On Thursday 29 April, researchers and innovators came together at the UWA Innovation Quarter's inaugural "Meetup" to discuss attitudes, experiences and beliefs that drive innovation and research enterprise.
The panellists included:
- Dr Katherine Iscoe: Co-founded healthtech startup MyFiziq.com after completing a PhD in exercise physiology at UWA.
- Dr Michael Winlo: Co-founded a medical device company after completing MBBS at UWA and now works to translate great science into useful tools that improve health.
- Prof Erik Champion: Curtin Uni researcher working to bring the past to life through gaming, virtual heritage and interactive history.
The panel commenced by trying to establish how to define 'innovation'. From there, they discussed the best methods for fostering innovative spirit at UWA and finally the mechanisms for translating great ideas into practice.
- Prof. Champion asserted that the most successful entrepreneurs don't think of what they're doing as 'innovation'. they are focused on identifying and solving problems. He stressed the importance of case studies as a way to inspire researchers and getting them to imagine possibilities for industry collaboration.
- Dr Iscoe argued that academics often underestimate the potential impact of their research and undervalue their expertise.
- Dr Winlo stressed the importance of collaboration, quoting the African Proverb: "if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together". He argued that great ideas happen in organisations that don't "punish errors of competence". Universities should encourage a culture of risk taking, learn from failure and celebrate success.