As we are bringing Design Thinking: The One Day Workshop to Hobart, we thought we’d do some research into innovations the Apple Isle has contributed to Australia.

As Plato said, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, which is possibly why Tasmania punches above its weight in Australian innovation. Few things spark creativity, innovation and discovery like a small and isolated community.

There are plenty more, but here are three of our favourite innovations to come out of Tasmania:

HUMIDICRIB

 Image: Families Magazine

Image: Families Magazine

Invented by obstetrician, William McIntyre in Tasmania in the 1930s, the Humidicrib has saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of premature babies.

Similar to incubators used for hatching chicken eggs, the humidicrib monitors and controls warmth and humidity, keeping babies alive until they are healthy and strong enough to survive outside it.

Combining the words ‘humidity’ and ‘crib’, the humidicrib was a ground-breaking development for its time that continues to be an important piece of equipment in paediatric intensive health care.

The now perspex environments treat babies in a soundproof, sterile setting away from infection and bacteria treating low-weight babies who otherwise have difficulty regulating and maintaining their own temperature.

Two Australian brothers, Edward and Donald Both are also associated with its design and development, but Tasmania can proudly claim this as one of its finest innovations.

THE NOTEPAD (or THE SILVER CITY WRITING TABLET)

That’s right, arguably one of the most used piece of equipment in the workplace, the humble note pad was invented in Tasmania, Australia.

Central to the premise of innovation is the creation of something that adds value – nothing could be closer to this definition than the first notepad.

Birchalls was the Launceston branch of a Hobart- based bookstore, publisher, education supplier and stationery company.

In 1902, JA Birchall, was tired of supplying writing paper in ‘quires’ or ‘loose quills’. He folded four sheets of paper to form eight, applied a cardboard back and glued the pages together.

He called it the Silver City Writing Tablet, now there’s a visionary. Many of his suppliers were reluctant to order it, they considered it too wacky, but the Silver City Writing Tablet innovation proved to be a hot seller.

CASCADE BREWING CO

 Image: Cascade Brewing Company

Image: Cascade Brewing Company

Over 170 years ago, before micro-breweries, craft and boutique beers and hipster hobby brewers, Peter Degraves created Cascade Brewing Company, the oldest operating brewery in Australia. Degraves chose the foothills of Mount Wellington for its pure, crystal quality of the water, a pivotal reason for the success of the brews. Transforming the sawmill, he started brewing Tasmanian hops and barley, the backbone of the brews to this day.

The industrial revolution brought mass-produced competitors that have come, and gone. And as new brands emerge ‘rediscovering’ lost styles, the innovative brewery, created with locally sourced ingredients, featuring the iconic Tasmanian Tiger remains a quintessential brand. 

Any organisation that can create a relevant and desirable product for over 170 years is clearly listening to their customer. Creating new products to meet a changing market, such as ciders, mixers, cordials, sparkling flavours and fruit syrups, Cascade has kept crowd favourites too. The Pale Ale is Australia’s longest continuously brewed beer with a heritage stretching back to 1832.  

Cascade plans to innovate into the future too, Carlton and United Breweries are building an innovation hub at Cascade Brewery devoted to small batch brewing that is expected to increase production by 65 per cent.


Join us on the road...

Design Thinking Hobart

We love nothing more than learning about Australian innovation and the challenges that pioneers had to overcome to bring their dream to reality. Have we missed one? What is your favourite Tasmanian innovation?

Did you know G2 are heading out on the road? Be sure to join us for Design Thinking: The One Day Workshop Hobart, Monday 21 May at The Woolstore in Hobart.

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