Multiple Dates

Open Innovation Competition Drop-In Sessions

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

251 Faraday Street

Art Room

Carlton, VIC 3053


View Map

Event description


Open Innovation Competition Drop-In Sessions

Wednesdays, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm

7th March - Ideation and research

14th March - Technology

21st March - Business model and feasibility

Location: Kathleen Syme Library, Art Room
For: 18+ years
Cost: Free

Are you participating in the Open Innovation Competition on accessibility, or want to learn more about it?

City of Melbourne is holding an open innovation competition focused on devising solutions to increase city accessibility for areas such as parking, footpaths, congestion and wayfinding.

Get direct advice from experts in the field of solving accessibility issues. Each session has a guiding theme with mentors and experts on hand to help specifically in the areas of ideation and research, technology, and business modelling. You can drop-in anytime between 4.30 and 6.30pm to have a conversation with someone.

At the final session on Wednesday 21st of March, Microsoft will be presenting a short talk about their approach to accessibility. The talk will cover inclusive design at Microsoft, the current state of accessibility, the AI revolution and how that is making it easier to deliver solutions that are accessible including: computer vision, natural language and bots, all enabling new experiences for people with disabilities.

Microsoft will also be providing Azure accounts that include access to these cognitive services which participants can use for computer vision, speech language and knowledge.

Find out more about the Open Innovation Competition on acessibility here.

For enquiries contact:
Phone: 03 9658 7055

Mentors and Experts:

March 7th: Ideation & Research

Damien Chabas, Manager Accessibility and Standards at Yarra Trams

I have over 8 years’ experience in the Transport sector. In my career, I have worked in business development, marketing and customer experience mainly with

a focus on putting the customer at the centre of everything we do. In my current role, I develop and implement strategies to make our services more inclusive and ensure we meet the access needs of all of our customers through continuous improvement, innovation and strong stakeholder engagement.

Elias Lebbos, Chief Executive Officer at Travellers Aid Australia

Elias joined Travellers Aid as Operations Manager in November 2007 and took on the role of CEO in March 2014. Prior to this he held a number of different roles at state level within the Australian Red Cross, over a period of 18 years. This included overseeing Business Development, Volunteer Development and Community Development.

Elias uses his expert knowledge of the transport sector together with innovative thinking and a real understanding of community needs to lead the organisation into its second century of operation.

Elias is particularly adept at strategic planning, identifying new opportunities and focusing on the big picture as Travellers Aid continues to experience significant growth in response to customer and service user needs in an ever changing marketplace.

Maria Groner, Operations Manager at Travellers Aid Australia

Maria joined Travellers Aid as the Emergency Relief Coordinator in 2007. She was the organisation’s Social Policy Advisor for two years before taking on the role of Operations Manager in 2013, a significant role during a time of rapid change within the organisation..

A social worker by training, Maria has more than 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, both in Australia and in her home country of Germany. Maria’s experience gained in frontline roles through to senior management positions have benefited from her deep commitment to social justice and her passion for improving the lives of those most disadvantaged in our society.

Maria is a conceptual thinker with strong analytical skills and a creative approach to problem solving that ensures Travellers Aids’ services are of the highest standard and delivered with dignity and respect.

Christie Roberts, Customer Experience & Strategic Business Design at Telstra

Christie helps teams at Telstra to think differently and is passionate about working with large teams through innovative approaches to challenges they may be facing, to identify the right strategies to improve the experiences for our customer.

Friedrich Oldershausen, Service Designer at Telstra

Friedrich works as Service Designer in Telstra’s Customer Experience team and is passionate about using design to bring people together to collaborate and develop bold ideas for a brighter future for local communities.

Janince Florence, Trudy Ryall and Ariane Garner-Williams from Disability Advisory Committee

Joe Manton, Director at Access Institute

Will McIntosh, Open Data Lead at Smart City Office, City of Melbourne

March 14th: Technology

Dr Shol Blustein, Co-founder of Impact Co

Shol is an innovative and outcomes driven leader in the health, disability and social sectors. Since commencing his career as a banking and finance lawyer, Shol has focused his career on delivering social impact through innovative activities.

Since leaving the law, Shol has worked as a management consultant during which time he supported disability, mental health and primary health organisations to navigate major social reforms (including the NDIS).

Prior to founding Impact Co., Shol held a senior executive position with the South Eastern Melbourne PHN where he led the service innovation directorate, which focused on reshaping primary healthcare services in the south east of Melbourne.

Robin Dick, Program Manager, Social Innovation at CQUniversity Australia

Robin has spent 20 years in the social innovation sector, working in both the UK and Australia. As a community master-planning and leisure consultant in the UK he worked with low-socioeconomic, disadvantaged and diverse communities to drive sustained outcomes in health, wellbeing, economic, service and infrastructure change, including the creation of social enterprises. His applied thematic work has focussed on the areas of homelessness, dementia care and ageing, young people’s services, human centred design, health (including mental health), physical activity pathways, wellbeing, and PPPs (public private partnerships – Government and Commercial). Since arriving in Australia in 2006, Robin has continued to apply his work in the social innovation/impact consultancy, education and not-for-profit sectors. In this time he has: co-founded the RMIT SEEDS program (RMIT University), Australia’s first pan-university social entrepreneurship program for students; has mentored, and provided action learning facilitation for the School for Social Entrepreneurs; and, advised numerous social enterprise founders and boards. He is currently a Board member of Queensland Social Enterprise Council. Robin is Program Manager Social Innovation at CQUniversity where he works within a small team to embed social innovation principles, practice and philosophy across its curricular, extracurricular and community engagement activities.

Martin Whittle, Wayfinding Signage Coordinator, Business and Tourism Melbourne

With a Industrial Design / Graphic Design background, Martin leads the pedestrian wayfinding program for the City of Melbourne. Focused on human centred design, accessibility needs and imbedded technologies, Martin brings his knowledge of designing complex systems to the Open Innovation Competition participants.

Peter Binstead, Application Services Manager, Public Transport Victoria

Peter holds a Masters in Business and Information Technology and a Bachelor of Computing. He has been working in Technology for over 20 years, both locally and internationally, in a wide range of fields and enterprises including, Technology Start-ups, Agriculture and Government.. Peter is a great believer in Open Data and the benefits it can bring to the community. He is current responsible for the technology that delivers PTV's Open Data platform and our mobile Apps (used by 1.3 million Victorians).

Brendan Myers, Senior IoT Software Engineer, Telstra Chief Technology Office

Thanh Nguyen, Senior Software Developer, Innovation Accelerator, Telstra Labs

Will McIntosh, Open Data Lead at Smart City Office, City of Melbourne

Chris Wandishin, Sr Manager Applied Intelligence, Accenture

Ed Blake, Interaction and Experience Designer, Accenture

March 21st: Business model and feasibility

Ming Low, Co-founder of Impact Co

Ming is an analytical and driven individual who is passionate about supporting not-for-profit organisations to deliver better outcomes to their consumers and assisting them to improve their financial viability. He seeks to leverage his experience in management consulting, finance and engineering to benefit the organisations/individuals that work with Impact Co..

Before founding Impact Co., Ming worked at a management consulting firm that specialised in providing strategic and operational support to organisations that operate in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to that, Ming worked as a Geotechnical Engineer for a large engineering consulting firm.

Krysia Birman, Senior Practitioner - Disability, Office of Professional Practice, Department of Health & Human Services

Krysia Birman thinks about how to use less words to say more. She writes for government, with experience in disability, housing and other services that effect all Victorians. She works for the Senior Practitioner - Disability where she developed the RISET - an on-line learning tool for the Disability sector. She participated in the Commonpurpose forum in late 2017 and is eager to learn and share ideas about how cultural intelligence can improve service delivery.

Professor Carolyn Unsworth, discipline lead and professor of Occupational Therapy at CQUniversity Australia

Carolyn’s research and teaching focuses primarily on enabling people with age-related health declines or disabilities to access the community through driving a car or using powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Her research activities include determining fitness-to-drive capacity as well as the most effective rehabilitation interventions for people wishing to resume driving after accident or injury, and improving access for people using powered mobility devices on public transport and ensuring people have the skills to drive powered mobility devices safely. Over the past 25 years she has mentored or supervised over 40 research students, held academic appointments in the USA at Tufts University, UK at London South Bank University and Sweden at Jonkoping University. She has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters, as well as a three internationally used assessments on: fitness-to-drive (OT-DORA Battery); powered mobility device assessment and training (the PoMoDATT); and measuring people’s health outcomes (AusTOMs-OT In 2017, Carolyn was made an inaugural Fellow of the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy in recognition of her contribution to occupational therapy research in Australia. In the same year, she received the Central Queensland University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.

Leigh Wittaker, Business Designer, Accenture

Lucy Sundberg, Senior Business Designer & Strategist, Accenture

Rita Arrigo, Chief Digital Advisor, Microsoft

Kenny Johar, Singh Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft

Share with friends


Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

251 Faraday Street

Art Room

Carlton, VIC 3053


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved