Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, local small businesses, emerging talent and Australian Community Media (ACM) will come together today, Thursday, March 18, as part of the National Innovation Games to harness technology to improve communication and create opportunities for better connections among local small businesses.
Funded by the Australian government, the Games are delivered by Paddl Co - a start-up developing new ways to better prepare organisations, employees, practitioners and talent for the future of work - through the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA).
The Games are co-sponsored by ACM and are the first to be held in five key locations across NSW - Sutherland Shire and the Northern Beaches in Sydney and Wagga Wagga, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Newcastle in regional NSW.
Through a series of facilitated design sprints, innovation teams will collaborate throughout the day to develop practical ideas to address the challenge topic: How might we create opportunities with technology and connection?
Small businesses will conclude the day with ideas and solutions for tangible actions to improve their business by expanding communication and connectedness using technology.
The ideas developed will be practical, scalable, and easily implementable solutions designed to benefit the wider community.
ACM chief revenue officer Sharon Fitter said she was excited by the opportunity to work with these councils and small businesses across NSW.
"We hope that by bringing together these parties that the ideas and innovation will flow, and we can better enable communities to collaborate for the good of all," Ms Fitter said.
"ACM is passionate about keeping our communities strong, informed and connected, and the National Innovation Games provides the perfect platform for us to deliver on this promise."
Paddl Co. chief executive officer Dominique Fisher highlighted the value created when a group of people with diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds are brought together to address a common goal.
"With the support of the Australian government and Australian Community Media, we are thrilled to be able to bring the National Innovation Games to five key locations in NSW - Sutherland Shire, the Northern Beaches, Wagga Wagga, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Newcastle," Ms Fisher said.
"By bringing together a cross-section of great minds from industry, government and academia with tertiary students, using Paddl's unique model, we will identify new and better ways of communicating and building connections.
"The various natural disasters and pandemic have proven it's no longer possible to rely on traditional business models, modes of operation or engagement.
"So, there's a huge opportunity for business and governments, at all levels, to lead the way and successfully develop and implement new, innovative models, services or products that improve communication and connections, using technology.
"The Games also provide businesses and government with access to the next wave of talent and give our emerging talent a unique experience.
"Paddl believes that experience unlocks opportunity, and that belief, combined with our commitment to preparing talent for the future of work, led us to develop the Games methodology."
COSBOA chief executive officer Peter Strong highlighted COSBOA's commitment to building resilient and sustainable small businesses and communities.
"The National Innovation Games give small businesses the opportunity to join a diverse and talented team dedicated to thinking of new ideas and solutions to help them build resilience and better engage with their customers and communities," Mr Strong said.
"Technology and market changes have left some small businesses unprepared to deal with future opportunities and challenges. We hope the Games will help to bridge that gap.
"Through the Games, we're building a connection between mainstream small businesses and innovation support, especially as small business is challenged by an unprecedented level of change including the impact of technology, the pandemic and other natural disasters.
"These Games will give small businesses new ways of thinking about communication and engagement, along with an opportunity to improve digital literacy.
"We're hoping each team will come up with an innovative solution to use technology to improve communication and create opportunities for better connection for local small businesses.
"COSBOA is delighted to partner with Paddl, with the backing of the Australian government and Australian Community Media.
"We are excited to see the results from the day as well as the positive flow-on effects to the wider community. Paddl has a great innovation model," he said.
To find out more, go to National Innovation Games.