Transcript of Question & Answer Session Digital Disruption – Opportunities for Innovation and Growth

Phillip Isaacs (Enervision Australia Pty Ltd)

Phillip Isaacs, I’m Managing Director of Enervision Australia Pty Ltd, my question I suppose is directed to the Microsoft end of the group there, but probably each of you. Will the innovation and growth increase or decrease the level of security for personal intellectual property and data. I’m concerned that most people I talk to are worried about access to their data on the whole internet sea, so is the research going into improving the levels of security patrol?

Sarv Girn

From my perspective the importance of privacy is extremely critical, particularly in this growth period around digital. And a lot of the work around security as well, it’s probably hidden but there is – there is some key pieces of research happening across the industry on how to safe guard consumers in this more online world, both in terms of children and how to protect them from the nasties out there, but also how to safeguard data, and I know NICTA is doing a lot of deep work around encryption and how to make that available to the right people. But a lot of those innovations are sitting behind the front end that you see, when you consume the service. It’s working with the IT suppliers, it’s working with the research houses and inevitably for the trust to be maintained and online and digital, it’s actually critical that consumers and businesses feel safe in that environment.

Peter Leonard (Gildbert + Tobin)

Peter Leonard from Gilbert + Tobin. We’ve talked a lot about digital disruption, and I think one constancy that I’ve seen in 30 years of working in the technology sector is that too many parents want smart kids to do law and medicine, and too many smart kids continue to do law and medicine, and we briefly mentioned before the decline in enrolments in set skills in – in universities. I think that we’ve got a much deep problem, and that is that our schools, our career counsellors in schools, our teachers in schools, don’t actually understand what disruption is meaning and where the schools’ needs are for Australia today, let alone a decade away. And further I think the universities have been incredibly slow to innovate as well. I had a look a little while back at computer science curricular at a number of the major universities, because I’m trying to talk my son out of doing law and doing something useful instead, and the curricular read like the network administrators’ skill set of a decade ago, it was just remarkable really. So it’s really … To throw out the challenge how do we actually get through to 14 year olds what the worlds going to be like and what the skills are that they should be developing, those set skills when the schools don’t get it and the career counsellors don’t get it.

Sarv Girn

But that’s – it comes down to the ecosystem or the environment you create and it’s not just about looking at the schools and addressing that, because once you’ve looked at that then the next phase that I see is when you go to the graduate recruitment fairs the blue chip companies are there, but the start-ups are not there. So it’s actually about addressing not just the educational aspects and making sure the innovation and the disruptive skills are being taught at an early age, but the right controls are being set up beyond that, whether it’s universities or whether its employment taking a year out to try and create a start-up or whether it’s actually putting in some kinds of incentives for investors to invest in start-ups and create more of that know-how. I mean certainly in looking at graduates we take on a lot of graduates within the technology function within RBA, and yes we have to compete with other banks and other firms for that prime talent, but also what we’re seeing increasingly and maybe it’s not a factor of the education but many of them are choosing now to go to the start-up world themselves, because they’ve seen the lures of Silicon Valley they think they can do the next Facebook and they should. So the challenge is actually not just competing with the other banks to find talent, but it’s actually the start-up world. And that’s just happened through natural culture that we’re working within and it’s obviously not as strong as it needs to be. You know as people said earlier but clearly addressing multiple points in schools, universities and the right incentives to encourage innovation, that’s the only way over time we’re going to accelerate some of this … the desperately needed skills.

Ian Opperman

Thank you very much, my name is Ian Opperman, I’m the CEO of a structured company based in Sydney, doing financial services and venturing into agricultural services. I feel particularly privileged to be able to be part of this conversation today because I work with [inaudible] during those exciting times, I am keen to see [inaudible] which is very exciting. And I had the opportunity to participate in a number of conversations like this over the last four or five years. I’m just wondering given that a lot of the issues that have been talked about here are issues that we know we’re beginning to understand a little more deeply, would we still be having this conversation in five years’ time? And if the answer is yes we’ll be then having this conversation in 10 years’ time. Specifically around the [inaudible].

Sarv Girn

Okay I think these conversations will be had in five, 10 years’ time, but our concept of digital will change. We thought we had it figured 10 years ago when PCs were on every desk and the mobiles are now wearable technology, so I think the pace at which we’re going the definition of digital will be dramatically different in five years’ time and we’ll be grasping different challenges and that growth that I talked about just online that’s going to be a key factor in this part of the world for us is how we deal with that opportunity and that risk. So I think the discussions will be the same, the venue might be different but … And the challenges will be different, but I think the topic and core thing will be the same.