Wanted: Australia's next top ICT model

Wanted: Australia's next top ICT model

Summary: The future of Australian innovation needs new idols — a nerd contingent — to rival our sport gods, according to an AIIA roundtable yesterday.


The future of Australian innovation needs new idols — a nerd contingent — to rival our sport gods, according to an AIIA roundtable yesterday.

An innovative LZR Racer Speedo suit Credit: Speedo

"We don't talk about SME's," Sheryle Moon, CEO of the Australian Information and Industry Association (AIIA) said. "We don't talk about innovation."

We aren't making enough of our Zuckerbergs and Gates, according to Emilio Robles, director at public relations firm Howorth Communications: "We do have runs on the board but we don't highlight them," he said. We need to make more of the success stories, such as Graeme Wood, founder of Wotif.com, he said. "It's highlighting the guys who made a success."

The US has just introduced the American Competes Act, which makes the country's innovation a priority, according to AIIA's Moon. It combines symbolism, money and real activity, she said.

The optimism fostered by the US innovation environment is overwhelming, Alex Teoh, CEO of start-up Mint said. "They're so bullish," he said. "They know how to sell the dream to get funds. That culture is not here."

"We're seeing the Macquaries and Babcock and Browns flourishing through their use of the overseas markets," Paul Cousins, managing director of Fujitsu SaaS Practice said. "We're not pushing our own."

Moon agreed. "Even the Speedo suit, why didn't we talk about it?" she asked, saying when it came out, everyone was discussing if it was cheating, not praising the innovation that had brought it into being. It was a great ICT innovation, she said, involving hours of computer modelling.

The government needs to use symbolism to promote ICT, Moon said, such as having the Prime Minister chair the National Innovation Council. The opposite is currently occurring, she said. "No government department allows access to Facebook: It's a symbolic gesture."

Topics: Tech Industry, Emerging Tech

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Only if...

    If any potential IT nerds are female, good looking and available then I can't see why this initiative couldn't work well.
  • commercialising innovation

    There's no shortage of Aussie IT ideas and entrepreneurs. Instead, what's needed are indigenous incubators and support programmes.

    Which is what CeBIT Australia is doing by way of bringing the funders and the policy makers to the same table (or <a href="">conference</a>) as the innovators. We're even <a href="http://startups.sharmavishal.com/2008/03/summary-australian-startups-carnival.html">putting up</a> and <a href="http://transaction20.com/?q=about-techramp">facilitating prizes for startup competitions</a>.
  • oooops

    i work in a govt department, an am logged onto fbook right now.....
  • Right on the money.

    Australia does have a bunch of potential googles (I'd be happy with 1/100th of their market cap) and has the track record (e.g. real time financial markets trading, communications and surveillance leadership of the world in specific areas for a start).


    Suzanne, you are right on the money, the lack of debate and discussion is woeful, let alone the co-ordination. It wasn't even a real focus of the 2020 summit!


    That is why we probably succeed, we have to make a go of it internationally since home is ignoring us.

    Cheers, Peter.