Saturday, January 31, 2015

Assessing the Future of the Asia-Pacific - US/Australia Dialogue

Extracts from Malcolm Turnbulls speech in USA. 

These are the most exciting times in human history - the pace and velocity of change and the opportunities so presented are literally without precedent. 

The technology of connectivity has raced ahead of our own imagination as to how to use it, not to speak of our understanding as to how to govern it. 

Already most people in the developed world are connected to the Internet and mobile 24/7.

Ambitious economic and political initiatives by the Charismatic new leaders in the world’s two most populous nations, President Xi of China and Prime Minister Modi of India - presents a unique opportunity for Australia 

These Countries moving from investment to consumption - a massive lower class moving to a tech savvy middle class - wanting to consume 

In 10- 20 years there will be more middle class consumers in Asia than anywhere else . 

With the advent of connectivity and globalisation - opportunities will abound - don't get in the way of lower class emerging ii to middle class consumers - go for the ride !!

So, how do countries like Australia and the US take advantage if this emergence and maintain our wage levels, our social safety nets, our first world economies?

Developing strong communication. 

What they can do is invest effectively in enablers of a sophisticated, adaptable economy – in beneficial areas such as skills and training, education, research and economically justified infrastructure.  

In the crucial area of education and research, encouragement for excellence is important – but perhaps even more important is ensuring less able students gain the strongest possible skills and grounding, given they are most vulnerable to being left behind by the economic shifts underway. 

Australia's Andrew Robb is looking to complete free Trade Agreements with these superpowers in 2015 - to become a supplier to this emerging Powerful middle class !

Transforming Australia into an Innovation Hub of Technology

A great piece by Malcolm Turnbull

I am often asked, ‘what is the government doing to drive innovation across the economy’?

This sounds like a contradiction - an oxymoron - because governments, despite their best intentions, are rarely hotbeds of innovation.

Nothing drives performance quite like the bottom line, so for business there is an incentive to continually innovate – to incrementally improve performance to maximise returns. The incentives are not as clear cut for governments.

But nonetheless government has an important role to play in supporting innovation.

We need to get the fundamentals right, to create an environment where there is an incentive for people and business to innovate. This includes balancing the budget and investing in the enablers of productivity and innovation like science, research, education and infrastructure.

Australia’s competitiveness as a high wage and high cost economy is contingent on this. As Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, has pointed out, 65 per cent of Australia’s economic growth per capita between 1964 and 2005 can be attributed to improvements in our use of capital, labour and technological innovation.

This growth was, in large part, the result of a labour force skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Over the next 50 years STEM will be central to Australia’s economic competitiveness. But with only half of Year 12 students today studying science, down from 94 per cent 25 years ago, governments across Australia must continue to invest in STEM to ensure that our graduates can find employment in the fastest growing occupations – three quarters of which will require STEM skills.

In last year's Industry and Innovation statement  the government announced the repeal of Labor's misguided changes to  Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOP) which made it prohibitively expensive for start up companies to give their employees a share in the business they were building. We are also promoting STEM in schools and are rolling out the NBN more quickly and at less cost to consumers, creating the plumbing for the digital economy.

These initiatives are all about providing Australians with even more opportunities to succeed - to create, to innovate and to be more productive.

Government also has an obligation to shrug off its conservative shackles and innovate its own operations and lead by example.

We can talk about the benefits of new technologies or we can realise the opportunities afforded by new technologies and use these as case studies of what can be achieved.

I regularly hear people talk about the uniqueness of government, that there is no point applying business principles to government problems because the two are somehow unrelated. While there are certainly differences, there are many more similarities between service delivery agencies and businesses in the services sector, including a number of common challenges.

One such challenge is investing in ICT in ways that enables business and government to deliver services that meet the expectations of customers.

This is an area where government can learn a great deal from business, particularly the banking sector which has invested heavily in technology to digitise services.

In compute terms, government is not very big. Just consider the sheer volume of social media transactions that occur every minute of the day: 280,000 tweets are sent, 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube, there are 2.4 million Google searches and 1.6 million likes on Facebook – and these figures will already be out of date.

And yet at $6 billion a year, 1.6 per cent of the federal budget is spent on ICT. When combined with the states and territories, government expenditure on ICT accounts for a third of all ICT spending in Australia. Given that two thirds of this expenditure is operational, there is considerable scope to not only realise savings, but to significantly improve the quality and availability of public services by improving the way government invests in and uses technology.

The Internet is the most accessible, productive and cost efficient way for government to deliver services to the public and for the public to engage with government. Driven in large part by the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, the public expects to be able to engage with government seamlessly over the Internet.

If we are serious about promoting the benefits of innovation, government must improve the quality and availability of its own services.

This is why the Prime Minister and I last week announced that the government will establish a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) within the communications portfolio, to deliver all major services digitally by default, and ensure that all services can be completed digitally from start to finish.

This means that for all major services, in time, users will no longer need to visit a shop front or sit on the phone to a call centre part way through a transaction due to poor functionality.

Modelled on the UK's hugely successful Government Digital Services (GDS), Australia's DTO will transform the service delivery experience, operating more like a start up than a traditional government agency.

The DTO will be made up of small teams of developers, designers, researchers and content specialists who will use technology to make services simpler, clearer and faster to use for the public and business.

Consistent with its mission to innovate, the DTO will promote a flexible and nimble culture - one that values principles and frameworks over rigid rules that are more likely to stifle innovation than foster it.

And as digital services improve and customers choose to interact more and more digitally, the potential for government to realise large savings is also significant, particularly when you consider that agencies still send about 250 million letters and manage 150 million over the counter interactions a year.

Manual interactions of this kind are not only costly, they are less convenient, efficient and accurate than digital transactions, with research from the UK estimating that online transactions are 30 times cheaper than postal transactions and a staggering 50 times cheaper than face-to-face transactions.

But to realise these savings the DTO cannot be driven by savings for savings sake.

Savings will inevitably follow if services are so compelling, accessible and easy to use that the public actually seeks them out.

The DTO will also work with state and territory governments to identify opportunities for collaboration, to streamline service delivery across all tiers of government.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Succession Planning Day for 2015.

I am really looking forward to attending Craig West's Succession Planning Day for 2015.

As a business person, I know how important it is to get one's business "Investor Ready" or "ready for an exit" or "ready for your team to eventually take over your business so you can retire,"  maximising the value to you. 

If you are an accountant, lawyer or financial planner, be sure to attend and find out how you can add value to your clients in this all important stage of your client's business! 

Craig is known as Australia's leading business succession and exit planning adviser, and we are delighted to invite you to attend this event. As a 10X subscriber type in the code SPD10X on the payment page, to book your ticket, and you will receive $75 off the regular  ticket price. 


Mel 9 Feb, Bris 11 Feb, Syd 13 Feb

presented by

financial observer


Looking forward to seeing you there

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You know you are an entrepreneur if....


Ryan Holmes CEO at Hootsuite

Vancouver, Canada Area

Beisdes being  passionate, resilient and a member of "club fear"  you might be an entrepreneur if...

You’re restless, and no achievement ever seems good enough.
When most people reach a goal they think, “I did it! Time to sit back and enjoy it for a while.” An entrepreneur thinks, “Great, what’s next?” Take the late fashion maven Coco Chanel. She started with a simple hat line, expanded into women’s clothing, and eventually moved into jewelry, accessories and perfume. By the time of her death in 1971, Chanel had not only left behind an iconic brand, but a business empire that was bringing in $160 million annually. Entrepreneurs like Chanel don’t stop with one big achievement. They’re always itching to find and take on the next challenge.

You’re a control freak. Throughout my career, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to strike a balance between controlling my business and letting the talented people around me take the reins. It turns out that many of my entrepreneur friends struggle with the same challenge.

 It’s great to have a CEO who cares about all the details of a company, but when that person needs to be involved at every level, it can become detrimental to getting things done. It can also stress out employees, who have been brought on precisely so you don’t have to make each and every decision.

Luckily, we can take some comfort in knowing that super entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates have all been described as control freaks.

You’re a masochist. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to love a little pain and a lot of risk. Consider the fact that 75 percent of new startups fail. Only a masochist sets himself up to face those kind of odds, straight out of the gate. And it doesn’t get much better after that, at least not at first. You’ll struggle for money. You’ll work unimaginably long hours. You’ll be lonely, because while everyone else is out partying or watching movies, you’re toiling away … often alone. Serial entrepreneurs—who start and run businesses one after another—could be considered even more masochistic, because they go into each new venture knowing what’s coming.

You have a love-hate relationship with money. Entrepreneurs generally fall in love with making money really early in life. A young Warren Buffett, for instance, had a paper route for the Washington Post and made money selling everything from lost golf balls to gum, stamps and magazines—all before he graduated from high school. I got my start washing windows of local businesses and selling snacks on paintball fields when I was still in elementary school.

But, eventually, many entrepreneurs are driven less by money and more by the innate thrill of launching a new venture and the freedom and control that come with it. By the time I reached college, my own attitudes had already started to shift. I was on the path to a law degree and a secure, well-paying job. Instead, I dropped out to start a pizza restaurant because it was more of a challenge and I could do it my way.

You’re a black sheep, and maybe even a dropout. Many entrepreneurs describe themselves as not fitting in with the crowd. I definitely felt that way in high school. Lots of notable entrepreneurs have even ended up ditching the traditional education system altogether. Tech titan Bill Gates, billionaires Ted Turner and Li Ka-shing, Richard Branson and McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc are just some examples of widely successful entrepreneurs who all dropped out of high school or college. While it’s not always easy to be the outsider, it’s exactly this quality— seeing things through a different lens from the rest of the world—that can help move society forward and drive innovation.

People think you’re crazy.

Because entrepreneurs tend to think along different wavelengths, their ambitions can often come across as crazy to friends and family—especially before the vision has been made a reality.

Take, for example, Ruth Handler, who created the world’s most iconic plastic doll: Barbie. In the 1950s, Handler was met with doubt and criticism (including from her own husband) for proposing a doll that looked more like an adult than a baby or child. She came up with the notion after seeing her own daughter playing with paper dolls that looked like adults. Handler, of course, went forward with the idea anyway, and the rest is history.