Current and potential contributions by Samford Commons to the Regional Innovation Program: The Innovation Ecosystem Lifecycle

This is a preliminary document to review the contribution Samford Commons may make to a Regional Innovation Program in the Moreton Bay Region.  The review is based on the 5 components of the Ecosystem Lifecycle model described by Advance Queensland which invites assessment of proponents as either Early Stage, Mid stage or Established

Component 1: Places and spaces – rated within elements of Mid-stage and Established

 Stage elements  Samford Commons current action and capacity
Configuration of operators and facilities Current facilities include 3 buildings (180sqm) and farm space (8000sqm).

Space expected to be leased in 2017 is another 500sqm for Sustainable Business Co-working network at The Fulcrum, CoLab, Maker Space and a learning space for start-ups.

3 operators currently on site with 5 more expected in 2017.

Frequent events and meetups.


Co-working space and network One privately operated co-working space (The Fulcrum) is in design and refurbish stage to begin in 2017-18.  Focussing on a network of collaborating businesses built since 2015 in partnership with RDA Moreton Bay and the Samford Chamber of Commerce.

Preliminary scoping, surveying and co-creation workshops were co-funded by RDA Moreton Bay and Samford Commons and were conducted from mid-2015 with over 40 businesses engaging. Expected 10 businesses fulltime in the first wave of a Sustainable Business Precinct on location and up to 10 part time.

Signed partnership with Samford Chamber of Commerce to operate the space.

Business plan for The Fulcrum was facilitated by a business planning expert sponsored by the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Samford Commons.


Links with universities and businesses Samford Commons is currently working with four universities:

UQ re 2 projects: establishment of an Integrated Trails Network;  collaborations on a sustainability innovation program;

QUT re 2 projects: Agile Learning project to design creative learning spaces, collaboration spaces and maker spaces; SC has conducted a roundtable workshop with government officers from the Maldives, organised by QUT;

Griffith UNI re Community Internship program which has focussed on innovative sustainable people movement strategies. SC has hosted 2 workshops with selected gifted Korean university students organised by Griffith; and,

Also in early stage conversation re a possible pop-up university presence to complement the Petrie campus of USC.

Site visits from USQ professorial staff re potential links re business development and agriculture.

Businesses signed to hold significant space for business operations from 2017, two of them start ups.

Co-working space for up to 30 businesses from 2017.

Signed partnerships with 18 businesses from the for-profit and community sectors.

The Australian Backyard Innovator of the Year and Moreton Bay Innovator of the Year, Trevor Powell from Impacts, is a Founding Member of SC and the SC GM has provided business advisory and business development support to Impacts.


Public support and program funding Most participating businesses will be privately funded with the possibility of 2-3 government agencies also participating.

MBRC is providing financial support for building refurbishment and other infrastructure.


Component 2:  Connectivity – rated within elements of Mid-stage and Established

 Stage elements  Samford Commons current action and capacity
Connection of participants, joint projects and identity Samford Commons is a 2 year old start  up with participants connected through a mix of innovative approaches to sustainability through an Urban Farm, School of Sustainability, Performing Arts Precinct, Wellbeing Festivals, Maker Festival, Food Markets Precinct, Research and Development Projects, Commons Classroom for local schools, Samford Community Library and other developing concepts including a Renewable Energy Showcase, Innovations Hub, Well Being Precinct, The Fulcrum Co-working Hub, Conferencing Facility, and  planned Accommodation and Catering Centre.

Samford Commons and its original consultative building block, Samford Futures,  have been the focus of university research and presentations at international conferences due to the innovative approach to collaboration, building partnerships and capacity to deliver collaborative projects.

Seven Samford Commons working parties and partnering businesses work collaboratively to deliver the innovative vision of Samford Commons.

The Samford Commons brand has been established in the community sector, business sector, government sector and education.

Connection with universities, business networks and community organisations is strong, as per Component 1 above.


Platform of communication to encourage new participation Online connections enable easy cross communication with common drives accessible.

Face to face connections are effected through a Precinct Co-ordination Group and monthly meetups of all parties.

Samford Commons facebook site and website enable strong communications.

An online project is being established to connect start-up businesses or business ideas to be supported, educated, trained, coached and mentored by experienced business people and professionals.



Component 3:  Collaboration – rated within elements of Mid-stage and Established

 Stage elements  Samford Commons current action and capacity
Regularity of collaborative events Samford Commons was conceived from a very significant community engagement process and operates as a community-owned, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, Samford Commons Ltd., located at the site of the former CSIRO Research Station.  It was recognised by the Queensland Government as a social enterprise worthy of profiling at the selective Social Enterprise Procurement Forum in 2016 and participated in the recent Myriad Innovation and Start-up Summit.

A recent roundtable event was led by a leading researcher from Y Combinator Research visiting from San Francisco who worked with 12 key start-up partners and collaborators at Samford Commons.


Industry-led research Joint projects with Qld University re sustainability of Samford Commons and the establishment of an Integrated Trails Network as an educational and visitor offer.

FliteOptix is conducting tests at SC with drone and camera technology.


Public-private co-investment in assets and infrastructure Investment by MBRC in the provision of buildings, farmland, building refurbishment, internal roads and parking (Approx value of $4m).

Investment by Skilling Qld in the training of construction trainees and the refurbishment of built infrastructure at SC ($ 800k).

Preliminary agreement to construct a 30kWh solar farm on the site.

Public investment emerging  in physical resources to enhance the program.

Joint projects driving regional development Partnering with Marist 180 re the Skilling Qld construction project.

Preliminary agreement with MBRIT regarding various tourism projects and innovation projects, including a Maker Festival.

Establishment of The Fulcrum Co-working space and business network.


Component 4:  Leadership – rated within elements of Mid-stage and Established

 Stage elements  Samford Commons current action and capacity
Leadership hosting engagement with RDA’s, Chambers and NGO’s Distributed leadership model adopted within SC.

Hosted an Innovation and Start-up Roundtable led by expert researcher from Y Combinator Research, San Francisco.

Partnership with the Samford Chamber of Commerce to establish and manage The Fulcrum Co-working space and sustainable business network.

Partnership with RDA Moreton Bay to establish business partnerships.

Established formal, signed partnership agreements with organisations including: Creative Samford, KYC Inc, Substation 33, Millen Farm Ltd, Samford Support Network, Samford Tennis Club, MBRIT, Samford Primary School, Samford Chamber of Commerce, STEM Punks, Unqualified Design Studio, Kids Community Collect.

Expert thought leadership The current leadership group of SC conducted an extensive Samford Futures community consultation process during 2011-2013. It uncovered a very significant energy and need for innovative activities, events, goods and services in the areas of urban agriculture, creative arts, small business development, environmental activities, community education, tourism, sustainability and visitor accommodation.  The consultation process confirmed the view that Samford Valley is a ‘green lung’ for Brisbane and South East Queensland.

The MBRC has an identified plan to build a ‘liveability’ brand and to not only retain people in the region but to attract visitors. The MBRC plan invites communities to be proactive in adding value to their community and creating a more attractive, region. Samford Commons is filling a need in the Samford Valley and nearby districts for facilities serving art, agriculture, business networks, education (ESTEAM curriculum), innovation and the environment.

At least 45 goals of the State Government are met by Samford Commons.  This includes a focus on the economy, education, workplaces, environment, health, communities, arts, innovation, industry, science, agriculture and sustainability.

Samford Commons has access to highly regarded professionals who provide excellent pro-bono services in the areas of architecture, engineering, technology, construction, project management, community engagement, marketing, communications, governance, risk management, event management, social media strategy, planning and related fields. Many of these professionals have delivered large local and national projects with budgets exceeding $1b.

A senior economic advisor from Williams Hall Chadwick has provided advice to Samford Commons since inception and this will continue.  He is providing ongoing practical work with the regular review of the 10 Year Economic Plan.

Senior architects from Guymer and Bailey Architects and Sulinski Booth Architects are providing expert design and planning services

Members of the Samford Commons Board have current and previous experience as CEO’s of successful companies, organisations and community-owned enterprises. Advisors to the board have successful experience as leaders of start-up companies/ organisations, including tech start-ups and community start-ups.


Co-ordination and collaborative distribution of resources Major networking activities with significant local and regional businesses and organisations to utilise resources in a sustainable way.

Major projects re food, energy, community service, electronic waste are in process.


Networking of entrepreneurs Working with 6 start-up businesses or organisations to develop their business

Conduct a Roundtable with local entrepreneurs on innovation and start-ups

Monthly Long Table Dinners with our partner Edgeware have started


Component 5:  Communities of Practice – rated within elements of Mid-stage and Established

 Stage elements  Samford Commons current action and capacity
Self organising communities of practice SC Leadership team led the design, facilitation and reporting of the 3 year Samford Futures process which resulted in a Futures Plan to ‘make the future, not wait for it’, including the establishment of Samford Commons.

Ongoing engagement over 5 years so far of a significant number of community members who have established new community-owned enterprises – Samford Commons Ltd., Millen Farm Ltd., Creative Samford Inc., Samford Community Library and Samford Commons School of Sustainability.

Successful advocacy to local government to acquire the Samford Commons precinct and to gain funding to refurbish and operationalise the precinct.

Engage with and gain the confidence of  community organisations and businesses which have signed partnership agreements that delineate significant contributions to the achievement of the Samford Commons vision.

Establish significant new entities and activities that are contributing to the community and state – including Samford Commons School of Sustainability, Samford Commons Community Library, Millen Farm and Samford Commons-STEM Punks.

Conducting continuous professional development and training events for the SC community


Diverse specialist communities Maker Festival

Innovative R&D spaces.

Virtual Trails and Gamified Trails.

Start-up business hub with ESTEAM focus.

School of Sustainability focus on ESTEAM,  coding, robotics, environment, energy, food and associated curriculum.


Presence within and outside of the region Part of the MBRC and RDA Moreton Bay networks.

Signed partnerships and MOUs with local, regional and wider- reaching agencies (eg. Creative Samford, Chamber of Commerce, MBRIT, Substation 33, Samford Support Network, District school networks).

Working relationships with local and regional organisations (eg. Marist 180, University of Qld, Griffith Uni, QUT, FliteOptix, MBRIT)

Links with leading environmental education centres.

UN Global Compact Cities and Regional Programme has SC listed as a potential future major project, subject to MBRC engagement.


Capability development shared with specialists Ongoing work and developmental activity with 33 local, regional, statewide, national and international groups – including the United Nations Global Compact Cities Program, various universities, various consulting companies, government agencies and community groups.



Revised July 2017

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons