Big Blue vision for Gold Coast team | 5 November in Surfers Paradise


A group of Gold Coasters, who didn’t know eachother just five months ago, have worked to bring together Big Blue Sky without a single upset. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

Hopefully it’s a model of collaboration which will ring true throughout Big Blue Sky which will focus on innovation and collaboration when it takes place on 5 November in the middle of Surfers Paradise.

Christine McDougall has been thinking about something like this for forty years and now, with some colleagues, Big Blue Sky is getting its run, aptly, from Q1 where big blue sky is unavoidable. The event will offer a unique opportunity to work with people from around Australia and the world on influencing and co-creating our city’s future.

“Don’t expect a static conference built around one -way communication,” Christine says as she warns that participants can expect to have their usual way of thinking disrupted.

“We have planned from the beginning to have two moonshot projects come from this event,” Christine said. “That might include community models of finance for innovation or infrastructure or… to have the Gold Cost become the place for innovation in five years.”

Fellow Big Blue Sky Co-Founder Lou McGregor believes we need to shift the perception of the Gold Coast by changing our own narrative and put the City in a position that can be taken seriously as a world class innovation and creativity hub.

“To do this we need to move beyond working in individual industry silos and collaborate together. The ideas, energy and intelligence of the people working here are actually quite ground-breaking. Big Blue Sky is about allowing these stories and influences to have a ripple effect,” Lou said.

“My aspiration in the first twenty minutes,’ says Christine, “is that someone’s experience of our opening video fills them with a dream and they step up and say ‘Here’s what I want us to work on for the next two days!’.”

The team say their goal has always been about creating an annual event for real innovation and bold citizen-driven action but admit that resources have been lean for their inaugural run.

“This is the pilot event,” Christine said. “We have made sure it is of the highest quality with a very lean budget. Next year we hope to attract the right sponsors… and of course if we get this right and the projects are as good as we aim, then it will attract people to us.”

“We have had pockets of amazing support and then also pockets of protectionism and non-collaboration,” Christine said when I asked about any challenges.

“If part of the ongoing story of Big Blue Sky is to break down the walls to non-collaboration, then we will have done some great work.”

Christine says that even though disruption is the order of the day, there’ll be a carefully crafted running order to keep things on track. Delegates are being encouraged to bring resources and ideas that may grab people’s attention: anything that “will help make the Gold Coast great and build regional resilience.”

The event takes place 5 November and we have a bunch of discounted tickets available for Blank readers.


Special discount tickets available

The event takes place Thursday 5 November and as media partners for this event, Blank has 50 discounted tickets to offer our readers. Using the code BLANK, you can access tickets for $200 – a saving of $50 per ticket. Register at and enter the code ‘Blank’ to secure your discount. Available until midday Monday 2 November.





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