AIRG National Conference 18–19th February 2013 Wollongong NSW

“Grand Technology Challenges: Australasian Industry’s Future Place in the World” Reported by Leonie Walsh and Greg Smith


AIRG’s National Meeting was held in Wollongong, New South Wales in February 2013. The meeting explored how changes in Technology and its Management can impact the future of Industry. Specifically, the conference focused on a number of notable “Grand Technology Challenges” and considered how these major endeavors are likely to change and/or challenge industry in Australia and New Zealand into the future.

For example, the conference considered how the broadband capabilities, made possible by the National Broadband Network, would change how industrial activities operate across various sectors.

Furthermore, the conference explored how the growing global management trend for dairy and food technologies will impact on the future of these industries in Australasia and New Zealand?

New and enabling technologies for minerals extraction and refining were considered in terms of how they can change the mining sector, both in Australasia and globally.

Finally, the meeting considered how key Australasian medical and biotechnology outcomes are best deployed to extract value within Australasia and globally.

The opening address examined how innovation and technology is being managed in enterprises, including SMEs across Australasia, to create international competitiveness. An innovation framework was presented in which 5 conditions that need to be met were outlined:

o Powerful financial incentive to seek innovation;
o Being excited by better ways of doing things;
o Leadership willing and prepared to put new ides in place; o Complete confidence of the use of IT; and,
o A business environment that is measurable.

Effective collaboration was also recognized as a key enabler contributing to international competitiveness with Australia rating poorly in in several key areas that have been shown to impact collaboration effectiveness:

o Use of IT platforms and Virtual environments;
o Standards and Knowledge management - how we talk to each other; and, o Learning and expertise networks.