On 28 May, 50 committed and passionate Melburnians came together on a cold and wet Saturday for their first of three days exploring the city’s future. The group – our citizens jury – brought an optimism and energy that sustained them through the day, and a healthy curiosity for their role in the process.

The Deputy Lord Mayor Cr Susan Riley warmly welcomed the group to the city. She told the jury of the important role Future Melbourne has served for Council as it has shaped its strategic agenda over the past eight years. She encouraged the jury to think boldly in their refresh of the plan.

It was my pleasure to welcome the jury on behalf of the Ambassadors. I explained our role, our passion for this initiative and how we would work in partnership with the jury to produce Future Melbourne 2026.

Dr George Quezada, an Innovation Scientist at CSIRO Data61, presented to the jury on the megatrends that will shape our future. He described how global trends in society, technology and nature are playing out regionally, nationally and locally. His presentation served to highlight how different our world will be in a decade and how and where our collective choices now could determine the outcomes.

After lunch, the jury formed small groups to engage in a ‘speed dialogue’ of ten minutes with those Ambassadors attending, the City of Melbourne’s CEO Ben Rimmer and Director of City Strategy and Place, Kate Vinot and Dr. George Quezada. This was a fascinating series of conversations.

The jury concluded the day by collectively producing options for a refreshed Future Melbourne vision. This was their first joint working task and they quickly found their way to work constructively and creatively together. In closing, the jury nominated the expert speakers they would like to brief them at the opening of the second jury day.

This first jury day was a great success, with thoughtful questions, engaged participants and a keen willingness for the task. This sets a strong foundation for the jury’s work over the coming days, in both its process and outcomes.

On behalf of all of the Ambassadors, we look forward to the jury’s next day of deliberations on 4 June.

Professor Davis is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Australian National University. He undertook postgraduate appointments as a Harkness Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, the Brookings Institution in Washington and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He publishes on public policy and is co-author of The Australian Policy Handbook, now in its fifth edition.