Co-working collaboration spaces have risen to great success in areas such as Silicon Valley, where the flexible nature of collaborative work areas have allowed ideas to flow freely and develop quickly. Industry-shaping models such as Instagram were birthed out of these spaces, where sole entrepreneurs are able to work quickly and collaboratively.

But the creation of these collaboration spaces is more important than simply allowing people to work together – it speaks to the transformation of the Australian economy.

As the mining industry begins to wind down as being one of the chief creators of Australian wealth, there is an abundance of knowledge and skill waiting in the wings. Data innovation, digital business models and agile development are the building blocks of business, especially as the next age of entrepreneurs and workers have a vastly different expectation of what constitutes “work”.

The future of business is agile, with start-ups requiring fewer staff and less of a fixed office than ever before. This type of work ethic is facilitated by co-working spaces, which are built to house businesses for short amounts of time, before they can then move on without having any liabilities. This also allows workers to move more freely throughout a city, and the world.

We know encouraging telework and increased use of co-working and collaboration spaces in Western Sydney is of interest to major employers in the public and private sectors, individual workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. But it has been hard for them to find accessible, affordable, convenient and networked co-working and collaboration spaces across greater Western Sydney.

Together with the University of Western Sydney, Google, Cisco and the New South Wales Government, PwC is piloting a new approach to public innovation and problem solving to fix this problem. Our “open innovation” model brings together a wide mix of experience and expertise from business, governments, individuals and entrepreneurs to solve structural problems impacting growth and sustainability

The following problem is being put to groups attending our upcoming innovation event at the UWS:

How to create innovative ways of developing a network of co-working and collaboration spaces across Western Sydney.

As part of the Open Innovation process, teams will put together a solution for Cisco, the main sponsor of this problem question, potential investors and customers for the opportunity to work in a 12-week acceleration process alongside PwC and Cisco. The process will help strengthen the chosen solution in order to attract demand.

Does this sound like a problem you want to solve? Then consider applying for the Open Innovation event, which takes place at UWS on September 6+7.

Applications close on Friday, 29 August – visit to submit an application and for more information on the event.

Our Open Innovation process has been proven successful in other areas. In 2012, we worked with Transport for New South Wales and other entrants to come up with solutions for the public transport system – multiple public-facing apps were developed during the process. To read more about the 2012 App Hot House, click here.