A team of Mid West government and non-government agencies came together in Geraldton last week to map out plans to progress innovation in the region.
About 15 representatives attended the workshop at Pollinators’ CityHive to help further the Mid West Development Commission’s (MWDC) Innovation Strategy.
Pollinators Chairman Paul Dyer said it was fantastic to see so many varied groups collaborate on fostering a culture of innovation in the region.
“One of the main benefits of having everyone in the same room was the focus on collaboration, and the recognition for us to work as a group to access funding and support innovation, rather than operating independently,” Mr Dyer said.
Mid West Development Commission Chief Executive Gavin Treasure said innovation remained a considerable strength of the Mid West region and the collaborative workshop provided an ideal setting for participants to shape the direction of potential innovation deliverables into the future.
Participants discussed the need for innovation to boost a host of factors, ranging from improving quality of life and helping the environment to increasing the success rate and number of small to medium enterprises.
They discussed the importance of empowering a broad range of the population to innovate, including Aboriginal people.
And they outlined a whole host of innovative initiatives that had already been completed, ranging from the Department of Fisheries’ Crayfish to Plate initiative to the scoping of a horticulture cluster, start-up support program Kickstart and online and in-person learning programs.
The group then set its sights on future innovations, by brainstorming a broad range of possible future innovations.
Ideas included focusing on the ‘cluster’ model which encourages collaboration and cooperation between key industries such as horticulture, marine and tourism.
They also proposed to build the capacity of Mid West people to innovate through training programs, in-school education, entrepreneur in residence programs and university courses.
Other ideas to further innovation in the region included innovation meet-up sessions, promotion of successful innovators, increased technological capability through more broadband access, robotics, aquaculture expansion, and research and development into climate change, among others.
Outcomes from the day will help inform an innovation strategy for the Mid West region and outline a way forward to ensure our community and economy continue to grow and thrive.