TMR MIXr 2017 – What you missed

Participants at the TMR MIXr 2017

Its 7am and the team are already at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre getting organised, clutching coffee cups, checking AV and helping the Tesla ‘bump in’ to the exhibition space. Watching the crew maneuver a car through a lift and into a building was exciting for me but the MIXr team are already old hands at it; they stayed back late last night to help BMW’s electric vehicle bump in the same way.

A buzz of energy can already be felt, so much work has gone into the event and we are expecting hundreds of Queensland’s most innovative minds to collaborate and share ideas. The pressure is on but the coffee is hot, the presenters are ready, and so are we!

8am and the first of the delegates are rolling in and being greeted at the registration desk firing up. Before long the room is full, loud with conversation and alive with energy.

The group (over 350 on last check!!) moves into the Auditorium and settles in to the morning session to hear from the Assistant Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Glenn Butcher, our Acting Director-General Mike Stapleton and leaders of their fields, not just in Queensland but nationally and internationally.

MC Chris Riddell spoke about the future in ways I’m sure the crowd hadn’t heard before and set the scene for the day. Thinking differently is what innovation is about and Chris certainly does that.

We were humbled to have two of Queensland’s Chiefs presenting; the Chief Entrepreneur and the Chief Scientist spoke about their past experience, and what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities coming our way.

To close off the morning session we had Dr David Tuffley from Griffith University talking about the human impacts of new technology.

What a way to start the day. We just finished the morning session and the bar has well and truly been set high.

Next up the group split up into three streams of fast paced presentations from TMR’s very own including the Future of Transport, Our Customers Our People, and Technical Imaginarium Part 1. These sessions saw 18 TMR staff and other government employees speak about their great work in the transport sector plus how they are planning for future unknowns.

The Technical Imaginarium stream was entertained by a koala scat detection dog (Maya) who helps TMR understand koala habitat and migration behaviours. This is especially important in helping to understand how much land to offset for koala habitat protection when planning a new highway. This is true collaboration and innovation at play with TMR and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The group came back together for lunch and some time to reset and download everything we had heard so far. Lunch was also an opportunity for delegates to interact with the exhibitors showing their work. Our very own Customer Experience team were on display talking about their new Ways We Work campaign plus all the other exciting things they have delivered to date.

After lunch the group again split up into the streams of interest, this time listening to some of the cutting edge tech and solutions our industry colleagues are working on or in many cases already using in the field. I was excited to see industry preparing for change through innovation.

Afternoon tea was followed by speed dating style networking with delegates given 6 x 15 minute slots to find a match from the 37 organisations on show. Even though it was late in the day, it was a hive of activity and a real buzz.

Informal feedback we’ve received so far has been overwhelmingly positive and the number of attendees prove there is a strong appetite for this type of event. We were proud to connect TMR with industry today, to imagine tomorrow together.

Sarah Norman
Director, Strategy, Innovation and Performance
Department of Transport and Main Roads