Desert Knowledge Australia programs are Innovation Awards Finalists

Two Desert Knowledge Australia programs are finalists in the 2012 Northern Territory Research and Innovation Awards. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Darwin on 26 October.

Outback Business Networks and the Desert Leadership programs have both been short-listed for the awards, which are run by the NT Department of Business and Employment.

Both have been short-listed in the Minister for Business Innovation Initiative category.

The Northern Territory Research and Innovation Awards are an annual event, created to recognise and reward the Territory’s most innovative thinkers and problem solvers and their ground-breaking ideas which help the Northern Territory to prosper economically, socially or environmentally.

The Outback Business Networks program has been short-listed for its work as Australia’s only national network of small to medium sized business enterprises; it connects more than 1450 remote-based businesses across Outback Australia.

Outback Business Networks has introduced the concept of business clustering to the NT and Outback Australia, using appropriate communication technology to link businesses and assist them to overcome the key challenge of isolation and achieve the same reach and market impact as metropolitan-based businesses by creating critical mass.

The Networks has received international acclaim for its work in clustering. Benefits for its business members have included access to new markets, reduced advertising costs through collaboration, and professional development opportunities.

The Desert Leadership programs has been short-listed for its work as the first deliberately intercultural leadership development approach aimed at building the capacity of Aboriginal and other leaders to achieve change in the Territory and remote Australia.

Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) developed the innovative approach to build shared understanding and trust between cultural groups, enabling them to lead together for a shared sustainable future.

To date, DKA has developed two intercultural Desert Leadership programs to build the leadership skills of Alice Springs’ emerging leaders: an adult program and a youth program, which is for senior secondary college students.

Desert Leadership programs challenge participants to find new ways of working together. The programs’ successes are based on partnerships built with organisations from the public, private and community sectors.

Desert Knowledge Australia CEO, Mr John Huigen, said that the finalist nominations are an affirmation of the important work being done by DKA to strengthen the capacity of desert communities and the importance of innovation in achieving positive change.

“The NT Government and our many sponsors have invested in DKA and these programs to develop the economy and community. New ways of doing business and working for change are needed. To achieve this, innovation is essential,” he said.

Media contact: Jeanette Wormald M: 0418 810 785
E: jeanette.wormald@desertknowledge