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Four action areas in NSW Government’s Innovation Strategy

Four action areas in NSW Government’s Innovation Strategy

The NSW Government released an Innovation Strategy document, titled, 'Bringing Big Ideas to Life' yesterday.

It is geared towards preparing NSW for the digital age economy, through citizen-centric government services, responsive regulation, attracting technology-driven businesses, developing skills and enhancing collaboration within government and between government, industry and academia.

The introduction by Hon. Victor Dominello, MP, Minister for Innovation & Better Regulation and Hon. Anthony Roberts MP, Minister for Industry Resources and Energy, described it as the “NSW Government’s vision to boost innovation in NSW, in the government and non-government sectors for the betterment of our State”.

The 14-page strategy document outlines four areas of action. Within each, the document lays down an action plan and highlights key initiatives.

1. Government as an innovation leader

The primary focus is on adopting a more ‘user-centric’ approach and designing responsive regulation to make NSW the easiest state to start and grow a business.

The areas of action are co-designing solutions around need, providing clearer access points to government decision making, embedding a culture of ‘digital by default’, encouraging the release of open data where appropriate and collaborating across government to reduce regulatory hurdles for businesses.


  • Launching the NSW Innovation Concierge (NIC) service, with the digital interface ‘Ask NIC’, to guide citizens to the right information and people in government. NIC is expected to operate as a ‘front door’, through which anyone can submit innovative proposals and be assured that opportunities will be considered by subject matter experts and decision-makers across government, operating in conjunction with the new Ministerial Innovation Committee, to
  • Creating Regulatory Sandboxes where products, services and business models can be tested, while maintaining existing protections and limiting impact of failures. This is expected to encourage more risk-taking and experimentation.

2. Fostering and leveraging research and development

The NSW Government wants to foster an environment, in which universities, industry and government can work together to solve business and service delivery problems.


  • Expanding the TechVoucher scheme. It was launched to drive opportunities for research collaboration between small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in NSW and Boosting Business Innovation Program (BBIP) delivery partners, benefiting both by providing funding to the former and commercial opportunities for the latter. The program will be delivered through universities and CSIRO.
  • Establishing Universities Connect to build more strategic relationships between the university sector and the NSW Government.

3. Skills for the future

This section highlights the NSW Government’s awareness of the urgency of growing and re-skilling talent, to deal with the elimination of large percentage of today’s jobs and prepare the populace for high-value jobs in arts, engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, genetics and biotechnology. The objectives are to build the requisite skills, attracting global talent and encouraging business opportunities.


  • Working closely with industry and education providers to develop programs that attract more diverse high-potential students into STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) higher and vocational education, and retaining high-performing students in NSW STEM 2020 industries.
  • Developing NSW Future Skills to address the preparedness of NSW students for changing economic and workforce needs and technological changes. A scoping exercise is currently underway and will identify opportunities to increase participation in subjects and support students studying Asian languages. It will also scope opportunities to better develop entrepreneurship and better understand how we can achieve improved outcomes.
  • Implementing the Jobs for the Future strategy, based on four areas of Growing exports, Open doors for entrepreneurs, Draw on all of our people, Skill up for the knowledge economy

4. A home for entrepreneurs

The government expressed commitment to putting Sydney in the top ten startup ecosystems in the world, by building a network of incubators, accelerators and knowledge hubs.


  • Forming Strategic Partnerships with local governments, starting with the City of Sydney. This partnership will include an International Visiting Entrepreneur’s Program leveraging on the Sydney CBD’s concentration of innovative firms
  • Setting aside $10 million at Jobs for NSW to grow the state’s network of incubators and accelerators, and $3 million in 2016-17 for direct grants to startups.
  • Launch the website (which includes the Ask NIC digital interface), in order to provide information on the Innovation Strategy and supporting initiatives.

Read the complete document here: NSW Government Innovation Strategy Document


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