Michael Zerman ponders innovation at Willunga BeachAdelaide entrepreneur Michael Zerman claims that a Silicon Valley-like confluence of cultural factors predisposes Adelaide's Rundle Street precinct to be a hotbed of innovation.

Mr. Zerman states Adelaide has many local companies with a "Rundle Valley association, history or pedigree" including Hostworks, Maxamine, Rocksoft, Imagination, Scott Hicks' film ventures, Internode, the Chimo financial transaction gateway, CarbonPlanet, Kojo, Anifex, Zork, the YellowTail wine label, ViaMedia and Wakefield Press.

In a public paper responding to Terry Cutler's report, Venturous Australia - Building Strength in Innovation, Mr. Zerman asserts that Cutler's report underplays the importance of cultural factors in fostering innovation. "As a local response to Cutler, I'm positing a geographical and cultural model of innovation that focuses on the "Rundle Valley" experience," Mr. Zerman writes on his blog at www.zerman.net.

"This small Silicon Valley-like precinct is centred around Rundle Street and about 2km long from west to east and about 1km wide. It extends from Pulteney Street in Adelaide's CBD and 500 metres either side of Rundle Street as it snakes eastward from Rundle Mall, through the East End, across the Parklands, and finally to Fullarton Road, Kent Town.

"This precinct already has all of the markers/ciphers that are generally used to indicate a Valley-like experience: Higher education institutions, local headquarters of major international outfits with extensive R&D programs (eg HPQ), public institutions such as a major teaching hospital and the second-largest IT-spending SA government department, numerous international students in graduate and post-graduate programs, small start-ups and cultural institutions such as cinemas, bars, restaurants, gallery, library, museum, etc.

"Most importantly, there are successful local Valley enterprises that have substantial profitable revenues ($100M+ in local or international sales) or have been acquired by international corporations for sums approaching US$100M."

"This is not forgetting, of course, all the work going on in the area described as the 'Florey bio-sciences precinct' centred on Uni SA, Adelaide University and the IMVS," he writes.

For a full copy of his paper, visit Michael Zerman's blog at http://www.zerman.net/content.html#CutlerEstrinRundle102008.

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