Bridget Gray's Blog

Bridget blogs about Media, Digital & Communications

Bridget Gray

Managing Director
Harvey Nash

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2013 Harvey Nash CIO Event Newsletter!

With over 100 attendees from the local Sydney technology community, I was delighted to see so many familiar faces in the audience and some new ones too. For those of you who could not join us on the night, we hope to see you next time.

Our next CIO event isn't until next year; however I hope you enjoy reading about this year's in this newsletter. Here you will find photographs of the event, video interviews with the panellists and a short film of the event itself. 

I have been fortunate enough to attend these types of events all over the globe; however the Sydney event was particularly memorable, as we discussed a combination of topics of which I am particularly passionate, including the evolving role of the CIO, innovation in Australia and the opportunities of emerging technologies.  

Thank you to our CIO panel for making the time to participate in the discussion: Luc Hennekens, from Qantas; Diane Fernley-Jones from Leighton Contractors; Tim Thurman from the ASX and Kelly Ferguson from Mi9.

One point that came out of the event that I would particularly like to highlight is how we celebrate our technology successes in Australia. Australia has a good reputation when it comes to innovation in science and technology but we do not often celebrate our successes or triumphs. Instead we look enviously at the powerhouse IT companies of Silicon Valley; we look at Israel, described in a recent book as 'the start-up nation'; we look at the 10,000 PhD engineers graduating in China each year and at the consumer electronics markets of Japan and South Korea. 

Although we don't discuss it very much, Australia is a nation of invention and innovation. Whether it's creating the basis of WiFi, the original C++ program that Google Maps is now based on, the revolutionary Cochlear implant which has helped thousands around the world to hear, or the first computerised braille writer for the blind. We have been creating and inventing technology for decades. 
Australia is an increasingly technology and social media literate nation. Two million of us are on Twitter, 10 million of us are on Facebook, over 2.2million of us are on LinkedIn. Nearly a third of Australian homes have four screens: television, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Given this level of engagement it is no wonder that so many of you here this evening cited social media and mobile as priorities for the next 12 months.

After the tablet computer was launched, it took less than three years to achieve ten per cent market penetration of the consumer market in the US; by contrast televisions took around eleven years to reach the same milestone.

We have seen new technologies sweep away existing businesses.  The internet destroyed the encyclopaedia business and newspaper classified ads.  Digital technology rendered traditional cameras obsolete--and former industrial giant Eastman Kodak collapsed. Newspapers face an existential crisis due to the rise of the free, quality content on the internet, and we still grapple with the paywall concept.
Australia is in a unique position to harness these changes and to increase our innovative behaviour. Inherently, we are a nation of disruptors and whilst innovation can occur in many different settings, it can only happen in an environment like Australia, which is open and hungry for progress and change.

Election fever and changes at the senior levels of government has seen a myriad of policies on the NBN, innovation centres and technology in Australia, however we can be assured that our CIOs are, compared to global findings, some of the most adaptive, change-friendly and able in the world to handle the challenges ahead of us.

Most of you cited retaining and developing talent as a key concern. From speaking to so many of you at the event, it also seems the consensus of opinion is that if we want to maintain and grow our innovative behaviour and continue our journey to being a world-class technology powerhouse, then we need to encourage and support the education system, especially in key disciplines like science, engineering and mathematics. I know that some of you attending the event regularly teach in universities and other further education institutions, and I congratulate you on helping to create the next generation of CIOs in Australia.

Many of you came along to the event because you are interested in doing more to support and drive the local technology community to be even more successful and inspirational. There is a plethora of good things happening right here on our doorstep but together, armed with knowledge and new connections, we can increase the reputation of Australia as a key technology player in the global marketplace, harnessing the opportunity and attracting the best talent the world has.

We trust the Harvey Nash Sydney CIO Event supported some of these common goals helping us all to get to know each other better. Hopefully this should lessen our chances of missed opportunities, maintain the great things we collectively have going on and boost awareness and confidence generally in our capability.

I would like to express how very proud and excited I am to be leading Harvey Nash in Australia, with some of the world's most innovative, entrepreneurial and collaborative technology talent. 

I'd love to hear your feedback about the event so please do get in touch. I look forward to seeing you all throughout spring and summer. 

Best wishes