Digital Innovation Challenges are open competitions supporting innovation and collaboration. They help test digital solutions that tackle important city challenges.

Fishermans Bend is Australia’s largest urban renewal project covering approximately 480 hectares in the heart of Melbourne. By 2050 it will be a buzzing precinct, home to approximately 80,000 residents with around 80,000 workers. This urban renewal project provides an exciting opportunity to collaboratively explore how we can harness data and emerging technologies to enable our city spaces to thrive now and in the future.

Following the success of the 2022 Challenge, and resulting Remix Raingardens pilot, we are inviting all eligible entrepreneurs, community groups, social enterprises, universities, researchers, start-ups, scale-ups and established organisations to submit their brave and brilliant ideas ready for piloting in Melbourne’s oldest innovation precinct.

Follow this page to stay up to date on the challenge or read more below to participate.

Illustration by Mari Adams, Calamari Pictures.

A Regenerative City

Our theme for 2024 is A Regenerative City and we invite you to propose ideas responding to the following challenge statement:

How might technology and data enable city spaces to be more resource efficient, circular, resilient and healthy?

The final vote will be determined by a panel of judges and community and the winning idea will receive $90,000 to be developed and piloted in Fishermans Bend in 2025.

Digital Innovation Challenge 2024 submission form

Submit your entry by 12.00 pm, midday, on June 13 2024

Challenge details

This section contains all you need to know to participate in the challenge. Explore the sections below before submitting your idea.

We’re looking for transformative and transferable ideas that respond to the challenge statement. The Challenge will generate important innovations across a variety of themes that are globally relevant. This year’s Challenge theme is A Regenerative City, and covers the circular economy, renewables, climate change, city resilience, urban design and health and wellbeing.

The City of Melbourne is the seventh fastest growing municipality in Australia and the fastest growing capital city council in percentage terms. The municipality is forecast to be home to 308,000 residents and 659,000 workers by 2041. This means it will add 155,000 residents and 228,000 workers in the next 17 years. Fishermans Bend, Australia’s largest urban renewal area, will play a significant role in supporting this growth.

Some of our challenges


Waste

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, society is producing more waste than ever before.

“Governments across Australia and around the world have recognised the difficulties of current consumption patterns, and among other policy responses, have either adopted ambitious targets for reducing waste to landfill or adopted “zero” waste policies.”

City of Melbourne’s Waste and Recovery Strategy sets our goal at 90% diversion of waste from landfill by 2030. It sets out key strategies to deliver, govern and influence others to drive collaborative action towards a circular economy that benefits people and ecosystems.

Climate Change

Our city is experiencing more hot days than ever. We currently average 11 days a year at 35 degrees or more and expect this to rise to 16 days a year by 2050.

In 2017, City of Melbourne refreshed its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. It outlines the City’s efforts to reduce the impacts from extreme heat and heatwaves, drought, flooding and sea level rise, and extreme storms.

In 2018, City of Melbourne worked with climate change experts and the community to develop a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to 2050. The strategy is a major commitment to action that aims to reduce the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality and include investment in renewable energy, urban forests, green buildings, waste innovation and better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

In 2019, City of Melbourne declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, and joined more than 1400 jurisdictions across 27 countries to form a local and international movement recognising climate change as a serious risk to the people of Melbourne and Australia.

City of Melbourne’s Municipal Integrated Water Management Plan sets on water management across the municipality. It guides the City’s effort, thinking and investment for reducing our reliance on potable water, improving the quality of stormwater entering our waterways and managing the impacts of flood.

Transportation

Currently more than 900,000 people – residents, workers and visitors – come into and move within the municipality every day. This makes our municipality unique and our transport challenges complex.

Our 2030 Transport Strategy sets out how we’ll move towards a Connected City, where all people and goods can move to, from and within the city efficiently.

As our cities grow, we need to be more adaptable and circular, harnessing resources like waste, water and wind to drive healthy systems that can sustain people, ecosystem and more importantly remain livable for future generations.

Dive into City of Melbourne data to inspire solutions and develop your idea.

Digital Innovation Challenges are designed to help us think about the future. The term ‘regenerative’ is used across a variety of industries including farming and agriculture, design, economy, tourism and more.

In this challenge we are using this term to stimulate ideas that are productive and nourishing, that consider people, the planet and the systems and processes that connect us. We hope to support the growth of ideas that harness resources to drive towards a thriving city, contributing to a healthy planet.

We encourage you to apply your own interpretations.

To start your exploration, you can visit these websites: Regen Melbourne, The Regenerators, The Really Regenerative Centre, The Regenerative Community on Conectle.

A variety of prizes are up for grabs.

A panel of judges will determine the top three finalists. Each finalist will receive:

  • $3000 cash to develop their idea further, creating a Scope of Works, detailed budget and timeline
  • 1:1 mentoring from education and training experts 25eight to prepare their pitch for a public Pitch Night in August.

Following the Pitch Night and community votes, one idea will be announced as the winner, receiving $90,000 and partner with City of Melbourne to bring the idea to life in Fishermans Bend in 2025.

All applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the resources designed to support innovation and drive great submissions. A variety of in-person and online events, mentoring, training and information are provided free of charge.

See our events listings below for dates and registration details.

You can also reach out to smart.cities@melbourne.vic.gov.au for any further questions.

  • Information session + mixer: an online session on 24 April to share information and answer any questions. Attendees will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to each other and share ideas or partnership opportunities. This event was on 24 April. Watch the recording.
  • Mentoring: one-on-one 30 minute online sessions with a range of City of Melbourne subject-matter experts will be made available to everyone in May. Explore mentors and book a session.
  • Pitch training program: innovation training experts, 25eight, will deliver training on 7 and 21 May to help you make an impactful submission. Pitch Training 1 is designed to help you articulate the problem and use data to validate your idea. Pitch Training 2 is designed to help you communicate clearly via what you submit.
  • Open Data drop-in days: in-person events at City DNA space in Melbourne Town Hall to dive into City of Melbourne data. Book now to get support from our data experts to bolster your submission.
  • Open Data and resources: explore our data and resources to shape your idea and strengthen your submission.

How we determine the top three finalists:

  • Your idea will be assessed by a judging panel against the below ten criteria.
  • The submission form requires you to respond to each criteria. You can preview the form before submitting.
  • The judging panel is comprised of representatives from the City of Melbourne, the Department of Transport and Planning and some Smart City experts across other councils and local industry.

How we determine the winner:

  • Pitch Night will be a public event and exhibition. Three finalists will share their developed proposals in a short pitch. The recordings will be shared online for two weeks voting period.
  • The below criteria will be used by a panel of expert judges to assess pitches on Pitch Night along with a score for the quality and delivery of the pitch to make up 50 per cent of the score.
  • Community vote will make up the other 50 per cent of the score.

The winning idea will be announced two weeks after Pitch Night to ensure an accessible voting process for community and industry.

We will look favourably on submissions that include two or more organisations or groups.

Criteria:

  1. Smart City approach - 15 per cent
    The extent to which your solution leverages emerging technologies and data, how these are embedded in your solution, rather than as an add on.
  2. Solution to the challenge - 15 per cent
    The extent to which your submission addresses the challenge theme and statement, harnessing resources to drive a more circular, healthy and efficient city, backed up by data.
  3. Innovation - 10 per cent
    The extent to which your submission is unique or adds value to existing solutions through innovation.
  4. Feasibility to pilot - 10 per cent
    The extent to which your submission demonstrates how the idea will be possible to bring to life as a pilot in 2025 with a $90k investment.
  5. Transparency and privacy - 10 per cent
    The extent to which your submission presents an ethical and considered approach to data and technology that prioritises community needs and interests.
  6. Impact - 10 per cent
    The extent to which your submission demonstrates the potential to effect change related to the challenge statement, with predictions of impact based on data and research.
  7. Scalability - 10 per cent
    The extent to which the submission demonstrates how the idea can scale across other neighbourhoods, cities, countries and continue to adapt and thrive into the future.
  8. Social value - 10 per cent
    The extent to which your submission considers the people and community, now and in the future, and demonstrates desirability through either user-testing or market research.
  9. Universal access - 5 per cent
    The extent to which the idea demonstrates universal accessibility (considering ability, location, education, finances, languages spoken, gender, sexuality, religion, age etc.).
  10. UN Sustainable Development Goals - 5 per cent
    The extent to which your submission demonstrates consideration of the SDGs and City of Melbourne’s targets in your response, particularly Goal 12 Sustainable Production and Consumption, Goal 7 Clean Energy and Goal 13 Climate Action.
  1. Explore and participate in the challenge resources to generate ideas and build your submission.
  2. Use the criteria to guide the development of your submission.
  3. Submit all the information before 12.00pm on 13 June 2024 via the entry form.

Submission into the competition is subject to participant’s acceptance of the competition’s Terms and Conditions.

Watch pitches and explore the finalists and winner from 2022 to get inspired.

Remix Raingardens was the winning pilot for the 2022 challenge. Hear from pilot lead Amira Moshinsky on Launch Night.

Launch night

Latest News

Timeline

  • Timeline item 1 - active

    Challenge officially open and Launch Night

    Thursday 18 April 5.30pm to 7.15pm

  • Timeline item 2 - incomplete

    Challenge information session and mixer

    Wednesday 24 April 12.00pm to 1.00pm

  • Timeline item 3 - incomplete

    Pitch training program

    Tuesday 7 and 21 May, 5.30 to 7pm

  • Timeline item 4 - incomplete

    Open Data drop-in days

    Dates to be announced 18 April

  • Timeline item 5 - incomplete

    1:1 mentoring

    13 to 31 May 2024, various times

  • Timeline item 6 - incomplete

    Challenge closed

    Thursday 13 June, 12.00pm (midday)

  • Timeline item 7 - incomplete

    Finalists notified

    Wednesday 10 July

  • Timeline item 8 - incomplete

    Finalists develop pitch

    Wednesday 10 July to Wednesday 7 August (4 weeks)

  • Timeline item 9 - incomplete

    Three finalists announced

    Thursday 18 July

  • Timeline item 10 - incomplete

    Pitch night and voting open

    Thursday 8 August 7pm

  • Timeline item 11 - incomplete

    Voting period

    Thursday 8 August to Thursday 22 August (2 weeks)

  • Timeline item 12 - incomplete

    ​Announcement of successful pilot

    early September

  • Timeline item 13 - incomplete

    ​Winning pilot developed

    from September 2024

  • Timeline item 14 - incomplete

    Winning pilot live in Fishermans Bend

    2025

Events


Contact Us

Please submit any additional questions via email and we’ll add the question and answer to our Frequently Asked Question list.

Email smartcities@melbourne.vic.gov.au

Partners