Innovation News
Innovation News

Desert Knowledge and Innovation


Category: Innovation News

Desert Knowledge Australia's 2009 Desert Innovation Festival featured a series of local and cross-border events held from April to June in association with the Australian Innovation Festival.

The festival celebrates how people in desert Australia are meeting desert challenges through partnerships, know-how and innovation.

Events held by Desert Knowledge Australia's partners included the Flinders Ranges Bush Festival, SA; Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf Resources Conference and Trade Expo, SA; Launch of Geraldton-Greenough Farmers’ Market, WA and the 2009 World IP Day Virtual Forum linking Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Darwin, NT.

Desert Knowledge Australia organised a series of virtual business forums and an open day.

Business Forums
A series of five business forums linking small businesses across Outback Australia were held by Desert Knowledge Australia Outback Business Networks.

The initiative connects businesses across nine regions of outback Australia: Central West QLD, North West QLD, Central Australia NT, Barkly NT, Kalgoorlie-Boulder WA, Mid West Gascoyne WA, Pilbara WA, Far West NSW and Far North SA. Five industries were targeted: creative industries, local produce, mining services, sustainable building and tourism.

Desert Knowledge Australia Outback Business Networks addresses key challenges faced by business in outback Australia and looks at innovative ways to overcome them. By joining the network, small businesses have the opportunity to increase revenue, reduce costs, save time in accessing information, contacts and potential collaborators.

The forums used Telstra audio-conferencing, supported by web technology, to overcome the challenge of distance and isolation and were successful in identifying shared issues and potential opportunities for collaboration.

Since the forums a number of cross-border projects have resulted.

The Desert Knowledge Australia Creative Industries Network has been formed to connect people in this industry.

A Visitor Information Centre Network has been created that utilises a social networking site to share ideas and coordinate meetings.

A Local Produce database for outback Australia is being compiled, for businesses wanting to supply products and for those wanting to access regional produce.

A project group has been formed that is exploring collaborative business opportunities in Iraq around a major housing construction program which aims to construct 350,000 houses per year over the next 10 years.

More information about the business networks is available to

Solar Open Day
On 23 May the Alice Springs community was invited to explore the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre at its first Solar Open Day.

Several hundred people attended the two-hour event which included guided tours of the facility and displays.

The event highlighted the innovations that are being made towards a solar and sustainable future in central Australia.

The $3 million, Australian Government funded Solar Centre includes 16 different solar installations, an interpretive centre and interpretive walk. The centre provides a testing ground for solar technology and currently generates enough energy to power the Desert Knowledge Precinct with any extra flowing into the Alice Springs power grid.

The Centre also has a live feed to which people can visit at any time and see which installation is performing the best and how much power is being generated.

John Huigen, Desert Knowledge Australia CEO said “This was a great opportunity for people to come and see cutting-edge technology on a large scale, and then speak to experts from Alice Solar City, Desert Knowledge Australia COOLmob and Power and Water to find out what they can do in their own home to save energy and water.”

People interested in finding out more about Desert Knowledge Australia and future Desert Innovation Festivals can visit

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