Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Models for Canberra Innovation

Greetings from the University of Canberra (UoC), where Dr. Josep M. Piqué, Managing Director of 22@Barcelona, is speaking on "Innovation districts". 22@Barcelona, also known as Districte de la innovació (the innovation district) is an urban renewal project for the Poblenou area of Barcelona.

UoC has invited  Dr. Piqué, as part of promoting their innovation precinct. However it is not clear what a small regional university can learn for its "Innovation Park" from the experience of the "Catalan Manchester". UoC might be better off looking to a smaller city for inspiration. The city I first suggested Canberra should model itself on twenty years ago is Cambridge (UK).

The Canberra suburb of Bruce, where UoC is located, has a history of attempted government funded technology startups going back 40 years. In the 1970s the company Information Electronics Limited manufactured computer terminals for government agencies in a factory opposite the university campus, on Haydon Drive. The nearby Fern Hill Technology Park was opened in October 1984, with limited success.

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