At the heart of Sydney’s Darling Harbour sits International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), the city’s new $1.5 billion integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct. From the beginning of the development process, ICC Sydney exhibited a fresh and innovative approach to the way the centre would connect with its surrounding communities. Director of Communications, Samantha Glass speaks about the power of connections and how the approach they take at ICC Sydney can create the ideal platform for collaboration and innovation.
“In everything that we do, we know it’s the connections that we have with the precinct around us, our universities, business, and think tanks, that will ensure that innovation occurs.”
The convention centre is seen as a space that can support innovation and the development of ideas for both attendees and also the wider economy, as CEO, Geoff Donaghy explains, “our venue, our facility, becomes the nexus and the connector between the visitor economy and all the economic contribution that it provides with the knowledge economy.
The innovative design of the venue looks to welcome and integrate itself with the surrounding community and is described by Samantha as, “the first of its kind, certainly in our industry globally, where an integrated model of conventions, exhibitions and entertainment in a downtown precinct is able to welcome the local community via design that showcases what’s happening within the venue, while allowing visitors to truly feel they’re in the heart of Sydney.”
The location of the venue also plays an important role in the creation of strong relationships and stakeholder engagement within the precinct around them. For example, the central city location allows ICC Sydney to easily connect with neighbouring universities, “we are engaged with the universities around us and we have a particularly strong connection with UTS because of its neighbouring location” Samantha points out. Being in close proximity to key stakeholder groups allows the development of relationships that can help identify and attract events for ICC Sydney.
ICC Sydney also developed the publication, ‘Sydney Views’ to express to their clients how they collaborate with the precinct and city around them and what the convention centre means to other businesses. “By sharing this publication with our clients, particularly large international associations, we’re demonstrating the depth and breadth of how we integrate with the city around us. Our connections with all levels of government, academics, business leaders, transport authorities, local attractions and even festival organisers can all play a role in delivering the best possible outcomes for their event” says Samantha.
ICC Sydney has become an industry leader and a highly desirable destination for international delegates. Geoff looks to remain proactive and acknowledges that ICC Sydney must continue to work on improving the business, “the barrier is that we’ve got to be very careful not to get so caught up in running and operating things that we get stuck in that status quo rut because it’s working. We have another process here that we will implement once we get fully established and that is, if it’s not broken we’ll break it. We’ll look at what we do, deconstruct it, and identify if there are better ways it can be done.”
However, Geoff is also wary not to be too far ahead of the market, “being deeply embedded in the industry and the market place, and seeing and sensing what the new needs, what the new opportunities are globally with our market. There’s an important element to that, although and just generally with innovation, we are very careful not to get too far ahead of the audience.” Indeed it will be the power of the connections that they establish with the surrounding communities as well as their client centric focus that will open up innovative opportunities in the future.
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