The Hunter Innovation Festival (HIF) is a not-for-profit initiative, which aims to connect, inspire and promote a culture of innovation amongst Hunter businesses, industries and communities.

The festival has been running for approximately 17 years and was built on the foundations of the four C’s - Creativity, Connections, Collaboration, and Commercialisation. Prior to 2019 the festival has been run by a dedicated group of volunteers. This year local innovation focused not for profit Hunter iF is taking the lead on the festival and has appointed a festival coordinator to work with members of the local ecosystem to deliver the festival.

Christina Gerakiteys, a long time driver of the festival, has been appointed as the inaugural Festival Champion Connector. Her role is all about enabling greater participation in the local innovation ecosystem, with a particular focus on first time attendees.

“We want to welcome everyone to the Hunter Innovation Festival. We want to connect people with others they may not otherwise cross paths with. We want everyone to understand the breadth of the thriving ecosystem that exists and strengthen collaboration opportunities throughout the region” - Christina Gerakiteys, Festival Champion Connector.

Through the Hunter Innovation Festival we hope to contribute to fostering even greater connections and opportunities, not only for startups but scale ups and businesses and organisations who realise that innovation should be a priority in workplace practices.

So what does the Hunter Innovation Festival offer in 2019?

HIF19 is all about connecting people in the Hunter that produce, invest or consume innovation in any way. It will provide people with the opportunity to connect with each other, new ideas and be inspired to take the next step, what ever it may be.

We want HIF19 to be fun and approachable and attract a wide audience, particularly those who haven’t connected with the industry before. We want to break the ‘Techy’ standard for innovation and have a festival that is young, fun and relevant.

HIF19 will be focused around the theme of ‘Future proofing the Hunter’. Innovation is essential if we are to stay ahead of the disruption curve. Deception precedes disruption in that we are unaware of the wave of change about to hit. Think what the smart phone and streaming did to the music industry. Before the technology was main stream, it played underground and went through several iterations, of interest only to early adopters. As technology improved and more users came onboard, it was said that the music industry had been disrupted. Why would you ever buy a CD again?

Back to the disruption curve and the fact that technology is changing our lives at exponential rates, at speeds never before experienced. In order to adapt, survive and thrive, we need to future proof the Hunter. We need to invite as many of our community to become involved in discussions, to not fear change and to lead. This way we will become leaders and future proof our region. Jobs will stay here, industries will move here and researches will base themselves in a city that is changing the way we operate in all industries, from medicine to agriculture, education to space travel.