Think HBR

Hunter Innovation Festival 2016

Christina Gerakiteys
ideation at work
The Hunter Innovation Festival is in its ninth year. It was born from the rib of the Australian Innovation Festival that began way back in 2002. The festival was built on the foundations of the four C’s - Creativity, Connections, Collaboration, and Commercialisation.
So here we are fifteen years later and the same foundations remain fundamental to embracing an innovative culture.
I was shocked some years ago to hear ‘creativity’ referred to as applicable only to ‘fine arts and sculpture and that sort of thing.’
We were working at the time on a Diploma of Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I am a great believer in the Creative Industries.
They add meaning, culture, value, substance and richness to our lives.
But creativity does not only live in that domain.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”. I am sure that every problem that has ever been solved by a scientist, engineer, accountant, business partner, colleague, teacher or student has required the use of imagination and/or original ideas. So I am going to take a leap into Collaboration…
It’s no secret that diversification (also currently trending) walks alongside collaboration. As Seth Godin said, “The sum of us is better than the one of us”. And the more brains in the room, of varied backgrounds skills and experience, the more creative and productive the outcome. The smartest people may not work for you. But in a collaborative work environment, you call those experts in to work with you on a project as required. We see this work model becoming ever more popular. And after all Hollywood has been doing it for a very long time.
Making connections, or networking, is essential in innovation.
Innovation is often referred to as connecting the dots. And there is research surrounding those “aha” moments that suggests they are really only the brain making the connection between the many messages we received and the facts we have picked up.
Which leaves us with commercialisation. This has been a constant source of angst for many inventors and entrepreneurs. In the recent collaboration between Hunter Founders Forum and Hunter Research Foundation, finance, cashflow, grants, funding were all cited as barriers to innovation. Still.
In Israel, the start-up capital funding per capita is $120. In Australia it is $4.50 per capita. Not much more can be said.
The story may have shifted a little over the years, but has it really changed? We all seem to be making the right noises but the follow through has been slow. We can’t afford to be slow anymore.
As everyone keeps reminding us, change is happening at increasing rates. We not only need to be thinking in terms of Minimal Viable Products, we need to be thinking in terms of Mass Transformational Purpose. As our lives become increasingly liberated (or dominated) by technology, and we move from scarcity to abundance and connectedness, it’s the transformational purpose that is causing the biggest disruptions.
Exponential organisations think big. TED’s purpose is around “Ideas Worth Spreading,” while Google “organise the world’s information”. We are in fact, information-enabling everything. And it’s all happening through our smart phones.
So what does the Hunter Innovation Festival offer in 2016?
An opportunity to share Smart Ideas, a forum to find out what is happening in the region and beyond, opportunities to be motivated to action by people who have ‘been there and done that’ and a chance to experience the number of innovation ‘tribes’ happening in the city, and seeing where you best fit.
The Hunter Innovation Festival is produced by Ideation At Work and sponsored and supported by The University of Newcastle, Hunter TAFE, The Business Centre, Hunter Founders Forum and Davies Collison Cave. Partners include Hunter Research Foundation, Eighteen04 and Design Anthology.
For further information contact Christina on 0425 236 156, email or visit
ChristinaGerakiteysHeadShot copy Christina Gerakiteys

Christina Gerakiteys is the Founder of UtopiaX and CEO of SingularityU Australia Summit. She is a change catalyst and instigator of Moonshot Ideation. Christina opens hearts and minds, inspiring impossible to possible.