Finding New Ways
Mayor’s Desk, 1 June 2017
A couple of weeks ago I attended and presented at the first “unpacking innovation” event held by Logan City Council. This event had representatives from all levels of government, business and industry representatives and its purpose was to work out what innovation was and what it meant to each of us in the hope of future proofing our nation.
I had the privilege of representing the thoughts of regional Queensland at the event, challenging some notions and ideas that regional areas aren’t leaders in innovation. For those of you who believe innovation is all about technology or not something that pertains to you, I’d ask you to think again. Innovation is not a scary word, just a topical one. Innovation simply means “finding new ways of looking at old problems in order to find solutions”. Innovation has been around as long as mankind has had a problem they’ve needed to solve. The wheel was an innovation.
It is widely accepted that we will see around 100 years worth of innovation in the next decade, this rate of change will be unlike any of us has ever experienced. In my opinion, those who aren’t up with the innovation game will be left behind. So what does this mean to the North Burnett?
Jobs – it is predicted that changes in technology will allow more robotic labour in the agricultural sector meaning labour intensive jobs may be lost. We need to work with industry to understand their future direction and then work on ways of addressing any job losses. The future of jobs looks very different than it does today.
Internet – Although internet connectivity is only a ‘tool’ of innovation, it is a very important one in the next ten years. If we aren’t connected, we will have huge issues into the future. This means we have no choice, I am not going to sit back and wait for someone to come in and connect us, we need to become connected through any means necessary and this will require investigation of alternative telecommunication models.
Collaboration – another ‘big’ sounding word but collaboration doesn’t have to be elaborate; it just has to place people together to work on an issue. Council has issues (believe it or not!), industry has issues, and businesses have issues. If we all worked together I bet we could solve a whole lot of them. This means we need to find a way to reach out, but how do we do that in such a geographically diverse region? Do we come to you and have innovation nights in the town hall? Do we have pop up innovation ‘shops’ in each town? Do we use social media? These are the questions we are currently trying to answer but we need your help. How do we best connect and collaborate across the region? If you have a suggestion please let me know.