Future Tracts

Making Future Tracts
Designing a Society of the Future


What would it take to make Adelaide a residence of choice for culturally creative, entrepreneurial, artisans, inventors and innovators?

Max Dumais (facilitator) Carol Haslam Raph Oest
David Penfold Raffaele Piccolo Richard Meyer
Darren Ball Marian Garcia Alex Rafalowicz
Philip Vafiadis Lauren Smeaton Luke Beard
Greg Mackie Emily Haren Robbie Slape
Adam Graycar Catherine Lees Georgine Duncan
Analisa Paragalas George Lewkowicz Belinda McCulloch
Alexander Solomon-Bridge    

Facilitator: Max Dumais

Sponsored by:
VIVASA The Don Dunstan Foundation DECS

Designing a haven for culturally creative, entrepreneurial and enterprising people to add to the life of Adelaide is an imperative.

If the fish stocks run down, the wine glut around Australia worsens and the automobile industry falters, what does the future hold for coming generations in Adelaide. The answer must lie with creative, entrepreneurial and enterprising knowledge workers who can build wealth out of thin air through the power of their thinking.

The challenge comes in two parts – how to make Adelaide the type of environment which will hold our own creative people and then seriously address the issue of how to attract others to make a life and living here.

After determining the key aspects of such a group as passionate, inspirational, collaborative, committed, convincing, ambitious, energetic and competitive people who seek growth, prosperity and recognition in their field of endeavour, the group determined that a city would need to be open to diversity, wired up, responsive, culturally rich and diverse, prepared to accept risks, to be safe and supportive.

Given this picture, the type of action required fell into a number of different camps. There is a need to work towards establishing a cosmopolitan lifestyle and ambiance, for government to cut the red tape and to provide support and incentives. People issues come first and, at the community level, Adeladians should to be encouraged to be welcoming and family friendly.

What is required is a public commitment along the lines of the State Plan and its call to support creativity and innovation, but it can’t stop there with rhetoric alone and must be followed up with tangible, effective and specific programs and support.

An important strategy would be to promote Adelaide as a destination on a number of fronts which might include forums, Expos, exhibitions and think tanks to attract lead thinkers to cross fertilize local thinking and to allow the potential for an inflow of people who can make a contribution.

It means opening up Adelaide as one of the world’s best kept secrets to embrace new talent, new energy and new inspiration to help it grow and prosper and there a number of suggested strategies including:

  • Establishing a cosmopolitan lifestyle and ambience
  • Encouraging deregulation and liberalization
  • Providing incentives
  • Focusing on renewal and diversity
  • Nurturing creative leadership
  • Creating the appropriate infrastructure
  • Ensuring community recognition, support and openness
  • Investing in promotion – creating an Adelaide brand
  • Facilitating a population inflow

What are the main attributes/characteristics of culturally creative people, entrepreneurs, artisans, innovators or inventors?

  • Confidence in knowing others have done it, so we can too and having our skill, experience and knowledge recognized and used appropriately.
  • Education or knowledge in their field of interest with passion and dedication to making a difference in their area.
  • Ability to think outside the box and challenge ideas, not just accept the status-quo.
  • Preparedness to take part in Think tanks, forums and groups to take ideas into practice. Look for forums in which to be expressive.
  • Want to make a difference and can see solutions to society’s problems with the ability to identify a need in the community and package it in a way that will get community acceptance.
  • Resilience, i.e. Charlotte’s web attitude
  • Passion is essential, as well as an openness to new ideas, outward vision and other frames of reference.
  • Culturally educated through travel and by learning about other cultures and ideas as well as continual education – both formal and informal throughout life.
  • Ability to actively seek opportunities and new ideas and to build local and global networks.
  • Life long learners with a thirst for knowledge, constantly questioning and seeking finer distinctions.
  • Seek to add value, search for perfection, they are driven to succeed, passionate, open and receptive.
  • Resource demanding, engaged in what is needed by the populous
  • Complex thinkers are often thought to be simple.
  • Aware of context and philosophical but NOT self-absorbed
  • Impulsiveness with even the slimmest chance of social betterment which reflects openness and an ability to shed any jaded perspective.
  • Anyone can fit this bill at different times.
  • Diverse – have all sorts of needs, desires, creative influences.
  • Flexibility of spirit and mind, able to consider things from another’s view.
  • Not bureaucratic – avoids red tape and obstacles, free to be entrepreneurial without meeting paperwork obstacles. They seek change constantly and they hate constraints.
  • Entrepreneurs are go-getters. They are willing to try new things – open to change.
  • Creative people who need to have time and space to think and to express themselves – without financial or business worries.
  • Entrepreneurs learn by experience, rather than training.
  • They need to have easy access to resources and to good research facilities and organisations.
  • Ambitious, committed, skilled and keen to up skill in their areas of interest
  • Extroverted and expressive. Good net workers, interested in other people and innovative approaches to challenges or obstacles and everyday issues.
  • Confident in their own abilities and visionary.
  • Macroeconomic in the big picture and micro economic in their attention to details.
  • Good time managers who challenge themselves constantly.
  • Interested in learning about other cultures/opportunities and like to challenge accepted norms and traditional methods.
  • Take Risks – the idea being to evolve and be competitive. The idea of keeping up.
  • ‘Steal’ ideas and evolve them. Ability to apply proven ideas quickly, whether theirs or others.
  • Driven to communicate. Sharing knowledge means growing more quickly.
  • Desire to prosper and an understanding that all in the community must grow together for all to prosper. Some may prosper more than others, but none must lose.
  • Pursuit and demonstration of excellence in their activities. Determined people with guts and a propensity for risk taking
  • People who want to experiment and innovate at the edge of experience and who are sought out by others for their leadership and expertise
  • Lifelong learners prepared to change and internalize input from others.
  • Affiliation and loyalty to a place but also prepared to take up opportunities.
  • Ability to network and share ideas with others.

Key attributes of entrepreneurial, creative people.

These people are independent thinkers who can think quickly and solve problems, they push themselves to the limit and beyond and are flexible and adaptable in their approach, they thrive on challenge, work hard, live work through life.

  1. Inspirational, passionate, confident, self aware and convincing
  2. Seek growth and prosperity and recognition – financially and otherwise
  3. Ambitious, energetic, committed and competitive.
  4. Lateral thinkers and open to and drive change.
  5. Visionary beyond constraints, and resilient.
  6. Driven by opportunity and urgency, not fear and faith beyond criticism.
  7. Audacious, optimistic, aspirational leaders who challenged and are challenged.
  8. Collaborative and interactive risk-takers.
  9. Life long learners and knowledgeable.
  10. Expressive and need to contribute.

If you were to pick an imaginary place in fiction or reality that might attract innovators, artisans, entrepreneurs or culturally creative people – tell us why!

  • Any environment that allows the freedom to create the characteristics of – art, culture, creativity, practicality, good networking which results in real action, openness and acceptance of new ideas, with the balls to follow through, experimentation.
  • Utopia: a place of great culture and depth, which inspires people’s minds and is free of prejudice and has the resources to turn ideas into reality.
  • Our city – place of contrasts, diversity of people and ideas, environmentally friendly, able to find inspiration intellectually and environmentally with high access to the good things of life.
  • Berlin – innovative, willing to try new things, push new things, seeking to adopt environmental approaches, dynamic and fluid environment, bridging the creative with the practical, multicultural, an inclusive society, driven to change.
  • Berlin – driven to constant change, continues to better itself but maintains their values whilst constantly increasing standard of living.
  • Botanic Garden: tranquil, reflective, inspirational, creative, humbling, historical, linearity.
  • Dark minimalist forest – requires innovation, forces context – appreciation – base principles, and resourcefulness.
  • Our utopia (C: Seattle; A: Barcelona): progressive, open people. Arty, cultured, daring. Good climate, diverse nature. Good urban planning (less cars). A bit of history. street life, worldly cities. Fun and lively. Affordable, undiscovered.
  • Hobart or Monaco – places of immense natural and architectural beauty which have much history and ambience; lifestyle balance ; are structurally open but small; liberalised laws; vibrant; affordable; internationally recognized; cultured.
  • The Moon – discovering new things- untouched, almost watching a society of people evolve and create. New Values – as opposed to the old or Traditional.
  • Not a place by name, but by type. A place at the intersection of well traveled crossroads…a mixing ground for new/foreign ideas. Also a peaceful place that’s conducive to free speech/discussion
  • George’s town – environmental – coastal, diverse environments nearby, easy international connections, close to diverse places, people and things, wired-up 24/7, opportunities all the time, new opportunities always emerging, culturally active, multicultural, can-do, good lifestyle, openness to new ideas, affordable, inspirational community leaders, great facilities and infrastructure
  • Adelaide – diversity, inclusivity, productive, newness, nurturing, opportunity, relaxing, space, critical mass, innovative, affordable, fun, energy, friendly, family-first, healthy environment, sustainable, education, safe, encourages risk

Themes: Open to diversity, ideas, dynamism, wired up, responsive to change, safety and peaceful, affordability, open to change, revolutionary, sense of history and tradition, intellectual, new ideas, culturally rich and diverse, integrated, fertile landscapes/mindscapes, fun and friendly, family lifestyle, freedom of thought and speech, communal, resource rich, depth, cultural dept, courage of conviction, risk-taking, capacity to implement, enabling physical infrastructure, energy, connecting ideas with reality, globally connected, entrepreneurial orientation, education, enterprising values, forum and structures for innovation, focused and integrated approach.

After thinking through the issues, what specific action would your team strongly recommend?
  • Invest in university students to build own companies within South Australia – while they are still studying.
  • Liberalise immigration – Offer all foreign students university graduates automatically permanent residency reside in Adelaide for 5 years.
  • Formally welcome new comers to Adelaide and provide ongoing settlement support. Match new families with existing families in order to break down barriers.
  • Target programs to attract and entice like minded organisations in knowledge based industries i.e. the new economy.
  • Create a vibrant and energetic ‘living’ lifestyle, through increased community participation and interaction (e.g. festivals) effecting a change to a more open minded culture.
  • Modernisation of infrastructure and utilisation of buildings.
  • Tax incentives during the early stage of companies with incentives to exporters and tax incentives to angel investors. Eliminate payroll tax for creative businesses or those in support
  • Talk with business people about what they need to sustain their business and to make SA a sustainable economy.
  • Build a brand for Adelaide. Promotional activities regarding the city and activities needs to be undertaken. Create a high profile to make Adelaide enticing enough to help sustain our own population and keep our people here but also attract others into SA and Adelaide.
  • Big increase in arts events and activity to create a more consistent vibe and reason for people to come here – to visit to stay and to come back.
  • Liberalise laws, education, immigration controls to result in a society which has a progressive, educated and inclusive attitude!
  • Claim leadership in important issues that don’t yet have a forum i.e. Host international forums where there is strong fragmented activity but no clear hub, for instance – electronic art, digital rights management for the visual arts.
  • Provide more ‘Creative Scholarships’ through the State Government.
  • Have our politicians rediscover our appetite for courageous social reform.

What specific, concrete actions could we take to entice such people here and keep them?

1. Set out to establish a cosmopolitan lifestyle and ambience

  • Design a ‘Buzzy’ inner city with fine food and dining to cater for more people living in the inner city.
  • Fun, energetic and lively city with funky living and funky gathering places. Well publicised festivals and nightlife and lots happening for lifestyle.
  • Promote an accepting and appreciative culture.
  • Make festival of arts/fringe an annual event.
  • Grow up and take our place in the global world!

2. Encourage deregulation and liberalisation

  • Remove bureaucratic obstacles.
  • Encourage foreign ownership of housing, foreign investments.
  • Eliminate ‘tariffs auction’.
  • Liberalise laws concerning industry and social issues in order to increase cultural and economic diversity and freedom.
  • Create a Free Trade Zone.
  • Make Adelaide a centre for ‘same sex’ marriage

3. Provide incentives

  • Money. Provide easy access to venture capital.
  • Provide help in the form of governmental support in their field such as tax incentives with a first 5 years of tax advantages
  • State prizes for the most ‘way out’ idea put into practice
  • Establish a creative people index and have tax breaks for creative people
  • Put forward grants in all areas funded by GST state surpluses – an ‘Inspiration Seeding Fund’ to use to combat difficulty in getting start-up money and or expansion dollars.
  • Support people to live in the CBD – affordable housing, which is innovative and environmentally friendly

4. Focus on renewal and diversity

  • Forums for people to be challenged rather than simply being spectators.
  • Research current Adelaide entrepreneurs about what keeps them here and what they need to improve.
  • Either eliminate or amalgamate local governments to provide infrastructure planning and resources for delivery.
  • Develop exciting ‘hub’ activities – whether thought or cultural like a Think festival/fringe – but apply specifically to science or philosophy or the finer arts.
  • Ensure diversity of opportunities – not just restricted to the people involved, but to their families as well.

5. Nurture creative leadership

  • Showcase innovative companies.
  • Teach Philosophy in public schools to entice more of our youth to become more this type of people.
  • Boost creative arts
  • Place value on knowledge and research.
  • Encourage the collaboration and possible emulation of government, e.g. get rid of ‘States’
  • Universities should become more cooperative in attracting and rewarding people.
  • Federal law to encourage renewable energy – this has been priced, is feasible, and should happen!
  • Have pride in our own local developments and be confident about our achievements.
  • Have a regular forum which promotes new business opportunities
  • Better educated leaders and bring more women into politics.

6. Create the infrastructure

  • Ensure law and order
  • Introduce cutting edge technology and telecommunications. Wire up adelaide for fast speed internet and video receiving and display
  • Ease of Travel – hassle free airports and highways.
  • Modern transport (that doesn’t smell and is on time)
  • Remove lanes in CBD and replace with art installations and pedestrian access/bicycles and public transport
  • Create a clean and environmentally friendly city
  • Go onto Eastern Standard Time
  • Free education
  • Social security

7. Ensure community recognition, support and openness

  • Make South Australia ‘Family friendly’
  • Festival of arts and the fringe every year not every two years
  • Get rid of high profile celebs!

8. Invest in promotion

  • Hold forums, Expos, Exhibitions etc for others to come and see
  • Promote international recognition of Adelaide as a great place to live, work and play (‘feel good’ factor)
  • Promote particular aspects of Adelaide using high profile celebs and build up the Adelaide brand
  • More sporting events and more promotion.
  • Purposeful and visible networks across industry and community activities.
  • Local recognition (PR, good marketing) Have more aggressive advertising of our successes.
  • Name association – key industries in SA (music, wine, arts, defence etc)
  • Innovators to be become local heroes who are more publicly recognised than sports people.
  • Print media back pages changed to have stories about the latest innovations

9. Facilitate a population inflow

  • Liberalise immigration policies particularly in relation to entrepreneurs
  • Become a state of America! Auction off passports through EBAY!
  • Promote skill shortage areas overseas to attract skilled immigrants and assist with airfares for such immigrants and their culture etc as well!

Conclusion: There has been a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy spent addressing these issues and it is time to focus that energy into action across government, industry and the community.