How to Create an Innovation District

An Innovation Agendas Webinar

This webinar took place on November 30, 2016. A video archive of the webinar is at the bottom of this page.

Many communities choose to focus their public-private innovation programs on the creation of a physical home for innovation. What are the key components of a successful innovation district? What time and resources are needed? How can the success that occurs within that “innovation island” reach beyond it to the entire community or region? In this Webinar, you will learn from two communities with track records of success in the development of innovation districts.

Case Study 1: Fire Station 101: Igniting Innovation in Ipswich

Fire Station 101 ( is the 1st fully funded local government Innovation and Startup Hub in Australia. It brings together an inspiring workplace, state-of-the art digital infrastructure and a dynamic community of like-minded entrepreneurs all focused on one thing: the entrepreneur’s success.

Matthew_Schultz_Headshot.pngJoining us from Ipswich to talk about Fire Station 101 will be Matthew Schultz, City Digital Officer Ipswich City Council, Queensland, Australia. Matthew is an accomplished and experienced professional with over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology, Telecommunications, Digital Economy, Geospatial and Civil Engineering fields covering project management, consulting, general management and technical roles.

Matthew_Schultz_Presenting.pngAs the City Digital Officer of Ipswich, Matthew is responsible for a City Digital Strategy encompassing Smart City, Data and Infrastructure, Innovation, Startups and Education and Digital Enablement, Technology Attraction and Development. As demonstration of this, Matthew led the establishment of Fire Station 101 and development of the Ipswich Smart City Blueprint and Implementation Plan, which seeks to entrench Ipswich as Australia’s most progressive Smart and Connected City.

Case Study 2: Montreal's Quartier de l’innovation

The Quartier de l’innovation (QI) ( is an innovation ecosystem in the heart of Montreal that aims to boost the city’s potential for creativity. QI was launched in May 2013 by École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) and McGill University, which were subsequently joined by Concordia University and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Some 20 corporate partners have since come on board. QI draws on the complementary resources of its numerous partners in research, training, innovation and entrepreneurship to create concrete projects that are changing the face of the city. The site is bounded by René Lévesque Boulevard on the north, the Lachine Canal on the south, McGill Street on the east and Atwater Avenue on the west. QI’s activities focus on four areas: training and research, social and cultural innovation, industrial innovation and urban innovation. 

Damien-Siles.jpgJoining us from Montreal will be Damien Silès, Executive Director, Quartier de l’innovation. Mr. Silès has a solid educational background in international trade and has been serving as Executive Director of the Quartier de l’Innovation de Montréal since 2014. Previously, he served for six years as Executive Director of the Société de développement social de Ville-Marie, North America’s first social solidarity agent, which he founded in 2008. His accomplishments at the helm of this organization were lauded by the media and he was twice named person of the week by La Presse-Radio-Canada (February 2011 and June 2013). From 2002 to 2008, he was director of Membership and Sales for the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. This position helped him build strong relationships with Quebec’s business community.

Additionally, Mr. Silès worked for several years in South America as project manager for a Swiss/Ecuadorian foundation. His functions included setting up an innovative social trade program in collaboration with CIDA and developing national and international markets for local craftspeople. Appointed Chair of the Franco-Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he also represented countries in the Cartagena Agreement (Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru).

Damien Silès is also well recognized for his cultural involvement. A true music aficionado, he served as Chair of the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2013, and participated actively in its financing activities. In 2013, he was a finalist for the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Prix Arts-Affaires, in the Personnalité category, in recognition of his great contributions. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Opéra de Montréal.

November 30, 2016 at 6:00pm - 7pm | Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Matthew Owen ·
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