Papua New Guinea, an innovation nation

When you think of Papua New Guinea (PNG), you don’t immediately think of innovation.

A developing economy, perhaps. Immense natural resources, perhaps. An unique mix of traditional cultures, a rich natural environment …

But innovation?

Yet, an emerging economy like Papua New Guinea arguably needs innovation more than a developed nation.

  • It has one of the region’s fastest-growing and most youthful populations, eager to be educated, trained and employed.
  • Its economic growth is constrained by the challenges of building infrastructure across demanding geography.
  • It faces major challenges delivering government, medical and other services to its population.
  • It has a pressing need to reduce its reliance on mineral exports by developing new industries and expanding existing ones.
  • While a major exporter, it faces challenges adding value to the commodities it produces.

If PNG can innovate to address these challenges, the future for the country looks very bright indeed.

It’s not as if the Pacific’s largest economy lacks innovators. Far from it: if you look, you’ll find them everywhere:

  • Bright young ICT professionals are delivering more and more software and apps to solve local problems
  • Smart entrepreneurs are using the Cloud to create and deliver new business services and reach export markets
  • PNG’s financial institutions are rolling out tech-driven solutions to overcome the tyranny of distance and the lack of formal ID
  • Drones are being used in agribusiness, the delivery of medical supplies, and mineral exploration
  • PNG’s telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity is expanding rapidly, with mobile phones now commonplace
  • Researchers in PNG’s tertiary institutions are experimenting with robotics and biofuels
  • Larger companies are developing programs to foster whole-of-business innovation and develop new products

In fact, there’s so much innovation going on in PNG, that we thought it was time to bring it out into the open and start giving it the attention it deserves.

So did the country’s largest business chamber, the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On 8 November 2019, the two of us will take over PNG’s largest hotel, the Stanley in Port Moresby, for Innovation PNG 2019: a one-day conference bringing the best of new technology, creative solutions and innovative thinking to Papua New Guinea’s business community.

The conference will bring together senior government leaders (including PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape and Communications Minister Rainbo Paita), local innovators and international experts together to educate, inspire and inform.

Keynote speakers will include innovation guru Pete Williams of Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge (who will also run one of his celebrated workshops on how to innovate in your organisation), Hewlett Packard’s Megatrends Ambassador Paul Burman, and PwC’s Telecom, Media and Technology sector leader, Mohammad Chowdhury.

We’ll have special sessions on cyber security, eGovernment, innovation in education and training, demystifying technology, agritech, digital banking and mobile money, and what better internet will mean for PNG.

The real stars of the conference will be the dozen hand-picked innovators we have invited to give short, TED-style talks. These will include the winners of the inaugural Innovation PNG Awards, which will be announced at the event.

Not only will Innovation PNG 2019 celebrate existing innovators, but it will also help provide the skills and tools to foster more innovation, across business, government and the wider society.

With an expo and demonstration area, it promises to be a lot of fun too. You can find more about it at