Thursday, 24 August 2017

Innovating and Supporting Community

A conversation last week and an event I attended last night got me thinking.

What does “Community” mean?

In days gone by, “community” was viewed as a geographical area, usually residential where there was a sense of belonging. This was a time when we were less mobile, if we had a car it was one only. Not everyone had a landline phone and information was gained from the morning and evening newspapers. Neighbours talked about the goings on in the community and the world, sharing opinions and information alike.

Increased mobility and the growth in communication technologies has in part contributed to the breakdown of the traditional community.

We talk about on-line communities, the connection of like minded people with similar interests often communicating over the back fence that is the chat room, website or "App".

But, I wonder if it is swinging back just a little to offline communities, or personal connection.

In a discussion last week, it was put to me that freelance or independent artists, photographers, writers and other creatives are a community. Irrespective of our particular field of endeavour, we should see ourselves as a community, come together formally and informally and share resources including ideas, referral networks and distribution channels.

Last night I participated in another community when I was one of 1200 attending an event at the Triffid in New Farm.

The event was hosted by the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur for “Start-Up” Founders, would be Founders and Venture Capital Enterprises.

As with the traditional focus of “community”, there was a strong sense of interaction, communication, support and sharing. There was also wide diversification of gender, age group, ethnicity and industry.

The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur was established in 2016 with the founding Chief Entrepreneur being Mark Sowerby of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited fame. Its purpose is to encourage Queensland Entrepreneurship, stimulate local, national and international investment and showcase start-up and entrepreneurial talent throughout the state.

Arriving some 30 minutes before formalities commenced, a creative vibe was immediately evident. There was the buzz of positive and engaged conversation. Significantly, as much as people were talking enthusiastically, equally they were listening with the same engagement and intensity.

People are the essence of “Community”. One consistent stand out message from the nine presenting Venture Capital Groups was not about money, return on investment or how much money the founder would make. It was about investing in good people, honest people with passion, commitment and values. All signs of a good community.

I am not claiming to have joined the Queensland Entrepreneur Community, well not yet anyway. However, visiting was rewarding, interesting and educating.

It was also exciting to see, meet and talk to the innovators of the moment and the movers and shakers of the future.

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