I’m a strong believer in the “innovate or die” approach to business.
We’re in an unprecedented age of innovation and change. Not since the industrial revolution has the world experienced such rapid advancements and wholesale change as technology has freed information and enabled incredible leaps in communication.
Over the last few years much of this blog has been dedicated to the changing nature of media and marketing; two areas heavily affected by 21st Century innovation, and it has allowed me to study business models that need to rapidly evolve or become extinct.
But these days innovation is crucial to most industries and communities. The powerhouses of modern business have been the most innovative companies: Google, Apple and Facebook to name just three. They’re now being joined by companies like Groupon (who are innovating around retail), Netflix (innovating around home entertainment) and Zygna (innovating around gaming or micro gaming). While these companies are pushing innovation previous industry leaders in the same categories are dying.
I’ve long believed that the way forward for an old industrial town like Newcastle is not to look at the past, but to embrace the future. While steel-making might have been Newcastle’s past innovation and technology could be it’s future.
Web and mobile innovation could be the path to future prosperity in Newcastle. If ever there was a town that should lobby hard to have the National Broadband Network sooner rather than later, it’s Newcastle. Running high speed broadband cable down the currently dilapidated Hunter Street could enable smart start-ups to reinvent the area as an Innovation Capital.
Cheap rents, great lifestyle and a large University all combine in Newcastle to create a perfect environment to attract talent and foster innovation.
While this vision may be a little way off, there is already a nucleus of innovation in Newcastle. They’re not making a big noise yet but I think they will soon.
And that’s where the Lunaticks Society’s next event comes in. On Tuesday 3 May they’re holding their first Digital Showcase. Its a festival of innovative ideas where presenters will be offered the chance to give an elevator pitch in a 15 minute session to an expert panel of judges and audience of digital enthusiasts, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors.
If you have a great idea you’ve been working on and want to share then contact the Lunaticks to be one of the presenters. If you’re keen to hear from some innovators then roll up and join the audience.
I’m really hoping this will be the catalyst for a new era of innovation in the area; one where businesses begin to realise they must innovate or die.