Future for Innovation Hub

Pollinators brought together a roomful of the region’s movers and shakers last Friday to map the way forward for innovation spaces in Geraldton.

About 20 influencers met at Pollinators’ CityHive to consider options for a physical space for innovation, using CityHive co-working space as a case study.

Using an innovative business modelling tool known as a Zwicky Box, along with a Business Modelling Canvas, they devised four possible scenarios for how they envisaged future innovation spaces operating.

Proponents of each scenario then pitched their ideas.

Options included:

  1. Midwest Cluster Initiative

Progress Midwest to be an anchor tenant at CityHive to operate its Midwest Cluster Initiative, in which it brings together ‘clusters’ of similar businesses such as marine, tourism or horticulture to enable accelerated growth, while also continuing CityHive’s current operations.

  1. Incubator Support Program

Transform CityHive into an incubator for new businesses with access to intensive mentoring, training and learning for start-ups and entrepreneurs.This would be funded by grant applications such as the Federal Government’s Incubator Support Initiative.

  1. The New Bliss

Value add to the existing coworking space model at CityHive to also provide mentoring,specialist services such as marketing or legal advice and coaching to coworkers as part of their space hire.

  1. Green Space

Offer a new ‘green’ coworking space for environmental groups to both showcase their products and services and work from. Proposed location – Central Regional TAFE Technology Park.

With different people favouring different options, Pollinators now plans to consider each of the scenarios in more detail. Pollinators staff will investigate grant funding options, meet with stakeholders, test ideas and collate findings into a Spaces for Innovation Report which will map the way forward.

The report will consider each of the above options, including a combination of them, as well as the option of moving CityHive to a new location and/or operating Pollinators without “Space”.

Pollinators chairman Paul Dyer said it was a valuable experience to bring together people of such influence to consider a future innovation hub in Geraldton.

“We are immensely appreciative of people contributing their time and expertise in coming together to work out a way forward,” Mr Dyer said.

“As a board, we could have gone behind closed doors and come up with our own ideas and made decisions, but as an organisation that values collaboration, we took the approach of opening up the process and involving as many people as possible.

“This not only benefits our organisation through gaining fresh ideas and perspectives, but it also allows participants to learn from the process of working through the Zwicky Box model – a showcase of innovation in action if you like.

“I’m sure everyone will agree it was an incredible afternoon – from the energy dedicated to solving the problem, to the creativity of solutions, to the real sense of community in working together for a solution.

“While the process came about because of difficult economic times, I think it could mean the start of an exciting new future for innovation spaces in Geraldton.”

The Spaces for Innovation Report will be available for consideration and concrete decision making in a month’s time.

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