Some of the brightest minds are collecting at South Australia’s exciting new innovation precinct in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD.

Madison O’Brien, Teamgage customer success analyst

After four months with work culture specialists Teamgage, Madison O’Brien, 22, is convinced the Stone & Chalk start-up hub environment at Lot Fourteen is the right place for her.

“Start-ups are a dynamic, fast-evolving environment in which to work,” she says of the Lot Fourteen-based business powered by FIXE, the Future Industries eXchange for Entrepreneurship.

“If there’s someone who wants to grow professionally, working in a start-up is absolutely the place for you.”

O’Brien, who studied a Bachelor of Business specialising in HR management at Flinders University, is an analyst who helps assemble feedback from customers’ employees.

“I get to help thousands of employees make sure their voices are heard about how they are feeling, particularly as a result of COVID-19,” she says.

By applying artificial intelligence programs to the feedback, O’Brien can present insights learned and key strategies to help clients improve their organisations.

O’Brien, who is also studying for a Graduate Diploma in Psychology, focused on HR after discovering that people, on average, spend 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime: “That’s a lot of time,” she says.

“Part of choosing HR was to have an influence on that, to make a difference to the way people experience work – wanting people to wake up and jump out of bed because they enjoy going to work.”

She finds Lot Fourteen an inspiring place to work. “It is, at its core, a community of like-minded individuals, people who want to see a change in the world,” she says.

“We chose … to do something we believe in. It’s great because people here are the most talented in their fields.”

William Abbott, DTEX Systems graduate counter insider-threat intelligence engineer

After a year of working at DTEX Systems in the heart of Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen innovation precinct, young mathematician and bright spark William Abbott, 21, is in his element. He found his full-time role with DTEX after taking up an internship with the cyber intelligence company in his final year of advanced mathematical sciences at The University of Adelaide.

“I always thought I was OK at maths, which helps,” Abbott says.

“When I got to university, I decided to just do what I liked and hopefully follow my passion and see where it ended. Cyber security was probably one of the last places I thought I would go.”

At DTEX he found many ways to apply the mathematical theory he had learned to real-world problems, helping customers detect insider cyber security threats and manage large company computer networks through behaviour profiling.

“The team I’m working with is so open to questions,” he says.

“I ask a lot of questions and they are always able to answer or point me to someone who can. If I bring something I think will work – an idea – they give me actual feedback to improve it.”

At Lot Fourteen, Abbott can bounce his ideas off other bright minds working across the precinct.

“It’s a good ecosystem of sharing where, if we have lunch, we can sit down and talk and be open about ideas. It fosters a lot of creativity,” he says.

Meanwhile’ he is just focused on bringing his best ideas to the company and “giving back as much as my skills can allow”.

Alex Priest, Inovor Technologies aerospace engineer

Alex Priest believed he would have to leave South Australia, and even Australia, to find a career in aerospace engineering.

“I didn’t think it was going to be a possibility but now it very much is, it’s pretty awesome,” he says.

Priest, 25, began working for space technology company Inovor Technologies, based at Lot Fourteen, about two and a half years ago, after impressing CEO Dr Matthew Tetlow during an honours project at The University of Adelaide.

“As a kid I was always interested in science fiction (and) space-related things,” he says.

“At school, aerospace engineering was one of the things I saw I could do. I picked that quite early and just stuck with it.”

At Inovor, he gets to do mechanical designs for satellites, mission design and systems engineering. He is also doing work that began with his honours project, using simple ground-based cameras to monitor large satellites in very distant orbits, 36,000km above the Earth.

“When I first started, there were only about 10 people working here – they mentored me and helped me a lot,” Priest says.

“But, over the last year and a half, we’ve really expanded and we are up to 40 people now.”

Lot Fourteen is proving a perfect environment for his work.

“We get to interact and work on different projects with people – we’ve been working with Neumann Space, who are next door to us, and there’s Myriota,” he adds.

“Having more people with differing experiences to work off, all in the same space together, is quite unique and exciting.”

Pictured, Madison O’Brien.

This article originally appeared in Future Adelaide