Country people are 'can do' people

Rural Australians innovate because we believe in better and we believe in having a go ourselves.

THIS week’s Leading Questions—a leadership blog from Matt Linnegar, CEO of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation— showcases a guest post from Mikaela Jade, who is a current participant on Course 22 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Indigital, an innovation company that collaborates with rural and remote Indigenous communities to create products and services in untapped new digital market spaces ripe for growth. Mikaela is an Aboriginal woman from Sydney who now lives and operates her technology start up in remote Jabiru.

IF necessity is the mother of all invention, then panarchy is the mother of all innovation.

Panarchy first coined in 1860 by de Puyt is the recognition of an inclusive, universal system of governance in which all may participate meaningfully. Thanks to the digital economy, it is here.

If you have an idea, a prototype, a potential market and the boldness to pursue it, the world is your oyster.

For the past decade innovation hubs, collaborative working spaces, venture capital accelerators and angel investors seem to have been popping up on corners in every city, blinkered by the perception that innovation happens rapidly in urban environments.

The idea is that rapid acceleration means a quicker return on investment, or a quicker end to an unviable product or service. Innovate or die, just do it quickly.

Having been on the innovation journey myself for the past six years, I believe the opposite is true.

It seems others are starting to catch on to the extensive innovation capabilities of those of us who don’t live in cities and who spend the necessary time prototyping to get our products right while talking extensively to our potential markets to build relationships. With relationships come deep insights.

While I hail from the Cabrogal People in the Sydney Basin, I’ve spent most of my adult life in rural and remote Australia, championing innovation in sustainable agriculture and land management.

I’ve seen some brilliant innovation in the Pilbara, North Queensland, and now where I’ve based my technology startup, in Jabiru, Northern Territory.

I’ve heard I’m crazy more than once, but I’ve discovered a secret in the bush.

Aside from no traffic and no parking fees, there is an incredibly strong network of people with a ‘can-do’ attitude who are willing to go above and beyond to help you out and connect you with others trying to build better.

Rural Australians innovate because we believe in better and we believe in having a go ourselves.

In rural, regional and remote Australia you can’t wait for someone else to do it, nor can you just stroll around the next corner to pick up expertise to solve problems.

My prediction is humble, socially and environmentally minded innovative rural Australians are about to give our urban cousins a run for their money in the innovation stakes.

Better still, I’d love to see these divergent communities collide. Imagine high-technology urban innovation communities partnering with networks of practically-minded rural inventors and innovators who already have long established business links to Asia? Combine the mindsets and networks across Australia. That’s how to power Australia’s innovation agenda.

Just look at humble apiarist to multi-millionaire Cedar Anderson, inventor of the Flow™ Beehive system. He is one of many rural inventors and innovators capitalising on the best opportunity rural, regional and remote Australian’s have had in a lifetime to access globalised markets through the digital economy.

There has never been a better time to launch that product you have been tinkering with in the shed, or that service you have been talking about over the kitchen table. Panarchy has arrived, and it’s here to stay. I encourage you to go for it!

Leading questionsAustralian Rural Leadership Foundation CEO Matt Linnegar looks at the issues impacting the ag sector.


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Sorry did i get it wrong..? Rankins Springs is still open..?!
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No doubt a few frosted Freddies out there who will wish they had taken a closer look at the AGC
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Matthew, I was wondering if you had followed up this story with the farmer after the whole