Think HBR


As the Hunter Innovation Festival enters its the twelfth consecutive year, it is timely to investigate the origins of Innovation and why we bother to celebrate Innovation in the Hunter.
The word Innovation has its origins in the 15th century and comes from the Latin Innovatus (in – into, novue – new). By definition, Innovation is to introduce something as, or as if, new and to make change. If we take that definition at its most literal, humans have been innovating since recorded history and beyond. And it’s amazing how many times innovations are realised through necessity. And how they make our lives easier.
Consider the first fire, the first hammer, the first bow and arrow and the first hand made shelter.
It has always been “elementary”. Steven Johnson wrote in his essay, The Genius of the Tinkerer, “Johannes Gutenberg, for instance, took the older technology of the screw press, designed originally for making wine, and reconfigured it with metal type to invent the printing press”. To take something that exists and adapt it to create something new has been a common theme around innovation throughout history.
So why celebrate innovation? Because it keeps the wheels turning on education, health, industry and ultimately the economy. Innovators contribute continuous improvement, provide leadership, take risks and sometimes fail. But as Edison said, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Bottom line, innovation is crucial to growth.
The Hunter Innovation Festival is supported for the first time this year by Hunter iF, a collaboration of Newcastle organisations working to create and support a sustainable innovation ecosystem in the area. It is also supported by some hardworking individuals from active organisations. These champions include Idea Bombing, Ignite Alliance, Newie Ventures, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, UtopiaX, Hunter Futurepreneurs,
The Business Centre, Hunter Young Professionals, The Lock-Up, Dash and more.
The theme for the Festival is Future Proof the Hunter.
Innovation is essential if we are to stay ahead of the disruption curve. Deception precedes disruption in that we are unaware of the wave of change about to hit. Think what the smart phone and streaming did to the music industry. Before the technology was main stream, it played underground and went through several iterations, of interest only to early adopters. As technology improved and more users came onboard, it was said that the music industry had been disrupted. Why would you ever buy a CD again?
Back to the disruption curve and the fact that technology is changing our lives at exponential rates, at speeds never before experienced. In order to adapt, survive and thrive, we need to future proof the Hunter. We need to invite as many of our community to become involved in discussions, to not fear change and to lead. This way we will become leaders and future proof our region. Jobs will stay here, industries will move here, and researches will base themselves in a city that is changing the way we operate in all industries, from medicine to agriculture, education to space travel.
For program details,visit
For information on how to get involved email festival coordinator Kahlea McGeechan
See the full #HunterInnovate section at