Thursday, 22 December 2011

Strategic Leadership Conference - RDA Mid North Coast

REMPLAN was proud to be one of the “Premium Sponsors” of the Strategic Leadership Conference, hosted by RDA Mid North Coast at the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie. Speakers included the Hon Simon Crean MP (Minister for Regional Australia), the Hon Andrew Stoner MP (Deputy Premier, NSW), Dr Tim Williams and Dr Hunter Watt.

Leadership is fundamental to the growth and revitalisation of regional and urban communities. Innovation is the imperative to encouraging growth and investment in new industries, media, social capital and the new regional society. The purpose of the two day conference was to examine the questions of leadership for innovation and seek to identify the catalysts for change.

The Friday conference provided a full day of inspirational speakers delivering insightful presentations and thought provoking conversation over “The Lounge” sessions. In keeping with the innovative theme, Twitter was streamed live (#rdaleadership) – with great comments and feedback (as well as some humour!).

While all presentations were very informative, some of the topics and comments included:
Regional leadership for innovation – are we slack enough?” by Professor Andrew Beer. A very interesting presentation which highlighted the importance of ‘slack resources’ ie, effective leaders need to have the capacity – available time, fiscal resource etc – to attend to the community leadership tasks at hand.
Leadership and a report on the commitment to Regional Australia” – Rob Oakeshott MP. Great presentation addressing issues such as: ‘ideas are the currency of our future’ and ‘the difference between local and national unemployment has been accepted for too long’ as one tweeter stated “whatever your political persuasion, Oakeshott has the regions at heart”.
12 months of Australian Government Leadership for Regional Australia” – Simon Crean MP. Mr Crean also spoke at last years Conference and delivered a thought provoking presentation recognising regional strengths and benefits to the nation such as “60% of Australian exports are generated in regional areas” and identified through innovation we develop the region to encourage local input and new ideas so that regions “can punch above their weight” leading to “a new era of prosperity and diversity”.
Leadership in regional innovation systems” Professor Markku Sotaruta provided an international perspective on the global issue of innovation. “Create a buzz, fuzz and glow: re innovation” – not only a great catch phrase, but also highlights the importance of creativity as part of innovation. “In their efforts to construct regional innovation systems, leaders need to influence the spirit of time, as it is more often than not the soil in which the seeds of new paths are rooted.”  One of many great tweets… “New ideas are created by playing, link with slack leadership idea from (Professor) Beer. Have fun to create!”
Enabling the Health IT Ecosystem – Innovation in Action” Dr Hunter Watt. Commented that the smart phone is becoming a more powerful tool than the stethoscope in health care! and the NBN is critical for the development of regional health services and outcomes.
Digital Strategy for the Mid North Coast” – Dr Tim Williams delivered an insightful and entertaining presentation – as one tweeter stated “Dr Tim Williams. Content tick. Presentation tick. Inspiration. Brilliant. More please.”
Conversations on the lounge – there were six separate sessions, all different topics, each with a number of panellists, all providing great perspectives and discussions. We, like many audience members, could not get enough of Dr Ernesto Sirolli – a pleasure for Matthew from REMPLAN to share the stage, but also an inspiration professionally and personally.
Overall from a sponsor and attendee perspective, the Conference was very informative and thought provoking. Congratulations to the organisers, presenters and panellists – we look forward to seeing you again at next years conference.
Some tweets from the conference for thought:
  • “Innovation is not about being scared of failure”
  • “We all see things through different filters. These differences in people make the world rich! Listen to them”.
  • “Without vision, you’re flying blind”
  • “Having enough ‘slack’ in the system & time to think is important”
  • “Word of the day, ‘collaboration’”
  • "Cut through "black box" data to assist regional planning"
  • “Prof Cliff Hughes reinforces technology without learning is a real challenge especially to disadvantaged/remote community members”
  • “Collaboration, global networking and innovation are key partners in driving a local economy”
  • “Regions need to shift to a cleaner, more sustainable future”
  • “I’m still taken by Elizabeth’s shoes!”

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At REMPLAN we are a team of economists, demographers and software developers. We develop online analytical tools and information resources for economic development and planning practitioners in local, state and federal government agencies, consulting firms, university researchers and students.

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