After recently visiting Perth and hosting some beta launch drinks, Kate chats to Brodie McCulloch – one of the city’s chief instigators. Brodie started Social Innovation in Western Australia and most recently opened a coworking space in the CBD called Spacecubed.

Name: Brodie McCulloch
Twitter handle(s): @brodiemcculloch @sii_wa @space3ed
Works: Founder of Social Innovation in Western Australia and lots of stuff for Spacecubed (still in startup)

Perth is the most isolated city in the world – how do you think this affects innovation in the city?

This has both positive and negative elements to it. Some of the positives are that it is a much greener field and less crowded market place so doing anything can really get you noticed. Also people in WA are very resilient and willing to take risks… often these risks have been in the resources sector but I think moving some of that thinking to technology, social and environmental startups is starting to take place. Some of the negatives are that Western Australians think they need to reinvent everything rather than borrow and build on what is happening internationally and interstate. I think the positives outweigh the negatives especially with our proximity and shared time zone with Asia.

The Spacecubed coworking space just launched – for professionals in Perth who aren’t familiar with the concept, how would you describe it and what does it facilitate in the industry?

Spacecubed is a 550sqm Co-working, Collaboration and Innovation Space at 45 St Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD. It has been designed to facilitate a community of Entrepreneurs with a mix of 1/3rd Social and Environmental Startups, 1/3rd Technology and Creative Industries and 1/3rd Government and Corporate Innovation Projects. We think by collocating these diverse groups there will be real opportunities for Innovation. On the day to day we have events, talks, hotdesks, permanent space and are just gearing up for our Office Hours (professional advice and volunteering) and Intensify Scholarship which is for people in the idea stage.

The space:

What kind of events are you holding in the space and where can people find out more?

We have a number of member run events which include lunchtime learnings but there are a whole lot of community events that aren’t run my us but we facilitate. This includes Morning Startup, Port 80, Lean and now we have some bigger events like the first Startup Weekend Perth in September. As well as going out through The Fetch Perth you can find it on our Facebook, Twitter, Blog and subscribe to the calendar.

You founded Social Innovation in WA in 2010 – what is the purpose of the initiative and how’s it going so far?

We setup Social Innovation in Western Australia after seeing a real gap in the fact that WA is going through massive change with a quarter of a trillion dollars being invested in the next 30 years but we couldn’t see a proactive building of the Social Infrastructure (resilient communities etc) that is going to support this massive growth. So we started looking at the specific things we could start doing now that would really build this and one of the key issues from Social Entrepreneurs was that they had nowhere to startup. We also saw that more broadly there wasn’t much support for any entrepreneurs so Spacecubed is our first big project to shift that.

What’s been one of the hardest challenges you’ve had to face work-wise?

I think I was expecting things to move more quickly, having to accept that it realistically takes 3 years to get an idea off the ground and into some semi safe territory is something I was hoping wouldn’t be the case. Executing on ideas takes time and money.

What other groups or city-wide happens do you recommend in Perth?

I think there is big changes happening in Perth right now and so much interesting stuff happening compared to when I moved back to Perth two years ago. There is some interesting stuff happening in the creative industries with Creative Corps and I think the tech community is really bubbling with Startup Weekend and some really interesting collaborations.

What’s next?

Focus. We are currently building Spacecubed and listening to members and what they need to make their businesses, projects and organisations successful while still building out the space to make it really awesome. Also we have our Open House on Friday between 9am – 12pm where anyone can come and work for the morning for free.