Setting the Scene

Last month we were delighted to attend the Navigators’ Showcase, an online event organised by Martin Bliemel from the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) TD School. The UTS TD School is a faculty which approaches innovation with a strong focus on collaboration and transdisciplinary thinking, bringing together students from various disciplines and encouraging them to explore different perspectives and new ways of thinking. 

The Navigators’ Showcase featured ten student teams from the UTS TD School presenting their views of the entrepreneurial ecosystem around what will become Tech Central: an innovation and technology precinct in inner-Sydney housing startups, scale-ups and innovation ecosystem partners with UTS at its core. Each presentation starts off with the team describing their views on today’s ecosystem, with some teams focusing on a particular industry. Each team then pitches a unique proposal on how they think the ecosystem could be advanced going forward, based on a transdisciplinary approach.

 

A Brief Overview

Overall we were impressed by the students’ focus on developing new technologies and transdisciplinary collaboration. To achieve this, one team proposed the idea of developing an online platform app which would assist in integrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem into the general community through education and government support on one central platform. Similarly, another team pushed for Tech Central’s collaboration with educational institutions to generate awareness and encourage student involvement. It was encouraging to see David Thodey, former CEO of Telstra, show support for these ideas as a potential activator in saying “we need to make this happen” and “the vision should be for an innovation and tech district that attracts all types of companies.” 

It was also interesting to see that many proposals drew reference to a range of different industries, including even the transport, film and architectural industries, explaining their role and relevance to advancing the ecosystem around Tech Central. For instance, one proposal suggested that Tech Central would have space for a video production company to help startups produce unique content and gain easy access to experienced marketers without their own workspace. This recognises the importance of having access to engaging and high-quality video content to increase SMEs’ impact and exposure, which is apparent given the influence of social media and video-sharing platforms such as Youtube, Tik Tok and Instagram. Other teams pushed for innovation within the transport and architectural industries to create greener and more sustainable infrastructure. Lastly, a number of groups focused on reaching out to  underutilized innovators who face high barriers to entry to the ecosystem, including female entrepreneurs and founders in partnership with accelerators such as BlueChilli and Sydney Startup HUB. It was pleasing to see the aspects of inclusivity and diversity taken into consideration throughout the students’ proposals.

 

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the overarching themes of connectivity, collaboration and education threaded in these presentations demonstrates an acute awareness of the increasing importance of technology, virtual spaces and sustainability, as well as the gaps in the Australian STEM workforce. It was refreshing to see these students take these aspects into consideration when creating their proposals, and their creative ideas give us high hopes for the future of Tech Central and Sydney’s innovation ecosystem. We from the NSIN will be looking forward to seeing what comes next!

 

Credits

Author: Sabrina Hor, Business and Marketing Intern, North Sydney Innovation Network