Innovation relies on smart ideas plus action

Human beings have been innovating since time immemorial. The speed of change and the resources we use to instigate that change seems to be accelerating. As technology and our lives become more intertwined, it is important to remember that our best work occurs when technology and humanity meet. 

Innovations in health - where your smart phone may soon diagnose your illness and read your vital signs; in transport - where the first driverless truck convoy recently made its way across the USA; and in communications - where you appear at a meeting via holoportation, all started as ideas. Usually in a science fiction novel or movie.

Hollywood has employed futurists for some time to conjure up models of worlds and ways of living beyond our logical comprehension. These days we know that anything is possible, so can futuristic movies still surprise us? Instead, futurists are now employed to assist with job prediction, new organisational structures and product development. Science fiction authors are writing about the world domination of AIs and finally, after an extensive battle, humans once again return to being, well, human!

Innovation requires thought leaders, transformers, game changers, ideators, disruptors, challengers and observers. It also requires a platform where people can exchange ideas about trends occurring on a global level and what is happening in our own arena. By keeping abreast with new ideas and technologies, and marrying those with our humanity, collectively we will be unstoppable in creating a vibrant city where opportunities are plentiful.

The Hunter Innovation Festival is a platform for such exchanges. Themed Smart Ideas and presented by the University of Newcastle, it will run from June 10-17. Visit for a full list of events. 

Christina Gerakiteys is an ideator, innovation and creativity expert