Creativity and innovation are critical drivers of many successful organisations. An ability to manage, cultivate and nurture creative thinking is being directly linked to organisation’s growth and achievement and this is being seen across the Hunter and fostered through the Hunter Innovation Festival.
For more than a decade, the festival has supported the region’s growing innovation culture with events across Newcastle based on creativity, connection, collaboration and commercialisation. This year, the festival continues to build on these foundations as it offers a journey from ideation to execution through its numerous events.
Festival Producer, Christina Gerakiteys said the region’s ecosystem for innovation was thriving.
She said it seemed creativity and innovation had reached a tipping point with accelerators and hubs mushrooming and amazing collaborations between the University of Newcastle, councils, business centres, startups, industry and government.
“Through Hunter Innovation Festival 2018 (HIF18), we hope to contribute to fostering even greater connections and opportunities, for startups, scaleups, businesses and organisations that realise innovation is a priority in workplace practices,” Christina said.
The festival starts on 6 May with Idea Bombing on the future of Newcastle, an interactive forum on shaping the city’s future to make day-to-day life easy and sustainable, and ends on 18 May with the Innovators Lunch, a relaxed chat about environmental, agricultural and smart city technologies.
The Internet of Things (IOT) is the focus of Smart City Engagement workshops on 8 May. Newcastle’s IoT Pioneers Group and Newcastle City Council will join forces to help children and adults to understand IoT, its power to make life more liveable and how to harness it to build an IoT project using cutting-edge technology.
In Rapid Product Development and Prototyping on 9 May, participants will learn about design thinking and the tools to rapidly develop, test and realise a product design from experts in their fields – creativity and innovation catalyst Christina Gerakiteys, industrial designer Josh Jeffress and innovation manager Martin McKenzie.
Inequality and social inclusion are the subjects to be discussed at the Hunter Economic Breakfast on 11 May, with speakers including Committee for Economic Development of Australia CEO Melinda Cilento and social researcher Hugh Mackay.
There’s also a chance for innovative thinkers to engage in a collaborative computer programming sprint at the University of Newcastle’s New Future Hackathon for Aged Care. Happening on 11 and 12 May, teams will compete to develop solutions to promote good lifespan health, enable healthy ageing, support socioeconomic participation and enhance productivity in health-care delivery. There are prizes for the best tech solution, runner-up tech solution and rising star.
“HIF18’s events are created for the whole community to join the conversations, to share and develop ideas, learn about innovation’s evolution, hear expert advice on methods and tools as well as the opportunity to collaborate and network,” Christina said.
IMAGE | Hunter Innovation Festival Producer, Christina Gerakiteys.