Hills Innovation Centres to nurture the next great Australian invention

Two new innovation centres, jointly funded by Hills Limited and the State Government, have been officially opened by Premier Jay Weatherill, Hills Limited CEO Ted Pretty and members of the Hill-Ling family.
The Lance Hill Design Centre and Hills D-Shop have been created in collaboration with UniSA, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide to drive innovation as well as support and foster start-ups.
Mr Weatherill said Hills is a great South Australian success story, from the iconic Hills Hoist, the company has become a leader in delivering technology and communications solutions into homes, hospitals, businesses and governments.
“It is recognised as a company that has sought and identified ways to build growth in rapidly changing economic conditions,” Mr Weatherill said.
“This achievement is an excellent example of the broader transformation we must urgently achieve in the manufacturing sector in South Australia.
“These centres will unearth and reward local design expertise and collaborate with key educational and research institutions and the rich pool of independent designers in Australia.”
The Lance Hill Design Centre and Hills D-Shop are funded as part of a $5 million agreement between Hills Limited and the South Australian Government      announced in February. These centres are estimated to help create about 50 high-end jobs and have attracted more than 30 submissions from Australian entrepreneurs.
An inaugural Hills “Pitch Day” will be held tomorrow (Thursday) where eight shortlisted submissions will be presented by Australian innovators to a selection panel of commercial and academic experts.
Hills Limited Group Managing Director and CEO, Ted Pretty, said it was an exciting and important day for the company.
“We have a proud tradition of innovation which started with the Hills Hoist in an Adelaide workshop some 70 years ago so it’s great to return to the place where it all began to look for the innovations of tomorrow,” he said.
“Our partnership with the South Australian government and local universities is about finding the great Australian innovation of the 21st century. The new centres will support the best and brightest Australians to bring their ideas to fruition and ultimately, to market.
“Importantly, we’re really looking for innovation in the areas that can make a real difference to people’s lives, like health care, aged and home care and safety and security.”
The Design Centre will be focussed on advancing innovation in user-centred design while the Hills D-Shop will concentrate on discovering and commercialising digital innovation.
Minister for Manufacturing Susan Close said the innovation centres will help to service the transformation of the State's economy towards advanced manufacturing.
"We know that South Australia's manufacturing sector has been hit hard by global and national economic conditions and there is an increased urgency to embrace the transformation to advanced manufacturing," she said.
"These innovation centres are about supporting the growth of advanced manufacturing and unlocking future job opportunities for South Australia."