

Australia’s Chief Economist Mark Cully opened with a discussion on the recent Australian Innovation System Report published by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The morning continued with two internationally focused sessions on the concepts of open innovation and innovation ecosystems.

In the afternoon, two Victorian case studies from Geelong and the Latrobe Valley were presented with the aim of identifying what works, and the challenges of implementing an innovation ecosystem. The day concluded with a panel discussion involving Craig Robertson from the Victorian Department of Education and Training and Andrew Williamson from the Victorian TAFE Association.


Tuesday 21 March 2017 - Two Bold Ideas to shape the Future

The second half-day workshop saw Professor Ian Young, Honourary Senior Fellow of the LH Martin Institute present the case of the Australian Maritime Innovation Centre, and the challenges faced when writing a proposal for and creating a new innovation eco-system.

Haydn Wright, Project Lead for the Australian Education City in Werribee, Victoria spoke on his experiences creating knowledge and learning precincts in Australia and the vision for the Werribee Education City.

Read more on Innovation districts, the new norm by Haydn Wright, in our blog Insights.

Download the provisional program here.


Wednesday 14 June 2017 - Examples from Europe and applications in Australia

In this third workshop, Associate Professor Ruth Schubert presented the findings from the recent Study Tour to Italy and the Netherlands, While Mr Paul Culpan, CEO and Director at GOTAFE shared his take home messages from the Study Tour and the introduction of a FABLAB to GOTAFE.

Philipp Dautel and Daniel Redden from the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide, South Australia shared how Tonsley brings together leading-edge research and education institutions, established businesses and start-ups, business incubators and accelerators as well as government and the wider community to connect and collaborate.

The afternoon concluded with a panel discussion featuring Mr Kerry Lowe of PwC, Ms Jacyl Shaw the Director of Engagment at Carlton Connect and Mr Jeffrey Pulford, Executive Director at Federation University Technolgy Parks.

You can read a full summary by participant Dr Megan Power, Monash-Warwick Alliance PhD Candidate.

Download the program here.



For any  enquiries, please contact Melissa Hendicott at or phone 03 9035 6429


A series of innovation challenges will be posed on MindHive after each workshop to find actionable solutions.

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