BIF to return in 2022

The Bendigo Invention + Innovation Festival (BIF) will return in 2022 with a new name to celebrate and promote local innovation, nurture great ideas and bring world-class innovation thought leaders to Bendigo. Look out for the same, fantastic event aptly titled the ‘Bendigo Innovation Festival’.

Access BIIF2020

In 2020, a year full of rapid changes and challenges, the 10th Bendigo Invention + Innovation Festival provided ‘Optimism through Innovation’ to hundreds of participants from around Australia and the globe.

More than just a series of online events; 2020BIIF was a five-week, FREE virtual celebration that featured 90+ speakers across keynote talks, panel discussions and a Festival of Failure that encouraged people to learn how to transform traditional thinking, unlock new ideas, deal with disruption and see how other sectors are using innovation and new ways of doing business to make change happen!

Missed a session? No stress you can visit our YouTube Channel at anytime to recap, watch and enjoy.

The Bendigo Innovation Festival (BIF) will return in 2022 to celebrate and promote local innovation, nurture great ideas and bring world-class innovation thought leaders to Bendigo.

Can’t wait to see you again for 2022BIF!


”Bendigo is the City of Optimism, and the home of inventors, innovators, explorers and the curious - all Optimists!"

Victor Perton, The Centre of Optimism

Who is going to inspire you?

Here’s a sneak peak of 2020 speakers including an industry organisation dynamo, an innovator and leader in smart mining solutions, a pioneer from the Space Agency and so much more – we’re looking forward to welcoming speakers from all industries and sectors around the globe!


Innes Willox – CEO, AI Group

Innes Willox is Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, a leading industry organisation representing businesses in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, construction, transport, defence, ICT and labour hire. Innes was appointed Chief Executive in May 2012. Amongst other appointments, Innes is also a Director of Australian Super, Chair of the Migration Council of Australia and a Board member of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.

Prior to joining AiGroup in 2008 he served as the Australian Consul General to Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008, Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, from 2004 to 2006 and earlier was Manager of Global Public Affairs for Singapore Airlines based in Singapore (2000-04). Innes began his career as a journalist. His positions included Chief of Staff at The Age newspaper in Melbourne and Chief Political Correspondent for The Age in Canberra.

Dr Leah Heiss, Co-Director of the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network

Dr Leah Heiss is a designer, academic, Co-director of the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network (W+SN) and CSIRO visiting scientist/designer. Her practice traverse’s device, service and experience and her process is deeply collaborative, working with experts from nanotechnology, engineering and health services through to manufacturing.

Over the last decade Leah has brought human centred design to technologies for hearing loss, diabetes and pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gut disease, heart disease and arrhythmia, and loneliness. Facett, which she designed for Blamey Saunders hears, won many accolades including the 2018 Good Design Award of the Year and CSIRO Design Innovation Award. She teaches through the RMIT Master of Design Futures and leads industry-partnered courses across health sector innovation and design leadership.


Michael Sharpe, National Director Industry – Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

Michael Sharpe is the National Director for Industry at the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. AMGC is an initiative of the Australian Government. Its goal is to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness across Australia. AMGC is run by a team of industry experts. It is connected with a nationwide network of manufacturers, universities, and export hubs.

Michael has vast industrial experience including nearly three decades at Sharpe Bros (Australia), one of the nation’s leading road companies. From 2004 -2014, he served as Managing Director of the family business. Michael has been involved with a range of industry including infrastructure, health & medical research and manufacturing.


Marnie Baker, Managing Director – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Based in Bendigo, Marnie has been with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group since 1989 and an Executive of the Bank since 2000. She was appointed Managing Director in 2018.

Marnie has 30 years’ experience in financial services, holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Latrobe University and is a member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Marnie is a Director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited and sits on the Australian Bankers Association, Business Council of Australia, and Mastercard Asia Pacific Advisory Boards. Marnie is also a member of Corporate Executive Women.

Victor Perton, Chief Optimism Officer – The Centre of Optimism

Victor Perton is “that optimism man”. He is the founder and Chief Optimism Officer of The Centre for Optimism; The Founder of the Australian Leadership Project. His life experience includes roles as Trade & Investment Commissioner to the Americas, 18 years a parliamentarian, practice as a barrister, mediator, arbitrator, businessman and board service.

Victor was Senior Engagement Adviser to the Australian G20 presidency focused on the G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors Meetings & the Brisbane G20 Leaders Summit described by the Prime Minister as “the most important gathering Australia has ever hosted.”


Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO – Austmine

Chris is the CEO of Austmine and has been working to help METS companies succeed and grow since 2007. With 30 years of experience in international business, industry development and general management, her background covers a wide range of industries and she has held senior management positions in Australia and overseas.

Chris is firmly focused on delivering value to the organisation’s members, creating opportunities and driving strategic innovation and collaboration across the industry. She has forged powerful relationships, and has helped to significantly raise the profile of the sector to the point that it is now recognised as a key economic driver in the Australia economy.

She has extensive experience in working with governments in Australia and abroad to develop and deliver industry and economic development programs.  She has served on several government boards and export and industry development committees and councils.

Chris has a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan, USA, and an MBA in International Management from the University of Technology, Sydney. She is an Australian and US citizen.

Anthony Murphett, Deputy Head – Australian Space Agency

Mr Anthony Murfett is the Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency. Anthony is responsible for the performance of the organisation and has oversight of strategy, policy and operations of the Agency.

Anthony is also transitioning from the role of Minister Counsellor (Industry, Science and Education) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. In this role, Anthony’s focus is to develop and implement strategies to strengthen Australia’s engagement with the industry and innovation, science, research and education systems in the US and Canada.

Prior to these roles, Anthony was the General Manager of the Growth Centres Branch within the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. His key responsibility was advising the Australian Government on the policy, design and implementation of the Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

Previously, Anthony has been the General Manager of the Productivity and Competitiveness Branch and the Precincts and Coordination Branch. In these roles he was responsible for advising the Australian Government on matters such as sectoral policy advice, IP policy, strategic industry policy and programmes such as the Industry Innovation Precincts Programme. He has also been responsible for the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Branch, where he was responsible for the policy and administration of the CRC programme.

Anthony has also worked across a number of areas within the industry and innovation portfolios within the Australian Government. These include the Australian Research Council and IP Australia (Australian Patent Office).

Anthony’s educational background is in biotechnology and immunology (including a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the Australian National University). He is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.