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The way to innovation heaven is via collaboration


Government and innovation don’t always go together, much less government and private sector innovation.

The New South Wales government, which has run diverse innovation programs over the past several years, wants to drive collaboration among varied groups – a critical gap in the innovation machine. To do so, it has announced a self-labelled “radical new initiative,” called Innovate NSW.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner says the program will receive funding of $6.7 million over four years, and would address the state’s biggest economic growth barriers and drive rapid advances in NSW innovative and industry capability.

Global ambition

“We want the world to know NSW as the place where great ideas are born – ideas that support economic growth and position Sydney and NSW as a global leader in innovation,” Stoner said.

“Innovate NSW will support collaborative projects with the potential to leverage significant investment and unlock sustained economic growth for the state,” he added.

Among other things, Innovate NSW will:

  • Hand out matching financial grants of up to $15,000 for about 250 individual firms with high growth potential for market or technology validation opportunities.
  • Bring together consortia of over 60 innovative SMEs, large companies, researchers and end-users to develop solutions to address challenges and opportunities.

Stoner said the initiative would help to address the relative lack of connection between SMEs, the research sector, and major Australian and global corporations.

“In a globally competitive environment we can no longer afford to allow limited resources, barriers to international markets, knowledge flows, weak intellectual asset management and lack of entrepreneurial capital act as brakes on our potential,” Stoner said.

Lynchpin of broad economic model

“Innovate NSW will offer a low-cost and low-risk opportunity for businesses to trial, fine tune and validate solutions with industry and government partners and thus provide a trusted reference for promoting future domestic and international sales,” he added.

Innovate NSW also has been projected as the centrepiece of the government’s new Economic Development Framework, designed on the basis of recommendations of four high-level Industry Taskforces.

“Priority will be given to key issues identified by the Industry Action Plans for manufacturing, professional services, the digital economy and international education & research, including port logistics, online education, agri-food manufacturing and energy technology and services,” Stoner said.