The Ideas Exchange goes virtual

It has been a challenging year, to say the least! ICDP is very fortunate that it can bring more than 110 members from eight countries of the Pacific Connect Community together tomorrow to reflect and continue to share knowledge at the annual Pacific Connect Ideas Exchange. This flagship event in the program’s calendar will continue ICDP’s successful ‘hybrid’ engagement model, where Australian Community members virtually join their Islander counterparts based in six networking hubs. The Ideas Exchange Hubs have been established in Honiara, Lae, Nuku’alofa, Port Moresby, and Suva.

The Ideas Exchange is more than just a day-long online dialogue, with participants engaging with established business, academic and government professionals in one-on-one online mentor sessions throughout the week. The program’s emerging leaders have been given access to interviews with ICDP’s thought leaders to stimulate discussion and provoke knowledge sharing. To build on existing networks and projects developed throughout everyone’s journey with Pacific Connect, more than 130 active members of the Community are interacting on our event-specific engagement platform.

The formal component of the Ideas Exchange begins 9.00am tomorrow and will be facilitated by Pauline Benson, Founder of Pacific Finds; Michael Pilbrow, Founder and Partner, Strategic Development Group; and Kenneth Katafono, Pacific Partnerships Manager at ICDP and Founder of TraSeable Solutions.

The interactive and friendly talanoa will see virtual participants ‘transported’ to the Pacific hubs to showcase projects, pitch ideas and broaden networks. Our hubs, hosting more than 70 Community members, are led by our tremendous Hub Coordinators:

  • Brian Mangi (Network Administrator, Solomon Islands National University) – Honiara
  • Kenneth Katafono – Suva
  • Julliane Terry (Managing Director, Tok Stret Consulting) – Lae
  • Selu Kauvaka (Senior Systems Engineer, MEIDECC) – Nuku’alofa
  • Winy Marango (Team Leader Pacific Girl – CARE International) – Port Vila
  • Zha Agabe-Granfar, Meriba Igara & Vivienne Boloti (VERGE) – Port Moresby

Pacific hubs will have the opportunity to share their projects and new ideas in customised Breakout Room sessions, during which participants will be able to focus on their ‘Ask & Offer’, a unique Pacific Connect approach to Second Track diplomacy whereby everyone can gain valuable knowledge and assistance on their initiatives and also offer their networks, advice or know-how in return. Some of the projects that have flourished under Pacific Connect include:

  • Shifting Homes (a Virtual Reality experience that brings a Samoan village to life);
  • Pacific Finds (an eCommerce platform specifically designed for Pacific MSMEs);
  • Mobile Me (an initiative that uses technology to empower persons with disabilities in Fiji);
  • Less than Container – LCL (providing innovative container export solutions to the Solomon Islands);
  • Digital Agriculture Farmer Portal (a technology solution to improve economic development in rural PNG and smallholder farmer efficiency); and
  • Tugeda (a technology initiative connecting Solomon Islanders with education and training opportunities).

During the networking lunch, participants will have the opportunity to view a demonstration of Shifting Homes, with Australian Community member Daniel Stricker and his team kindly providing everyone with a sneak peak of the visual representations and story.

Despite the different format, the traditional Ideas Exchange formalities will be observed. We are privileged to have the Honourable John Ajaka MLC, President of the NSW Legislative Council, join us again to present the Welcome Address in lieu of our normal event location – New South Wales Parliament House.

The Honourable Christopher Pyne, Director of ICDP and former Australian Defence Minister responsible for the Pacific Step-Up (of which Pacific Connect is one pillar), will present the Keynote Address. Christopher’s address will take note of the unique and changing strategic environment that is the Pacific, and how we can connect and share ideas in a post-Covid world.

Dr Ian Watt AC, Chair of ICDP, will present a ‘Year in Review’ of the Community’s achievements.

Whilst we are not together as one ‘family’ this year, we are so looking forward to seeing established members of the Community once again for our flagship talanoa, be it online or in hubs!

ICDP will be providing live updates of proceedings, you can follow along and take part in the discussion using #PacificConnect and #DigitalPacific.