Local Innovation Bloom

Local Innovation Bloom

As a member of the Economic Development Australia Western Australia committee, I’ve taken on the responsibility to organise a seminar on local innovation systems.

With the release of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, innovation has been brought to the centre of the national development stage. The national agenda positions innovation as the key to staying competitive, creating jobs and maintaining a high standard of living. It lays out national priorities for innovation, but it says little about the role of state or local governments.

The seminar will examine the role of local ecosystems and practical approaches to promoting local innovation. The aim is to:

  • Better understand the role of innovation within the context of local and regional economic development;
  • Identify the roles play by key public and private actors, including federal, state and local government, universities, industry and the private sector, and other non-government actors;
  • Present best practices in the promotion of local innovation systems.

The seminar aims to attract local government economic development practitioners as well as the wide range of people involved in economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation in the state government, academia and the private sector — including the start-up and innovation community and industry development.


We’ve got some interesting speakers!

  • John Carey, Mayor, City of Vincent — John is a very active and progressive mayor who has much to say about the need for local government reform when promoting innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Matt Taylor, WA Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation — a key player in the State Government’s push for innovation;
  • David Eaton, WA Small Business Commissioner — an advocate for small business and champion for increasing the role of small business in innovation;
  • Angie Keeler, CEO, Zellabox Pty Ltd — aa award-winning entrepreneur who can speak clearly about the challenges facing local innovation;
  • John Grohovaz, Partner, R&D Deloitte Australia — John specialises in identifying opportunities for organisational performance and growth through innovation;
  • Michelle Chafin, Program Manager, Curtin Business School — manages the university’s entrepreneurship training program;
  • Lainey Weiser, co-creator of the Just Start IT program, which brings real industry into classrooms, and gets teams of students working on their own Tech Start Up; and
  • Mark Shelton, founder and CEO of Bloom, a youth-led not-for-profit organisation that provides thousands of young Western Australians with the encouragement, support and infrastructure to grow their ideas into successful ventures.

Pressing questions the seminar will address

There are a number of pressing questions facing economic development practitioners who are eager to support local innovation. The seminar will provide a direct response for consideration of these questions:

  1. With so much hype surrounding the topic, what is innovation in practical terms?
  2. Why is innovation important? What are the links between innovation and economic growth?
  3. What is the focus of local innovation –– new start-ups or innovation within existing industries? Should there be a sector focus?
  4. What can local government do to support local innovation? How can local government work with federal and state government to promote innovation?
  5. What frameworks or resources can we use to guide our approach to supporting local innovation?
  6. How do we measure success?

While most of the visitors to this site aren’t in Western Australia and can’t attend (if you are, please register here), I’ll provide a report on the outcomes.