Watch the Open Innovation Competition 2021 launch event.
This year, the theme for the Open Innovation Competition is ‘city reactivation and recovery’ in a post COVID-19 world.
The Open Innovation Competition 2021 is focused on reinvigorating and reimagining Melbourne through creative, innovative and technology-enabled solutions.
How might we bring vibrancy back into the city post COVID-19 by reimagining the way we live, connect, work and play in our city while enhancing the social, cultural, environmental and economic vitality of Melbourne?
This year’s Open Innovation Competition is motivated by The City of Melbourne’s COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan: City of the future.
Melbourne prides itself on being a dynamic city constantly seeking innovative ways to anticipate and meet the changing needs of the community, the economy and the environment. Before COVID-19, the City of Melbourne experienced nearly one million people living, working, studying and visiting the central city district every day. It also had Australia’s fastest growing night time economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the most significant public health and economic challenges Melbourne has faced in over a century. The full extent of these impacts are unknown and will depend on behaviour changes –both temporary and permanent– that arise from our experience with the virus. In addition, the pandemic has created opportunities to reconsider assumptions about the way things are done and to reimagine and explore innovative alternatives.
In September 2020, the City of the Future Task Force developed Melbourne’s Recovery and Reactivation Plan. The plan connects our immediate response to the crisis with our city’s longer term regeneration and acts as a guide to achieving our future aspirations.
With this context in mind, we invite innovators, entrepreneurs, students and community members to submit their bright ideas to solve this year’s challenge.
We are looking for submissions that:
We are looking for proactive solutions that:
We want the ideas generated by this competition to be scalable, the impacts and challenges created by COVID-19 are not unique to Melbourne, so nor should the solutions be. The City of Melbourne has had a long-standing role in reinforcing Melbourne’s reputation as a global city and leveraging our international partnerships to learn and share international best practice. A key action in our Startup Action Plan is to help more startups and entrepreneurs to ‘start, grow and go global’, including improving access to international connections particularly in Asia.
For this reason, we’ve partnered internationally, with simultaneous competitions being run by Bandung City Government and The Greater Hub at Institute of Technology Bandung in Indonesia, and RMIT Activator at their Ho Chi Minh City campus in Vietnam.
To encourage participants to think about how their solutions could be adapted and applied to different cities, a number of international prizes will be awarded, providing the opportunity to test solutions in another market.
How might we rethink how we use and activate spaces and places through creative, innovative and technology-enabled solutions?
How might we reimagine the way we work, study, connect, network and collaborate through creative, innovative and technology-enabled solutions?
How might we support hard-hit industry sectors to recover and adapt into the future in an innovative, creative and sustainable way?
How might we support the diversification of our city through new economies and future industries that encourage sustainable equitable economic growth?
Virtual launch event
22 March 2021
Participant Support Sessions
Available through online Q&A and virtual 1:1 sessions with a range of mentors and experts.
22 March to 30 April 2021
Melbourne Knowledge Week
Rapid Open Innovation Sprint with RMIT Activator
26 April to 30 April 2021
5PM 2 May 2021
Early June 2021
City of Melbourne Open Datasets
City of Melbourne Reactivation and Recovery Roadmap
City of Melbourne Facts and Figures
City of Melbourne Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE)
ABS Data: Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia
LaunchVic Startup Ecosystem Map
PWC Report - Economic impacts of COVID-19 on the City of Melbourne
PWC - Changing Places: how hybrid working is reinventing the Australian CBD
ARUP - Making Place: The recalibration of Work, Life and Place
Roy Morgan report on return to the workplace
JLL - Innovation Geographies 2019
JLL - City Momentum Index 2020
JLL Research - Melbourne Re-emerges - Property themes to look out for in 2021
Victorian COVID-19 status for Australian Local Government Area
Department of Health Visitation API (QR code API - check-in based solutions for venues)
All Victorian SARS-CoV-2 cases by acquired source
All Victorian SARS-CoV-2 cases by age group
All Victorian SARS-CoV-2 cases by local government area, postcode and acquired source
All Victorian SARS-CoV-2 cases by local government area
Vicmap Transport - Bicycle Paths
Vicmap Transport Scale: Various
Environment Monitoring API from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
Public Open Space - 400m Walkable Catchment
Precinct Structure Plan Boundaries
Future Urban Structure Land Use
On-Track Survey: yearly survey that tracks the transition of school leavers (i.e. attend university, trade, unemployed etc)
Access to Mentors and Experts
We would like to help you help us. Since this competition requires a good understanding of the stakeholders' concerns and experiences, we have arranged access to virtual 1:1 sessions with a range of mentors and experts for anyone considering entering the competition.
These sessions are designed to assist your understanding of the issues and considerations before completing your submission. You can check out the available mentors and experts then request a time to connect for a 1:1 video or phone call session. You can also submit a question via the public Q&A tool on this platform.
Rapid Open Innovation Sprint at Melbourne Knowledge Week 2021
Tuesday 27 April - Friday 30 April 2021.
Transform your idea into a prototype ready for submission to the City of Melbourne’s Open Innovation Competition.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or have an existing prototype, this four-day program will give you tools, frameworks and insights from a range of experts to help transform your idea into a viable solution. Choose to attend any or all of the daily masterclasses and panel discussions, and present your prototype to a panel of judges from RMIT, RMIT Activator and City of Melbourne at the final pitch event.
Overarching four-day structure:
Find out more and grab a ticket here.
Free Pitch Training
This year we are offering free pitch training to all applicants via our partners at Marketing Entourage. This online training course will help participants define their purpose, market position, target audience, brand and develop the perfect pitch.
Additionally, free in-depth one-on-one pitch training will be offered to the finalists chosen to pitch at the final showcase event. The date and format of the pitch training will be confirmed and communicated as finalists are announced.
This year the competition has three separate submission streams. You must submit your solution into the stream which corresponds to the stage of development of your idea. This will ensure your solution is judged against others at a similar stage of development. Each solution category has a number of prizes on offer tailored to that development stage.
Stream 1 - Idea/prototype phase: an early concept or prototype has been developed but may not have been tested
Prizes on offer:
Stream 2 - Early viable product phase: a prototype exists and has been demonstrated 3+ times
Prizes on offer:
Stream 3 - Available on the market: a product is available for purchase and installation and might be an iteration or new application of an existing product
Prizes on offer:
See prizes tab below for more information on each.
Prizes will be awarded to the Open Innovation Competition winner/s and other top submissions. The prizes include:
A cash pool of no less than $30,000 to be divided among the top submissions.
MAP Velocity program
Two of the top submissions will receive admission into MAP's 2021 Velocity program, an early stage startup incubator run by the Melbourne Accelerator Program. The 15-week program comprises 10 workshops centred around customer discovery and market validation with specialised experiences for both for-profit and for-purpose entrepreneurs.
RMIT LaunchHUB program
Two of the top submissions will receive admission into RMIT Activator’s LaunchHUB program, a 12 week accelerator program which supports a cohort of dedicated founders on the journey to market launch.The program offers access to co-working space, coaching, professional advisory, workshops, access to student interns, and RMIT expert connections.
SBE Australia, Accelerating Women-led Business prize
Two of the top submissions will also receive subsidised admission into either SBE Australia's Explore or Evolve program, these are 8-week long accelerator programs which support a cohort of dedicated female founders on their startup journey. The SBE Explore program is designed to support women who have an idea they want to bring to life. The SBE Evolve program is designed to support women who have an MVP and are looking to give their business the best foundations from growth and future success.
City of Melbourne emerging technology testbed pilot opportunity
The City of Melbourne is looking for proactive solutions that bring life back into the city with the ability to deliver results within 12 months. Dependent on the detail of the submission, there is a maximum of $25,000 inc. GST available towards a pilot in collaboration with our Emerging Technology Testbed team. Find out more about the Emerging Technology Testbed here.
Startup Victoria Prize
We have a very special prize package courtesy of Startup Victoria. This package consists of a variety of business-related goodies for the winner to use to further develop and grow their startup. From credits and discounts, to mentoring sessions and workshops, this package has an overall value totalling more than $100,000.
Product Discovery WorkshopOne of the winners, selected by Mo Works, will undertake a Product Discovery Workshop. Mo Works will work with the product owner to define the scope of the product, provide defined users stories with function details of each feature, user flows for main functions, product development milestones and requirements to deliver the product. Mo Works will provide detailed technical documentation of the product that includes:
Fiverr is proud to partner with the City of Melbourne Open Innovation Competition to offer the winning team/teams a share of $10,000 to spend on Fiverr.com to supercharge their business.
On Fiverr, you can find a freelancer to do almost anything your business needs; from graphic design, to website building and from social media marketing to voiceover. With over 500 categories available on the site and freelancers ready to work on your project, Fiverr will help your business thrive and grow.
The top submissions may be offered mentorship and support from various partner organisations. The support may involve access to select resources and facilities of the partner organisations. Further details about this prize will be made available at the conclusion of the competition.
There will be a number of ‘International Prizes’ awarded across the three streams. Please note that only Melbourne-based teams are eligible for the international prizes category.
(1) Idea/Prototype Stream
A top submission will receive admission into 11th Space’s NCubation Business Launchpad Program run virtually out of both their Jakarta and Melbourne hubs (valid for 1 company with up to 2 participants - value is $12,000). The program is delivered online over 16 weeks in two phases - Ideation, followed by Planning & Execution. Enrollment in the program will also give the winner access to the 11th Space coworking space in Collins Street for the duration of the program (4 months). Please note that only Melbourne-based teams are eligible for this prize category.
(2) Early viable product stream
A top submission will receive 8 hours of dedicated, virtual mentoring with a Vietnam market expert selected from RMIT Vietnam’s alumni network. The mentor will be selected by RMIT Vietnam based on the winner’s solution and development stage. The mentoring will take place at mutually agreed times over a period of two months. Please note that only Melbourne-based teams are eligible for this prize category.
Between three to five of the top submissions will receive a total of 10 hours of dedicated, virtual mentoring with an Indonesian market expert selected from Innovation Factory's network as well as access to their Virtual Community. The mentor(s) will be selected by Innovation Factory Indonesia based on the winner’s solution and development stage. Please note that only Melbourne-based teams are eligible for this prize category.
(3) Available on the market stream
Three of the top submissions will receive admission to stage one of La Trobe University’s Global Markets Accelerator Program (GMAP). The program aims to boost startups understanding and accessing international markets. Stage one of the program consists of an 8-week online ‘feasibility study’ with an opportunity to gain access to the second stage, a 6-month accelerator including an international experience with one of four partners: imec.start (Belgium), T-Hub (India), Innovation Factory (Indonesia) or Singtel Innov8 (Singapore). Please note that only Melbourne-based teams are eligible for this prize category.
The judging panel includes representatives from the City of Melbourne and the competition’s partner organisations. The panel will evaluate submissions based on the following five criteria:
Innovation – the extent to which the submission is unique to, or adds value to, existing solutions.
Impact – the extent to which the submission demonstrates the potential to effect change.
Scalability – the extent to which the submission can scale, including the appeal it has to secure buy-in and/or a wide consumer base.
Technically and conceptually sound – the extent to which the submission addresses the brief. Namely, the concerns and needs of our community (city workers, visitors and residents) and/or how it is supported by data or other evidence.
Feasibility – the ease with which the submission can translate into a sustainable and cost effective operating model.
We're delighted to be working with a number of partners to deliver the Open Innovation Competition 2021. Find out who they are and more about them here.
Watch the Open Innovation Competition 2021 launch event.
Meet the finalists for the 2021 competition and watch the pitch showcase.
Meet the mentors and experts for the Open Innovation Competition 2021.
Read some of the ideas submitted to the Open Innovation Competition to reinvigorate and reimagine Melbourne through creative, innovative and technology-enabled solutions.