Bright ideas for growth: NMW 2016

“Every time a stranger comes into your business, innovation happens,” says Dr Sasha Alexander, University of Western Sydney’s Snr Lecturer in Design Innovation & Sustainability. Speaking at National Manufacturing Week yesterday, Dr Alexander was among a trio of industry leaders who outlined powerful, low-cost ways to inspire the ‘next big idea’ in your business.

Running through to Friday at Sydney Showground – Sydney Olympic Park, NMW 2016 is proving to be a barometer of innovation trends. Thousands of visitors are converging on NMW’s product showcase – which this year includes innovations in robotics and automation, digital manufacturing, advanced materials and more – and attendance is equally strong for NMW’s live demonstrations and Seminar Theatre program.

NMW 2016’s Day 2 speaker program began with Dr Jens Goennemann, MD of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), one of six newly established bodies developing industry-driven responses to the question of How can Australia better invest and allocate its $10.3BN research investment, to achieve better outcomes for industry?

Dr Goennemann was followed by UWS’ Dr Sasha Alexander, who peppered his presentation with observations – from NMW – about how many Australian businesses are achieving breakthrough innovations by inviting in ‘strangers’, those with industry expertise who stand outside your traditional business boundaries.

Dr Alexander observed that suppliers, customers and other industry partners, as well as consultants and even competitors can contribute ideas that challenge you to grow beyond your business assumptions. For the adventurous at heart, Dr Alexander proposed Gen-Y tools – such as mash-up events, and even hackathon or game chains – alongside product audits and collaborations (including with his organisation, Western Sydney University) that can identify new opportunities for your business model.

Also speaking at NMW yesterday was Paul van Bergen, Partner – R&D Incentives at KPMG. Mr van Bergen – who joined NMW fresh from a recent meeting with 150 manufacturers keen to access support for their business innovations – urged visitors to consider the many cost-effective support programs available, including grants, incentives and collaborative development projects.

Today, NMW’s final day Seminar Theatre program will begin with a Keynote Address from The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Science, Department of Industry. The program also includes a masterclass from the Australian Made Campaign, plus separate sessions dealing with creating your own manufacturing brand and protecting your IP.

Day 3 of NMW will also include live demonstrations of the TIG Brush welding system, and of Gravotech’s rotary and laser engraving machines.

Exhibition Director, Robby Clark comments, “There’s a real buzz across NMW this year – with people from many different industry sectors making new connections and talking about new ideas that could, someday soon, change the future for Australian manufacturing. NMW is simply a great event – hope to see you there!”

Co-located with the Safety First Conference & Expo and Inside 3D Printing, NMW 2016 concludes at 4pm on Friday 13 May. Don’t miss out! Registration is free to the trade – online atnationalmanufacturingweek.com.au or at the doors at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.