Think HBR


This April marks three years since Idea Bombing Newcastle had their inaugural event so we think it is timely to look back and also dream big for the future of Newcastle.
Idea Bombing Newcastle is the passion project for two local women, Stephanie Moscovis and Emily Davies O'Sullivan with diverse professional backgrounds Emily is a Senior Urban Planner with Willana Associates and Stephanie is Communication and Marketing Manager with the Business Centre.
Having met at school at Newcastle Grammar they enjoyed many of perks of growing up in Newcastle but the duo, with no regrets or backward glances, left Newcastle at the first opportunity seeking broader horizons.
This story is not unusual to youth in urban centres, the bigger and brighter lights are a big draw card. What is different is that after about 10 years Emily and Stephanie both found themselves back in their hometown and astonished to find that much of the seedy and parochial attitudes had given way to a fantastic melting pot of creativity and innovation.
Startups and new businesses, regular markets, gallery openings and other creative outlets were just a few noteworthy attractions to explore in this new discoverable Newcastle.
Stephanie and Emily were stunned and intrigued to connect with these communities in Newcastle but were unsure how to entrench themselves.
Emily reached out to her university friend John O’Callaghan, whom she knew had been able to become involved with the emerging arts and innovation in Sydney through his pop-up events.
Emily approached John to hold an event in Newcastle, sensing the format would be well received. John suggested she run with the idea and start an independent chapter with a uniquely Novocastrian flavour. Emily immediately approached Stephanie and they soon held their first event at The Edwards Bar, which had only just opened. The event was around the question
“How can we make Newcastle more creative?”
“This first event shocked us, we had a fantastic turn out but more than that, the audience was thirsty to get involved in Newcastle,” said Emily O’Sullivan.
“Our audience was hungry to participate and contribute to shaping the future of our city.”
The best part was that the audience was young, with the majority being university students and young professionals. This is a group that are notoriously difficult to engage with.
Since this event the duo have continued to hold a number of events a year, in a range of locations dealing with a range of topics which resonate with local communities.
Idea Bombing Newcastle has been able to collaborate with groups doing awesome things like the Newcastle Writers Festival and Hunter Innovation Festival.
The team have also collaborated with government groups like Newcastle City Council through their Make a Place Grant, their Night Time Economy Strategy, the Cultural Plan and the Innovation Team. Other collaborators include Revitalising Newcastle and The Newcastle University and Newcastle Now.
For Emily and Stephanie, the best part of the project has been the amazing Novocastrians who they have met and contributed to the events.
It has very much been a community startup which was initiated on a whim, with a have a go attitude, much like many of the contemporaries inhabiting the coffee houses and small bars across Greater Newcastle.
The official explanation when someone asks ‘what is idea bombing’ is that it's a part pop up, part talk series, part consultation, part community engagement, all wrapped up into a fun night out.
Focusing very much on the mood each night to engage the senses through venue, fit out, music, art and food. The truth, aside from the words, it is so much more than any of that, the real value is in bringing different amazing people together to chat and feel proud of what is going on here. Participants also feel empowered to get involved and have a go with their awesome idea too, because after all that is what innovation is all about!
Looking ahead, Idea Bombing Newcastle is excited to announce their upcoming events and collaborations.
Stay tuned, the Idea Bombing Newcastle team have three exciting events planned for the near horizon. At the Newcastle Writers Festival they will be curating an idea bombing session looking at Newcastle’s Story, followed by the opening event for the Hunter Innovation Festival, looking at Newcastle as a Living Lab.
The team is also working on an event as part of the Restorative Justice and Restorative City Symposium with Newcastle University.
Thanks to everyone who has attended, spoken, played and in anyway contributed to Idea Bombing Newcastle since the beginning! It is the power of collective thought that has got the Idea Bombing team to where they are now!