This month saw us host the second Brisbane Innovate summit – an event designed to inspire and facilitate open innovation.
Open Innovation is an emerging trend in the innovation space, and has particular relevance for civic innovation. At its core, open innovation is about making the innovation process more inclusive and transparent.
In large corporates, for example, the task of innovation is often allocated to the R & D or Product Development teams. In a departmentalised organisational structure, that makes sense for efficiency purposes, but it doesn’t allow for effective brainstorming, idea-popping or the robust discussions that can happen not just cross-departments, but across users, sales reps or even totally different industries.
Commercially, open innovation creates a space for multiple people with a wide range of perspectives to be actively involved in the problem-definition and solution-creation process.
In the civic engagement space, open innovation has lots of merit. When council team members recognise a problem and go about solving it using council processes, systems and community engagement, the solutions are invariably simply iterations of what’s already been – improvements on what’s existed before.
But an iterative process like that allows little room for game-changing innovations, or paradigm-breaking reframes to invite a set of solutions that were previously invisible.
It also allows for very little resident engagement – beyond what can often feel like a tokenistic survey or community engagement meeting.
So the Brisbane Innovate events strive to create a space for multiple stakeholders – residents, small business owners, entrepreneurs, corporates, tech geeks, academics and council staff – to come together to solve the big, chunky challenges of the city.
At this year’s event, 300 people converged at City Hall to ponder solutions to challenges in city planning, transport and traffic management, digital access and inclusion, talent and skills and Brisbane’s own war on waste.
Twenty-two possible solutions were developed, which have now all been created as projects on a community collaboration platform, uBegin, and we will continue to nurture these ideas (and those who had them) to create effective, resident-centric solutions for our city. If you’d like to be a part of it, search for Brisbane Innovate on council’s website: https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/