TO ENSURE a sustainable future, communities must create innovative products and look towards industries that aren't reliant on environmental factors, says Bendigo Inventor Awards chair David Noble.
He first came to Bendigo in 2005, when the region was crippled by drought.
The town's reliance on climate was a clear sign of the need for innovation and invention, Mr Noble said.
But it doesn't have to be grand-scale ideas - often it's the smallest ones that make the biggest difference," he said.
But people must start exploring and answering questions in order to create valuable things.
"Once something has been created, it seems so obvious to everyone else," he said.
"So often people say 'if that's such a great idea, why has no one thought of it'. But maybe they have, and the person didn't have faith in their own ability."
With so many roadblocks in the way of commercial success, Mr Noble said it could be daunting for people to turn an idea into reality.
But events like the Bendigo Inventor Awards help link people with the right networks and open up opportunities fot those wanting to invent.
Past entries include a laser levelling tool for a bike, a plumbing set-up system and a easy-access water-bottle holder for a bike.
"People think they're not very creative, but then I ask them to think of something familiar, identify a problem and think of ways to solve stuff," Mr Noble said.
"Finding solutions is the first step to the innovative process."
The 2014 Bendigo Inventor Awards close on August 26 at 5pm. To enter, go to www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/inventor or call Dawn Holland on 5434 6247,