May 14, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

We’ve done competition, tried cooperation, now maybe collaboration is the new normal of success strategies needed to win the right to host major national and international business events.

Having spent three days last week in Adelaide at an industry showcase at the invitation of the Adelaide Convention Bureau, collaboration across disciplines does seem to be working.  South Australia’s vision to cluster the biomed precinct has fostered success.

Take the billion dollar-boulevard that is North Terrace; it features the southern hemisphere’s largest bio-med precinct says ACB chief executive, Damien Kitto.  The precinct, adjacent to Adelaide Convention Centre is home to Adelaide University medical school, South Australia’s Medical Health Research Institute, Royal Adelaide Hospital and soon the Women’s and Children’s hospital.

Delegates to the industry showcase – about 20 association chairs and meeting planners from medical, scientific and industry sectors – inspected the precinct. They asked key questions, made new connections and learned about new technology and training innovations such as simulated surgery and a new photon cancer treatment facility.

At the other end of North Terrace the former medical buildings are now known as Lot 14 and host innovation hubs, including the Australian Institute for Machine Learning and the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre where cyberwarfare scenarios are played out.

Adelaide successfully staged the World Astronautical Congress in 2017  and this is said to be key to this city being chosen to establish the Australian Space Agency, complete with its own Mission Control, also clustered on Lot 14. Kitto confirmed Adelaide is bidding for the Congress again for 2024 – by then the state should be launching its own rockets and satellites into the atmosphere.

Another vision of collaborative energy at scale is the former Mitsubishi manufacturing plant, Tonsley Innovation District set on almost 70 hectares 10km south of the city.  Here under the saw-tooth roof that once housed a car assembly plant are businesses large and small, established and start-ups.

Soon to be home to Amazon and Google, Tonsley has already seen $300 million of private capital investment with another $700 million expected within the decade.  Here is not just theory, but market-ready product and services development.

Lately Tonsley has seen the successful development of green hydrogen and an x-ray machine that is portable enough for mobile use. Tesla services its electric vehicles here; BAE Systems defence contractors work on the latest developments for the Australian Navy frigate project; and Zeiss make spectacle lens prescriptions here. Nestled among these bigger names in modular pods of one to four offices are the entrepreneurs who grow out of office space then happily move to larger pods under the same roof.

Flinders University’s computer science and engineering faculty is also a key tenant, as is TAFE SA, which gives apprentices the chance to experience a range of trade training without the usual constraints that confine them to one discipline only.