Local Councils across Australia are implementing smart-city technologies, planning and processes; launching co-working spaces for start-ups, and creating entrepreneurship ecosystems. At Ideas Hoist, we are passionate about the power of innovation to address social, environmental and economic issues, not only in the capital cities but even more so in regional areas.
This week is New South Wales Local Government Week where local councils across NSW are showcasing their involvement in many great community projects and activities. So we thought it would be the perfect time to showcase some of the great, innovative ideas local councils throughout Australia are getting involved in.
NewDemocracy is working with a number of local councils to implement a new way of engaging citizens in local communities. The Community Jury allows citizens to voice their opinions in a jury to help make their community better. The goal is to apply the citizen’s opinions and create strategies to make the environment more sustainable and encourage positive social impact and change. Noosa Council is just one council who has adopted this approach and have used the Community Jury to cover topics such as minimising organic waste being sent to landfill and management of the Noosa River.
Councils throughout Australia are using sustainable bins, a new product by Solar Bins Australia to help reduce waste. Solar bins compact the waste by firmly pressing down on it, with the aim of reducing 80% of waste removal costs. Using sunlight to run, the bins use the same amount of energy it takes to run a single Christmas light bulb. Dorset Council and Southern Midlands Council in Tasmania are just two examples of councils who have jumped on board the Solar Bin idea. The BigBelly Solar compactor is creating a cheaper and natural future for communities around Australia.
We featured Ashley Howden from Sprnt (previously Sportaroo), a crowdfunding platform for athletes and sporting clubs back in March 2013. Local councils are generally very supportive of local athletes and are interested in engaging the community in sport and physical activity for health promotion. Innovative local councils could look to partner with crowdfunding platforms like Sprnt to offer matched financial help to local athletes in return for the athlete engaging the local community in health promotion activities as a reward offered to community crowdfunding supporters.
Sustain Me is your one-stop recycling app. Councils such as Moreland City Council, The City of Moonee Valley and Mornington Peninsula Shire are partnering with Sustain Me to help local residents understand what they can and can’t recycle via this simple, easily accessible mobile app. Interested to find out what motivated co-founder Stephen Halpin to create SustainMe? Check out our interview.
GovHack 2016 has just passed with over 2000 people participating and developing innovative ideas using open government data and reusing it to create something new. There were 41 locations across Australia and 46 hours to develop something innovative. The competition, open to the public, encourages people to work together to create something fresh and innovative for a community and maximise social or environmental impact. Local councils throughout Australia are involved in GovHack and supporting many of the innovative projects and ideas that come out of the weekend-long competition. If you are looking for some inspiration for your next open data project, check out our interview with Rosie Williams founder of OpenAus.
We’ve seen first-hand, from our wonderful home at the Noosa Boardroom, the power of co-working spaces to spark innovation and collaboration amongst SME’s, startups and government. By supporting coworking spaces, local councils can provide powerful economic, infrastructure and networking incentives for startup businesses to move to regional areas and reduce their costs without losing the benefits of being located in a capital city. Through our coworking network here in Noosa, we’ve met with numerous successful tech entrepreneurs like Steve Baxter and Steve Huff, partnered with like-minded and complimentary businesses, connected and worked with influencers in local government and been matched with extremely well-qualified, experienced and dedicated business mentors.