‘Fair BnB’ and ‘Powerhub’: Smart Seeds harvests fresh ideas for Melbourne’s future

On 27 April 2016 more than 40 young professionals came together at the Federation Square’s Deakin Edge to pitch fresh solutions to urban challenges to a panel of industry leaders.

Traffic congestion, homelessness, renewable energy, flexible work arrangements, food security, activated public space and climate change were the focus of Smart Seeds 2016 in Melbourne.

Smart Seeds is a global innovation program for young professionals led by GHD and supported by Engineers Australia, Optus, Veolia and Innovation Interchange.

The event showcased the collaborative power of young professionals making their first waves in the infrastructure industry. Together they lured their audience to imagine a world where their ideas were a reality.


Ten weeks earlier, seven teams, comprised of people from different organisations and disciplines, embarked on an innovation journey to grow their skills, networks and experience. Their ideas now have the potential to be adopted by an organisation and further developed into reality.

With seven creative ideas well ’outside the planter box‘, the panel of judges had a lot to think about. By the end, one idea resonated with the judges: ‘Fair BnB’, which proposed a way to address homelessness by activating existing housing.

With the audience also invited to vote via smart technology, the People’s Choice Award went to the team behind ‘Powerhub’, which suggested a system to make off-grid power supply a possibility for everyone.

What makes Smart Seeds so special? For participants, the program “gets you questioning the norm, and if you question that norm you might find something great.”

According to one of the judges, Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect, Smart Seeds represents “a real effort at multidisciplinary collaborative thinking. That’s the way we all should be working.”

Melbourne Showcase judges conferring

The judging panel was made up of some of the top minds in the Victorian infrastructure industry:

  • Leonie Walsh, Victorian Lead Scientist, DEDJTR
  • Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect
  • Kevin Hutchings, Managing Director of South East Water
  • Martine Letts, CEO of Committee for Melbourne


Judges Choice Award Winners: ‘Fair BnB’ transforming homelessness to housing. Team members: Carmen Du (GHD), Jessica Boyle (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Julia Hurley (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Joel Segal (Melbourne Water), Lana Kagan (Parks Victoria), Leo Lazarus (Yarra Valley Water)

We are excited for more industry inspiration at upcoming Smart Seeds 2016 Showcase Events in Auckland, Brisbane, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney.

Photography by Dan A’Vard www.danavard.com

© 2018 Founding Partner GHD Pty Ltd | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Contact Us