If there is a single precinct in Australia that embodies what’s possible with digital innovation, it’s the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. Tonsley was a response to a unique set of challenges in South Australia more than a decade ago:

  • The closure of the Mitsubishi car assembly plant which was one of the State’s major employers but also a very visible economic shift
  • A recognition that South Australia needed to take control of its own destiny and create future jobs based around technology, innovation and new industries

The vision for Tonsley has proven to be transformative and a powerful demonstration of economic renewal. The magnitude and distinctive nature of the site itself creates a unique space to perform innovation and collaboration at a scale that has not seen before in Australia. A powerful demonstration of success is that Tonsley now employs more people on site than when the Mitsubishi car assembly plant was operating on the same site. Tonsley’s trajectory – and Cisco’s part in it as a strategic partner of Flinders University – is explored in a short video and details the many contributions that Cisco has made to Tonsley’s success:

  1. A long-standing partnership with Flinders University – who bookends the site with TAFESA – spanning research and teaching. The centrepiece of our partnership has been the Digital Health Research Chair (Professor Trish Williams) – located at Tonsley in a dedicated Digital Health Design Lab – which is approaching its 10-year anniversary
  2. Establishment of Innovation Central Adelaide at Tonsley where companies and governments can experiment with technology to solve problems and convert opportunities. Innovation Central Adelaide is linked to other innovation centres across Australia under the banner of the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN)
  3. Investment in the Factory of the Future at Tonsley which is showcasing what’s possible with digital innovation in advanced manufacturing but also providing an important vehicle to increase the supply of technology skills to South Australia. Our skills focus extends into the Cisco Networking Academy which partners with both Flinders University and TAFESA on site at Tonsley

Over the past 10 years I have watched Tonsley grow into a globally significant innovation district that is laying the foundation for the South Australian economy for years to come. Perhaps Flinders University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Colin Stirling sums it up best:

Tonsley’s a really special place. It’s a place that we have helped to bring forward from having been a former car manufacturing plant, to now one of Australia’s leading innovation districts. An innovation district that’s attracting attention globally.  You need partners. You need partnerships. You need partners who get it. And Cisco definitely get it”. 

Professor Colin Stirling, Vice Chancellor, Flinders University

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Reg Johnson

General Manager, Education

Cisco Australia and New Zealand