2022 TCI Oceania Conference

4th-6th May 2022 | Cairns, Queensland, Australia

“Join us in Cairns to hear how the power of collaboration can create economies of scale across knowledge, resources, motivation and relationships. Unlock value for individuals, businesses, regions and countries. Our exciting line-up of speakers from Denmark, New Zealand and Australia will share how to build cluster capability and capacity for scale and competitiveness.

Looking forward to seeing you in Cairns to explore the magic of how many working together can achieve success.

Dr Mirjana Prica, Chair, TCI Oceania

The 2022 TCI Oceania conference will be the perfect event for you to build your skills and (re)connect with cluster and regional development practitioners from across the Oceania region.

This two-day event is being crafted to provide stimulating input, focussed panel discussions, workshop and great networking opportunities, all nestled in the beautiful tropical environment that only Cairns can provide.

We know that sustainable development opportunities are all about the people involved and the skills they bring to the table. So, our focus is on providing events and information that build capability amongst those whose work is aimed at building collaboration and growth in their chosen sectors.

The conference will offer a variety of cluster-focussed experiences, from a day of plenary keynotes on the thrills and spills of cluster activities, wrapped up by a workshop to inspire your creativity and give you insights into the National Design Challenge.

Program Summary

Wednesday 4th May

We look forward to welcoming you to the TCI Oceania Conference.

Make plans to get to Cairns in good time on Wednesday 4th May to enjoy some of their wonderful weather. This will be a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from far and wide.

The conference Welcome reception will be held poolside at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort from 6pm that evening, where you’ll enjoy some light refreshments as we build our networks over a drink and locally sourced nibbles.

Thursday 5th May

In true Cairns style, Thursday will be full of insightful and inspirational content to help you understand the challenges and best practice required to scale your cluster endeavours. We’ll have keynote presentations and panel sessions from leading practitioners.

8:30Registration, tea, coffee

9:00Welcome presentations (Dr Mirjana Prica and Dr Scott Davis)

9:30Key Note Address: Clustering for Scale (Merete Daniel Nielsen, President TCI Network)

10:00The Impacts and Effects of Emerging and Scaling Clusters, including international best practice (Dr Allan O’Connor, Dr Emily Wise, James Wilson, Professor Madeline Smith)

10:50 Morning Tea

11:15 ‘Clustering for scalable impact: what does it mean for the Industry Growth Centres?’
Panel discussion with TCIO’s supporting agencies, the National Industry Growth Centres
(Dr Mirjana Prica, Allan Morton, Leigh Kennedy)

11:45 The Role of Government within the Innovation Ecosystem

12:15 Collective Leadership
Core principles for amplifying cluster impact and driving alignment across innovation ecosystems (including Q&A) (Dr Nicola Watts)

12:35 Lunch

13:30 Cluster Conversations: Solid Foundations – Facilitated panel discussion
(Dr Allan O’Connor, Jamie Koch)
Allan will facilitate a panel discussion around building solid foundations for clusters to thrive:

• Understanding the ‘why’

• Discovering the burning platform

• Managing multiple stakeholders for cluster initiation

• What assets are in the cluster landscape to build upon?

Allan will invite cluster managers from the Northern Adelaide Plains Food cluster and local TNQ clusters to share their experiences.

15:00 – Afternoon Tea

15:15 Joining dots through clusters and across ecosystems for impact (Dr Nicola Watts)
Explore how clusters can foster a spirit of collaboration and a shared sense of purpose to join the dots across ecosystems.

16:15 Amplifying Cluster Impact by Design (Dr Sam Bucolo)
This presentation with Q&A will draw on recent Australian examples to provide an overview of the role of design to support cluster growth.

17:15 Close (Dr Mirjana Prica)

19:00Conference Dinner – Salt House

Friday 6th May

Amplifying Cluster Impact by Design – A facilitated workshop with the design thinking expert Dr Sam Bucolo, Executive Chair Australian Design Council.

9:30 – 11:30
Workshop – Amplifying Cluster Impact by Design
(Dr Sam Bucolo)

This workshop will allow participants to dive deeper into the Australian Design Council National Design Challenge framework and explore how through the inclusion of design capability, impact can be amplified within a cluster. The workshop will provide an overview of the key steps, tools and outputs which underpin a National Design Challenge. Sufficient time will be provided for participants to explore how their own cluster may adopt such an approach to drive regional growth.

Speaker Profiles

Merete Daniel Nielsen, President of the TCI Network, co-founder and co-director of Cluster Excellence Denmark, supports Danish clusters on competence development, professionalization and internationalization. For the last 20 years, she has acted as an expert and leader in cluster and innovation projects at regional, national and international levels mainly in Europe. She is a member of the new Commission Expert Group on Clusters, at the European Commission.

Dr Mirjana Prica is an experienced business and strategy leader in the food and agribusiness industry. She is currently Managing Director of Food Innovation Australia Ltd, and is responsible for driving innovation and market initiatives for Australia. Mirjana sits on boards and advisory groups for cooperative research centres, universities, and industry organisations where she leverages her 20+ years of research and commercial experience in food and agribusiness.

Dr Allan O’Connor is Associate Professor of Enterprise Dynamics and Co-Executive Director of the Centre for Enterprise Dynamics in Global Economies at the University of South Australia.

As an active TCI member, His research informs practising entrepreneurs, executive management teams, policy-makers, and regional development agencies on how to create opportunities and manage the resources necessary to foster and develop innovation and entrepreneurship.

Allan led the establishment of the Australian Cluster Observatory in 2014, has published an edited volume on Integrating Innovation in South Australia in 2015, and has pioneered research on entrepreneurial ecosystems since 2014/2015. In 2020 and 2021, he was recognised as Australia’s leading researcher in innovation and entrepreneurship by the Australian newspaper.

Madeline specialises in strategy and evaluation for clusters, innovation and complex collaborations. She is Head of Strategy for the Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art, where she leads the research and enterprise strategy, as well as the development and delivery of a portfolio of programmes using design to build the innovative capacity of businesses, public sector organisations and communities with a particular interest in evidencing the value of collaborative innovation. She is a Co-I for the UKRI Circular Economy Hub, leading on evaluation and impact, and sits on the NHS Scotland Innovation Steering group. Alongside her GSA role, she heads a consultancy, SmithKelvin, focused on support for clusters, innovation and collaborative projects.

She is an active member of TCI, the global cluster and innovation practitioners’ network, and leads their International Working Group on Cluster Evaluation. She sits on the board of a number of triple helix collaborations including the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre.

James Wilson is Research Director at Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and teaching faculty at Deusto Business School. His research interests are in policy-relevant analysis of territorial competitiveness, focused especially on territorial strategy-making, governance, clusters, policy evaluation, and the roles that universities play in territorial development. James has published widely on these issues in peer-reviewed journals and academic books and has played leading roles in European research projects, particularly in the fields of clusters and smart specialization strategies.

James is regularly invited as an expert speaker/advisor by institutions such as the European Commission and by national and regional governments, and he is a member of the Board of Directors of TCI Network.

Dr Emily Wise has more than 27 years of experience in strategic consulting and international economic development – spending the past 18 years working as a public policy analyst and researcher focused on cluster development programmes and international innovation collaboration. Currently, Emily is an affiliated researcher at Lund University and an independent consultant – providing research, analysis, and advisory support to regional and national governmental organisations, the European Commission and other international organisations.

Thematic areas of interest include cluster policy (development and evaluation of clusters and other collaborative innovation ecosystems), monitoring and evaluation of system-level change, governance and implementation of smart specialization and industrial transition strategies, internationalization and interregional collaboration.

Emily has a BSFS in International Politics from Georgetown University (1991), an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (1997), and a PhD in Research Policy from Lund University (2014). In addition, Emily serves on the Board of Directors of TCI – the global practitioners’ network for competitiveness, clusters and innovation.

Allan is a qualified engineer, director and business executive with extensive corporate, entrepreneurial and consulting experience across manufacturing, process and resource sectors.

His professional engineering career started as a cadet with CSR Limited, in Cairns, at Hambledon Sugar Mill, Edmonton. He spent 16 years with CSR, mainly in its Sugar Division, rising to be Chief Engineer, NZ

During his time with CSR, Allan completed his 1st class honours degree in mechanical engineering, studied B.Bus and was sponsored to Harvard Business School, to complete a post-graduate business development program, an ‘executive MBA.

Since 1987 Allan founded and co-founded a number of technology companies, listed them, transformed them and grew them. 

In 1988, he engaged Prof Michael Porter to assist in a regional industry transformation initiative, that resulted in a software technology cluster and  business incubator – accelerator based at Massey University, NZ.

Since returning to Australia in 2000, Allan has been involved in consulting and business turnaround, predominately within the manufacturing, heavy industry and resources sectors. 

This lead him to be appointed by METS Ignited, supported by the Queensland Government to review, strengthen and re-energise the Mine Tailings and Affected Water cluster. This cluster is being transformed and realigned to current industry needs.

Dr Nicola Watts is passionate about clusters and the opportunities they present for addressing challenges and unleashing opportunities through purposeful collaboration and innovation.

Nicola is a former cluster founder, who currently facilitates collaboration, co-innovation, communications and capacity-building. She has extensive global experience matched with a strong focus on ‘acting locally’.

Dr Sam Bucolo is an Industrial Designer with 30 years spanning industry and academia. 

Sam is the Executive Chair of the Australian Design Council and is an Adjunct Professor of Design at Swinburne University.

Sam has collaborated widely with a diverse set of industry partners and sectors spanning Food and Agriculture, Defence, Automotive, Telecommunications and Construction, where his focus is to grow businesses through design. 

Sam has led many government initiatives on embedding design within organisations and sectors, has held several senior positions within Universities, has been a former entrepreneur and is the author of the book “Are We There Yet, Insights on how to lead by design”. 

As NERA’s General Manager Hydrogen, Leigh is focused on working collaboratively with regional clusters to build an Australian hydrogen technology cluster that can be promoted around the world.

Leigh has significant experience in working with all Australian state and territory governments along with key Australian Government agencies clients, as well as with investors across the industry and the world.

At Austrade for almost a decade, Leigh worked with international network and government partners to drive Austrade’s global resources and energy investment attraction and facilitation strategy and assist clients (developers, capital and technology companies) deliver on their Australian expansion plans.

Aligned to many global companies’ transitions to becoming green and announcing net-zero emission targets, the focus honed in on renewable energy and hydrogen investment opportunities.

Proudly sponsored by

This event is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.