Innovation for Impact

Posted: 31 May 2024

Innovation for Impact

Innovation for Impact

In today's rapidly changing business environment, it's crucial for business owners to take time out of their busy schedules to look out and up. Staying informed about emerging themes, opportunities, and challenges allows us to remain competitive and adaptive. 

At the Chamber, this has been a central theme in our strategic planning. We are actively engaging with new ideas and innovations this year, and we hope you feel the energy and momentum we're aiming for with our Connect Townsville this week and Raising Regions Conference in August, which will run alongside our long-standing Business Awards tradition.

The Chamber has always been, and will continue to be, an independent voice and place for all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Our role is to connect, inform, and advocate, but like all businesses, we need to adapt to the future of industry.

This week, I am in Brisbane attending the Queensland Government Public Service Biig Conference and the ACS Tech Summit for my own business.

I am certain that the insights from the Tech Summit today will include the need to augment traditional careers with emerging digital skills along with AI and Cyber Security and Governance and I will look to share any insights with members in due course.

However, I had so many insights from the Biig Conference yesterday to reflect on the parallels between the insights and the challenges faced by regional Queensland businesses that I would like to share with you.

PRESIDENT'S KEY TAKEAWAYS: Queensland Government Public Service Biig Conference

#1: Digital Skills are the equaliser and enabler for businesses of the future.

Chris McLaren, Chief Customer and Digital Officer for the Queensland Government, brings considerable private sector insights into public service. He emphasised that digital equity is a human right, providing people with the tools to improve their lives. This is especially critical in regional Queensland, where accessibility and skills, particularly in remote and rural areas, are significantly lower than the national average. I have been fortunate to be part of several initiatives addressing the challenge of connectivity and its role in building resilient communities. If you would like to share your experiences with connectivity, I would love your feedback via this survey

2# There is an emerging Future and there is a tension between the future and the innovation and current reality that we find ourselves today.

Townsville and North Queensland have significant, once-in-a-decade opportunities that can propel our region into the future.

Townsville and North Queensland have some significant once in a decade opportunities that can propel our region into the future in a powerful way. Yet the tension, in the current reality is that there are some issues - housing, crime, insurance, cost of living that need to be fixed and its not going to be fixed if industry, community groups and all three levels of government are rowing in the same direction. Too many cox’s and seat 1’s does not make a smooth boat. We need to be going in the same direction at the same speed. Too many leaders and not enough coordination or doers hinders progress.

#3 The future is not a destination that we are hurtling towards - it’s the change that we are making to the way things we are doing now

Whether you are talking about big once in a decade pipeline of projects or uplifting business capability to address emerging technologies, cyber security and governance a Three Horizon view is necessary to propel us to that future. There are amazing folk and organisations solving huge problems that are probably not connected in with those that are able to hit the headlines on the regular. At Chamber we are embracing transdisciplinary Innovation and what we can learn by listening to and seeing what other industries are doing. We are currently taking submissions for presenters (as well as sponsors) and are excited to uncover some hidden gems of wisdom. If you would like to share your insights we would love to hear from you.  More about the Raising Regions Conference  

#4 No problem worth solving fits neatly into the box of any agency responsibility . We need to allocate funding for outcomes not delegations

Frustrations arise when civic leaders and elected officials make unilateral decisions impacting businesses without business input. While I don't have all the answers, I hope that businesses are given the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes that affect them. I want to give a shout-out to our regional State Development Team, including James Doyle, Amy Lever, and Erin Kiernan, and Trade Investment Queensland's Mitch Rawlings. They are incredible at looking at the big picture for Townsville. If you haven't reached out or attended one of their events, please do so.

5: Collaboration is Key

I always say, "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." This philosophy is gaining traction locally. It's why I was keen on the Connect Townsville event, and why I was so disappointed to miss what looked like a magical evening. As more people move to the region with their partners and families, it's crucial for Townsville to ensure they build strong bonds with our community. A sense of belonging, attachment, and satisfaction will encourage people to stay and grow in the region. We aim to provide a platform for connecting jobs, business opportunities, and partnerships.

6: Shaping the Future Together

As we navigate this exciting journey, I encourage each of you to embrace innovation and collaboration. Together, we can shape a bright future for Townsville, where every business thrives, every individual has the opportunity to succeed, and our community stands as a beacon of progress and inclusivity.

As we hurdle towards a new financial year and budget period lets make it an impactful year of  innovation and collective growth


The team have launched #askchamber a new initiative where members can email ask@townsvillechamber any business question and if our team don't know the answer someone within our membership will.

Together, we are stronger, and together, we will elevate Townsville to new heights.

Thank you for being part of this vibrant community.

Have a great weekend 


President Townsville Chamber of Commerce