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Innovation networks on the rise

Over the last few years the WA Innovation “networks” have been evolving into a vibrant ecosystem to support and nurture local organisations. The innovation ecosystem in WA has grown to such an extent that it is becoming difficult to keep track of the different events, associations, groups and awards that are taking place on a regular basis. The number of people putting their time and effort into helping the innovation community with valuable experiences to share seems to grow almost daily.

The benefits and results of a growing innovation community are multifaceted and long reaching. Innovation by its very nature is a long lead-time process and often, as many people like to point out, involves failures before success. The efforts and assistance that people have put into the innovation community over the last few years will generate success stories in the coming years.

Even though network opportunities continue to grow, many people still do not value attending and being involved.  Often innovators are their own worst enemies with regard to believing they know everything and “just need to focus on the technology”.

The simple fact is that entrepreneurs involved in innovation communities are more likely to be successful.  Some projects, no matter how great the ideas are, continue to flounder when the innovator does not “get out of the shed”.

Innovation networking is a must do for everyone that wants to be successful.

Of course the reasons and benefits of “getting out there” are different for every entrepreneur.  Here’s a list of potential benefits:

  • education and advice that is specific and targeted for innovation, regular business advice is not sufficient for maximum benefit;
  • awards with recognition and prizes;
  • free and low-cost events with content of significant value;
  • fundraising;
  • peers and mentors willing to share experiences and assistance; and
  • introductions to experts who can assist with the innovation, commercialisation and all aspects of the business.

How to start building your network:

  1. Make the most of your industry specific networks and assess whether they have innovation specific focus, (most don’t).
  2. Talk to your peers and see what they are involved in.
  3. Assess the list below to see which ones are relevant for you.
  4. Stay informed; many of the networks have regular newsletters and they often share information from others, for example see AusIndustry and the WA Innovation Centre websites.
  5. Get involved; once you attend some events and start asking around you will be directed towards other events that are most appropriate to you.

For entrepreneurs that have not been exposed to the innovation network, it can be difficult to meet the right groups. Getting into the right network can often be the hardest step of all. Following is a list of a variety of different groups to get you started. Happy networking and look forward to seeing you and talking about your innovation!

Stephen Carroll is a Director at RSM Bird Cameron

Comments

Perth, Western Australia
Great article Stephen and absolutely correct and innovators and entrepreneurs are so spoilt for choice of events and networking opportunities that they may actually be missing out on those that are most valuable. The Innovation community in WA is fragmented, and needs to work together more to increase funding opportunities and to increase awareness of the high level of innovation in WA.

LESANZ WA
An example of the sort of event happening in Perth is the LESANZ national conference which starts next week: see http://www.lesanzconference.org.au with international and national speakers. There is room for both umbrella organisations like LESANZ and niche groups like eGroup. And we should all be speaking to and helping each other.

Perth
The innovation sector in Perth is growing daily with so much to offer entrepreneurs. Never before has there been so much by way of support for new start-ups, with places like Space Cubed, ICWA, Morning Startups, and Sync Labs all offering regular events and various forms of support. Sadly there is still a shortage of funds in the very early stages particularly with no funding from local Government. The good news is that in recent months we are seeing more interest in investment outside of the mining sector with biotech specifically attracting more interest than before.

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