1 Aug 16|Innovation

This year, the Hunter Innovation Festival (HIF) saw a record number of entries for the Smart Ideas competition.

This year, the Hunter Innovation Festival (HIF) saw a record number of entries for the Smart Ideas competition. Over 30 people took part in the inaugural HunterHackFest and two startups pitched at the Hunter Research Foundation breakfast. This city is bursting with ideas (and dare I say innovators) and the Festival opened several portals for them to shine through.

2016 also brought record numbers of attendees and speakers. Most importantly, opportunities were created as the greater community was given the chance to connect.

And that’s where the magic happens. In the connections. That’s where possibility is created. We all look for magic formulas when it comes to business and innovation. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success. What’s more, success can be measured in so many different ways. Do you judge success on an increased bottom line? On the number of people you inspire and motivate? On happy and productive employees? On return customers? I was reading an article lately about a debt collecting business that judged their success on the number of thank you letters they received from debtors. Yes you read that correctly.

And that one-size-fits all formula? Unless you are cloning people, replicating economic circumstances, operating in similar geographical centres and have the same ‘resources’ it simply doesn’t exist. What we need to do is become familiar with a variety of formulas, adopt what feels rights and adapt it to our own business circumstances. We need to create the formula that fits the outcomes we are trying to achieve. That is true innovation.

Events like the Hunter Innovation Festival, DiG, Hunter Collective, The Rippler Effect and all other opportunities offered where the business community can connect and discover, are important on many levels. In fact vital. It is in the space where we constantly learn, constantly open ourselves up to new ideas and constantly connect with people outside our regular communities, that progress is possible and potential realised. A backwards glance into human history verifies this.

Diversification of ideas, communities and resources are needed for innovators, creatives and inventors to take us into the ‘next frontier’. The human connections created at the Hunter Innovation Festival, the number of people that conversed, made contact with presenters and approached those that pitched, these are the measures the organisers used to gauge the event’s success. As all event organisers can appreciate, it takes a lot of volunteer work, is often thankless, filled with sleepless nights and endless check lists, and a lot of wishful thinking. The Hunter Innovation Festival committee is happy to report that by our measures, we succeeded in forwarding the ‘innovation’ cause, but more importantly, bringing into the open a plethora of ideas and an amazing group of people that otherwise may just have gone unnoticed.

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