A new Australian Innovation Community slack has been created to provide information and connection to leaders supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia. If that is you and you want to check it out, please send me an email or message with your email address for an invite. Invites can be sent from others in the community as well.

Background, audience, and purpose

Following a webinar for innovation ecosystem leaders in Australia that focused on support and response to the coronavirus, a Slack channel was created to continue the conversation. After a day we had over 70 registered members and it continues to grow. The Slack community provides a means to connect and learn from other leaders, access information on different aspects of the innovation ecosystem, and make connections with other leaders for support.

There have been a few starts at innovation community leader slack communities over the years and there are other good communities including a good one supported by ANZ. I am conscious and cautious of creating more noise and happy to be pointed to others we are not aware of. Most leaders have a long list of slack communities in our network as Slack is a good platform for rapid communication, collaboration, and information sharing.

The slack channel was set up and is co-moderated by Dianna Sommerville, founder of the Regional Pitchfest and Community Manager for Bridge Hub. My interest is based on my various roles as director of Startup Status, Managing Director Australia with the Global Entrepreneurship network, ESHIP Champion with the Kauffman Foundation, and working with QUT’s Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship research and the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence at USQ.

Focus and structure

The structure of the slack channel reflects the nature of the environment leaders experience. This results in a large number of focused channel. I acknowledge a challenge with this approach is that it can be overwhelming for new people coming in to see all the categories and know where to connect. It is designed for you to take what adds value, give where you feel inclined, and follow your energy.

A strong aspect of the community will be conversations around topics and content. The approach is based on maintaining a personal slack channel with daily updates for the past 12 months and seeing the structure emerge from coding information and conversations about the ecosystem. This has been a big benefit in allowing me to go back and reference a conversation or content from a specific area as well as support other leaders looking for a specific reference. I now want to share this where it might add value to others.

It is an experiment, and feedback is welcome.

There are four types of channels:

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Channels for roles

These are channels for different roles in the ecosystem, such as accelerators, investment, hackathons, or universities.

Channels for sectors

Channels for sectors include agriculture, mining, tourism, and others.

Channels for themes and topics

Channels for specific topics such as community groups of gender or indigenous, as well as themes such as health or the current coronavirus.

Channels for community

Channels specific to the slack community, such as introductions or where I can help.

Next steps

The goal is greater collaboration for the benefit of those developing new ideas and building and growing new business. There are other great communities people are a part of and other platforms such as social media groups where people can interact. The Australian Innovation Community slack environment is designed to connect and support a wide audience of ecosystem leaders and builders around specific topics.

Using slack for this for the broad Australian innovation ecosystem is an experiment. It needs to be a targeted audience while also being inclusive. We will also need to bring the community together to share the management as the approach builds.

If you are working in the Australian innovation ecosystem and want to be part of the experiment, drop me a line with your email address. Feedback is welcome as we work together for shared outcomes.

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