Micro-adventures in innovation at the Festival of Ambitious Ideas

Lighthouse Innovation 22 November 2019
Festival of Ambitious Ideas

The Festival of Ambitious Ideas is back on the 29 November. Photo: Supplied.

It hasn’t taken long for the Festival of Ambitious Ideas to become a regular highlight on Canberra’s business calendar.

It’s based on a unique format where up to 16 speakers each have 5 minutes to tell their story and inspire the audience. In a little over an hour, guests are treated to a range of perspectives and viewpoints. They are then encouraged to follow their curiosity and engage speakers in conversation over drinks and canapés.

The quarterly event is a collaboration between local innovation consultancy Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre and the Canberra Airport. The next Festival will be held on Friday, 29 November.

“The Festival of Ambitious Ideas provides a platform for the intersection of different fields and disciplines where academics, public servants and entrepreneurs, experienced speakers and students can all come together and engage in conversation,” says Lighthouse CEO Anna Pino.

According to Ms Pino, the inspiration for the event comes from the work of innovation-expert and author of the ‘Medici Effect’, Frans Johansson. He describes how the Medici family in 15th century Italy were instrumental in bringing together scientists, poets, artists and architects in the town of Florence. Here they swapped ideas, learned from each other and collaborated. This brought about one of the most creative and innovative periods in history, the Renaissance.

“The event provides a great business case for diversity,” says Ms Pino. “Over the years we have seen investments happen, projects initiated and friendships formed.”

Ms Pino points to the misconception that success only comes from careful analysis and planning. If you speak to many successful entrepreneurs, inventors or creators they will often recount stories where luck, being in the right place at the right time, or a chance meeting caused them to look at a problem in a new light or provided the breakthrough they needed.

“The Festival of Ambitious Ideas is designed to harness chance and randomness and create opportunities for conversation with people that you never expected would provide you with a different perspective or insight,” says Ms Pino.

The theme for this event is ‘Beta Festival’ and speakers were asked to share some of the innovative ideas and projects that they have been working on in 2019.

“The audience will hear about clever ideas that cover everything from quantum computing, urban design, fashion and renewables to baby products and virtual reality,” says Ms Pino.

Festival of Ambitious Ideas

Following the presentations, guests are invited to engage in conversation with the speakers over light refreshments. Photo: Supplied.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Kate Freeman from The Healthy Eating Hub – “The Power of Incremental Change for Diet”
  • Dr Andrew Horsley from Quantum Brilliance – “Quantum computing with diamonds”
  • Rachael Coghlan and Kate Nixon from CraftACT – “Design Canberra Festival”
  • Linda Cavanagh from Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node – “Police, Hackers & Cyber: The National Missing Persons Hackathon”
  • Olga Imbriano from Bellelis – “How a passion and dreams turned into a business”
  • Brad Butt from Men’s Health Downunder – “Lifting the kilt on men’s health”
  • Jennifer Edmunds from Place Logic – “The Silent Majority”
  • Emma Hamilton from YouGoCo – “Resolving Problems in Business”
  • Dr Omar Zuaiter from Dentroid Technologies – “Dentriod: Needleless, noiseless and pain-free dentistry on-demand”
  • Lisa La Maitre from Therapy Masters – “Be All of Me”
  • Stephen Trowell from PPB Technology – “Evolution is cleverer than we are – adventures in building better biosensors”
  • Jess Barnes from Feather and Barb – “A New Kind of Fit”
  • Phil Preston from Solar Blox – “Replacing the chain: Putting renewable energy in the right hands”
  • Kathy Ehmann from Community Toolbox Canberra – “A library of things”
  • Shannon Pickles from Lightning Rock – “Metaphysica – Changing the world through Virtual Reality”.


The Festival of Ambitious Ideas

Friday, 29 November from 5:30 pm.

Venue: Alastair Swayn Theatre, Brindabella Conference Centre, 33 & 35 Brindabella Circuit, Business Park at the Canberra Airport

Tickets are available at https://betafestival.eventbrite.com.au.

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