Conference Design

The Value of Place, Time & People in a Complex World

With its spectacular scenery, ancient Aboriginal culture and laid-back way of life, Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) is a mecca for visitors who are keen to sample an authentic Australian experience. It is, however, its unique set of knowledge clusters, attention to local engagement, and the innovative ways it delivers ideas and learnings that makes it stand out as a congress destination, as explains Lyndon Frearson, Managing Director of Ekistica, an indigenous-owned engineering consultancy, and enthusiastic advocate of Northern Territory Business Events.

Words Remi Deve, with Northern Territory Business Events

Equivalent in size to France, Italy and Spain combined, Australia’s vast Northern Territory (NT) is divided into two distinctly different regions, each with its own weather system. The lush, green ‘Top End’ has a tropical climate and is home to the cosmopolitan capital city Darwin and the World-Heritage listed Kakadu, the country’s largest national park. In contrast, the ochre-coloured, desert-like landscape of the south has a semi-arid climate and is where you’ll find landmarks such as Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Alice Springs, Australia’s most famous outback town.

Innovation & leadership

Lyndon Frearson has been providing advocacy support to Northern Territory Business Events for many years. As the Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Ekistica, he is one of Australia’s leading engineer specialists in the renewable energy sector and provides a perfect example of Northern Territory innovation and leadership. Ekistika’s solutions for remote area infrastructure development are used around the world.

“Northern Territory is my home,” says Lyndon. “It is the place where my children were born and where my best memories have been formed. We have seen countless sunsets and night skies the likes of which you can’t find anywhere else. My kids have a relationship to the bush and the environment that is a rare commodity in an increasingly urbanized world. But most of all it is the people. They truly are what makes the Northern Territory great.”

Professionally, Lyndon has led the design and development of some of the largest and most innovative renewable energy projects in Australia, including ‘Uterne’ (Australia’s first utility scale – 1 MW solar farm),  the Ti Tree, Kalkarindji and Lake Nash high penetration grid connect solar power stations and various roof-mounted solar power systems on commercial premises including hotels, airports and community centres. He was also involved with the development of the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, a whole-of-system demonstration facility in Alice Springs that has become a resource for the international Photovoltaics (PV) industry.

His success is due to the very nature and character of  the Northern Territory. “Once I can explain how living in the NT, and particularly Alice Springs, makes us think differently about complex issues and the relationship between people and place, then we often find people willing to engage more deeply. Being an enthusiastic and authentic ambassador for the NT is critical for me and for the future of Ekistica and most importantly for the individuals and families whom have chosen to call the NT home,” he says.

Lyndon Frearson

For him indeed, the Northern Territory is all about understanding the value of place, time and people. “This can be a tough, and at times, cruel landscape,” Lyndon points out. “Yet for thousands of years communities of people have survived and thrived in this environment. They have survived through a deep engagement with the land – sitting in it, being at one with it. This has been communicated down through the years through the telling of stories, the sharing of a deep belief in the connection between people and place. This characteristic has informed our understanding of how to think differently about solving complex problems.”

Lyndon says it’s actually the very essence of NT that helps appreciate complex problems, and seeing them as an opportunity to think differently. But to do so, one has to engage deeply, to understand the context behind the issues, and this is done through working with people and communities – after all, solving the kind of problems he’s asked to solve can have a direct impact on them. 

The power of conferences

For more information on NT as a conference destination: Rebecca.McCaig@nt.gov.au / ntbusinessevents.northernterritory.com. The right to use this article, in parts or in full, has to be granted by the Publisher.

As for the power of conferences he’s been instrumental in bringing to NT, Lyndon recognizes they no longer serve as a place to provide information and in fact are better placed to be a basis to network, engage in debate and to hear issues of the day being discussed. “Conferences of today are a place for stories to be told and bonds to be formed. So what better place to host a conference than an environment that has been defined by stories for eon’s. Having a conference in the NT forces people to disengage from the daily grind, to challenge their thinking for a little while and to let the ethereal majesty of this ancient landscape start to work its way into people’s hearts and souls,” he concludes.

Planners looking to host events in NT can benefit from the Northern Territory Business Events Support Fund (NTBESF), which provides financial assistance of AUD$100 per delegate. To meet the criteria, the event needs to be at the consideration or bidding stage, yield delegates from outside the NT and beyond, and align with the NT’s priority industry sectors. These include health, agribusiness, land management, mining, renewable energy, education, tourism, creative industries and defence. 

Northern Territory Business Events is a key contact for setting the wheels in motion for any event. With 25 years of experience, it has built up an invaluable network of local contacts from the professional sector, government, business and industry. It also provides free, expert advice and assistance on the planning, bidding and delivery of business events in the NT.

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