Welcome to the GAP Summit on Spaces of Australia Innovation

| September 15, 2016

Global Access Partners (GAP) is holding its 7th Annual Growth Summit in NSW Parliament House to discuss Spaces of Australian Innovation. Catherine Fritz-Kalish, Co-founder and Managing Director of GAP, delivered the introduction.

I hope you all had a chance to visit each of the demonstrations in the lounge. I am grateful to all of the exhibitors for coming this evening. You are all inspiring and pioneering and have given us a lot to think about.

GAP has run an annual Summit for the past seven years and each year the topic changes.

The topic of innovation was chosen two years ago when we realised that innovation as a concept would become something that business, government and academia could collaborate on.

But innovation has become a buzz word with little real meaning on its own.

We needed to give the idea some context, so after a conversation with my friend and colleague Dr Melis Senova, the idea of Spaces of Australian innovation came about.

This led to the question of what kinds of spaces ensure that innovation is possible?

What head space do we need to develop, what culture, what physical spaces should be built, what virtual spaces should exist, and how could Australia’s growing outer space industry become a driving force for Australian innovation?

So once we had the topic, we then needed the right people in the room to answer these questions. Together with the Summit steering committee we wrote the list and sent personal invitations to each of you.

Thank you all for coming. This is just the start of a process. This is not a one off event.

GAP Summits begin the process of establishing GAP Taskforces.

A Taskforce takes an issue that is raised at the Summit and brings the right people together from the GAP Community to work on solutions and their implementation. GAP Members are a unique bunch of proactive, humble, accomplished, dynamic thinkers who are interested in making Australia the best it can be.

While we have a member base of 3500 people, at the moment 600 GAP members are working on a range of initiatives spanning all industry sectors.

At present we have eight Taskforces running, including one on Cyber Security, on Hospital Funding, on Productive Ageing and on Courage in the public service – just to name a few.

For those who have not been to a GAP Summit before, there are some aspects that make it a unique experience. Tonight is the launch dinner, which allows you to meet each other and hear from some thought leaders.

Minister Roberts is a gracious host who has supported GAP Summits for many years, and I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to him for hosting this year.

Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, Lucy Turnbull, who I had the pleasure of spending a week with on an innovation focused mission to Israel, will speak about her passion for creating smarter cities and the importance of creating shared spaces for fostering innovation.

Professor Brian Schmidt, who is a long-time contributor to GAP initiatives, will talk about how we should be reimagining universities for contemporary society.

And to close this evening, the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP will speak about his new role as Minister for Defence Industries and how it is impacted by the innovation agenda.

Tomorrow’s plenary sessions are held in the Legislative Assembly Chamber of NSW Parliament House where each delegate has a microphone and will contribute to a facilitated discussion for the purpose of determining how we will build a more innovative Nation and who out of us, will take on the recommendations that come from the plenary sessions.

Once the how and who are determined, GAP will convene a Taskforce to progress the recommendations so that they have real economic impact.

This is a personal commitment, and I ask that you come to the discussion with a desire to develop solutions to problems that affect you personally.

Discussion is held under the Chatham house rule, so feel free to say whatever you want tomorrow knowing that you won’t be held accountable!

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Catherine Fritz-Kalish is the co-founder and General Manager of Global Access Partners (GAP)  Catherine has coordinated of a number of international initiatives for the SME unit of the OECD at its headquarters in Paris and worked for the George Weston Foods Group and the TCG Group of Companies.