By Holger Dielenberg.
The world is now small and outaspace seems closer than ever. These days, total connectivity, shared economy and co-working philosophies are enabling anyone – regardless of nationality, gender or geography to utilise local and offshore capabilities, collaborate and build solutions for global opportunities and export markets. It’s an exciting time to be alive.
This is especially true for people in Melbourne. We have all the right conditions to give Australian Made a new heartbeat.
Melbourne has strengths in engineering, information technology, energy and medical research and our design sector is flushed with fashion, furniture, product development and architecture to name but a few. Melbourne boasts the largest population of creative talent per capita in the southern hemisphere and we have a great appetite for sports and leisure activities. In short, here in Melbourne we have all the right influences and infrastructure to create globally competitive innovations across all markets… except for space exploration.
Supporting all of this are; a strong university system providing world class graduates, strong business and financial sectors, advanced logistics that have closed distance barriers, proximity to the largest Asian manufacturing centres on earth and the largest rising population of consumers. It’s also encouraging to see our Government supporting innovation, creativity, collaboration and our current economy enables us to leverage our cost advantage in high skilled professions.
To put all this into perspective, let’s step back for one paragraph. Industrial advances across all industries allowed third world countries to produce things better than first world countries when they compete at the bottom of the industrial food chain. Technology advances then levelled that playing field even further. Advanced manufacturing, industry 4.0 and machine learning will now enable everyone to compete at the middle and top of the industrial food chain. The world is becoming everyone’s oyster.
The culmination of the industrial and technological revolutions have lead us to a watershed moment where all industries in all countries are experiencing profound turbulent and unpredictable change in the face of urgent escalation in population growth and pollution. We have many traditional solutions but they don’t seem to work anymore. Dramatic disruption is all around us. Once again we have arrived at a moment in human evolution where extraordinary challenges and opportunities will push us into a new epoch. Private enterprises are now building rockets to Mars, AI will soon outperform humans in any job and sustainable energy is on the horizon. We’ve been in scenarios like this before so we should know that fear is unwarranted. Courage and curiosity will uncover grand opportunities and an amazing new way of life.
Melbourne has never been more ready to face these kinds of extraordinary challenges. We have the opportunity to collaboratively harness our sector strengths and move up the manufacturing value cycle where sustainability will come from leading in design, research and development, customised products and consulting.
This is a game of experienced and mature players, so how do we survive and join the lead? The conclusion is to innovate continuously. America, Northern Europe and Asia are already in this game. We need to be more heavily invested in this game.
I will be presenting a talk at Melbourne Knowledge Week this year where I’ll be diving into these themes in more detail.
Spoiler alert… a cluster approach to innovation that recognises sector strengths as active nodes can achieve market busting results via collaborative platforms. This approach complements and enhances existing capabilities and provides opportunities for research and development, creativity, workforce transitioning and overall a higher level of market productivity and competitiveness.
This approach will help more people at the grass roots level to be creative, inventive, resourceful and world changing, and let’s face it –
there are thousands more incredibly talented, entrepreneurial young bloods at the grass roots level than stuck inside corporations.