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Gladstone forum promoting innovation in regional Queensland

Gladstone kicked off the first Advance Queensland Regional Forum of 2016, promoting innovation in Queensland at the CQUniversity Gladstone campus on Friday 29 January.

The Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leanne Enoch praised Gladstone for its strong innovation culture. Minister Enoch called on an audience of more than 50 people across business, university, industry and government, to leverage off existing innovations and support new ideas to build the innovation movement in Queensland and secure its economic future.

Minister Enoch encourages the audience to build an innovation movement in Queensland.

The forum was hosted by Associate Vice-Chancellor, Professor Owen Nevin, who urged the audience to take advantage of the various Advance Queensland programs available to support local innovations such as the Young Starters’ Fund and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Program.

Other guest speakers included Gladstone entrepreneur and cattle farmer Will Wilson who developed cloud-based animal tracking system iHerd, and Fabienne Wintle of Digital Coaching International, who telecommuted to the event.

Will Wilson shared the inspiring story of how owning an iPhone provided the impetus for his widely successful innovation, which just four years later is tracking 30 million animals in 120 countries around the world, and boasts some 40,000 users.

Will Wilson talking to an audience of more than 50 people, photo credit of CQUniversity.

Will recounted his desire to connect rural producers with their end customers by enabling producers to take their customers through the entire production process – from paddock to plate. Realising the potential of the iPhone, he set out to develop a cloud-based tracking system that could geo-track animals at every stage of the supply chain. This required the development of a Smart Animal Recognition System (ARS) to which the fourth generation beef producer quipped, "iHerd you have a Smart ARS.”

Jokes aside, Will stressed the importance of embracing digital technology as a way for young people to stay in family businesses on the land.  He emphasised the importance of not only having a good idea, but also developing the right business and technical skills – in particular, coding, ­to make their ideas a reality.

Dialling in from her Agnes Waters residence, Fabienne Wintle gave the audience an overview of the importance of businesses having an online presence and being digitally savvy.

Affectionately known in the industry as ‘Web Wonder Woman’, Fabienne shared a wealth of practical digital solutions to streamline business processes.

She encouraged businesses to utilise cloud-based software and applications to enable them to run their business from any location, and use online meeting tools, such as the one she used for the forum, in place of face to face meetings. Fabienne said by doing so, businesses can minimise travel expenses at no opportunity cost.

The Advance Queensland Regional Forums continue to spark discussion on the benefits of collaboration and innovation to drive productivity across business and industry.

Keep an eye on our website to find out about future Advance Queensland events.

Further information

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
18 July, 2017

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