What people value in creating better lives: differences around the world

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The OECD has created a wonderful interactive visual map of the world, showing the Better Life Index – what people value most in their lives – in different countries around the world.

OECD_BetterLife
Source: OECD

It is fascinating to see what people value the most around the world. When we look at cultural differences between countries, the simple question of what people value show deep differences, and strong insights into national identity.
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Creating the future of professional services – Sydney 11 March

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The subtitle of my first book, 15 years ago now, was ‘The future of professional services’. I still believe it’s an incredibly important topic, not just in the future of business, but also in the future of work and society.

As such I am delighted to be collaborating with one of the world’s leaders in professional services strategy, George Beaton, in organising the Clients and Firms of the Future: How to Compete conference in Sydney on 11 March.
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Innovation and future-proofing in mid-tier firms: The central role of CFOs

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Last week I gave the keynote on Future-Proofing Your Organization at a function organized by American Express to launch their very interesting American Express CFO Future-proofing Survey.

There were many interesting insights in the report, with many media outlets picking up that 45% of CFOs of Australian mid-tier firms believe their company is at risk of failure in the next 3-5 years if innovation is not prioritized.

Some of the main themes coming from the qualitative research are shown in this graphic from the report:

Amex-CFO

Source: American Express CFO Future-proofing Survey
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Report: The Future of Digital Australia in 2025 and what Australians think

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I have been recently working with McAfee, now part of Intel Security, to write a report on Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025, being launched this morning in Parliament House in Canberra as part of the Federal Government’s Stay Smart Online Week.

SafeguardingFuture2025_cover_250_shadowThe report consists of my insights into the Future of Home, Social, Work, and GenNext in 2025, together with commentary from McAfee and other experts on how to keep safe in these worlds.

Click on the report cover image left to download the report.

Accompanying the report, we did a survey of what Australians think about their digital future in 2025. The results of the survey are in the video below. There are some fascinating insights.

All the assets are on the Intel Security 2025 site. I’ll comment more on both the report and the survey results later this week.

For now, please feel free to share the resources. I would love to hear your thoughts on the report.

TECH SECURITY INFOGRAPHIC vimeo HD 1080.mp4 from McAfee APAC on Vimeo.

Creating a prosperous national future: networks and new industries

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Today’s issue of AFR Boss magazine includes highlights of the discussion at the recent first BOSS True Leaders’ Legacy Dinner, where 14 of us had an excellent dinner and debated “how Australia could seize the opportunities of the knowledge economy”.

It was a fantastic and sometimes heated discussion, most enjoyable. The highlights of the conversation are published in the online magazine.

At the outset I said (quotes were severely edited for length):

Ross Dawson: We have over a million Australians who live around the world. This Australian diaspora is a way of linking the extraordinary talent we have in this country to the rest of the planet. Far more than any other country, we must look at digital productivity and what that affords us. Australia in the last six years or so has become a truly networked economy with a network mentality.

As I’ve noted before, entrepreneurial migration is highly valuable in forming global networks.

Australia has come a long, long way in the last 6-8 years in becoming a nation with a true network mentality. This is essential given our geographical isolation. However I am becoming concerned that our progress is not keeping pace with the rest of the world.

Later in the conversation I was quoted:

Ross Dawson: How do we get new levels, layers and structures of capital markets where money gets allocated to the ventures that have the greatest potential financial and social impact? We still have explicit and implicit industrial policy in Australia which is in favour of legacy industries, not the industries of Australia’s future or potential future.

Crowdfunding is just one of range of new capital market structures that are allocating funds to where they can have the most value. National regulation is critical in enabling or disabling these innovative approaches.

The nature of politics is that legacy industries have the funds, clout, and connections to make governments pay attention, while newer industries don’t have the impact or access. Yet they are where our future lie. It is critical that attention – and in some cases resources – are spent on the networked, knowledge-based economy that will bring our future prosperity.

Driving retail success through visible uniqueness

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My wonderful wife, the talented jewellery designer Victoria Buckley, has had her boutique in Sydney’s historical Strand Arcade for 21 years.

The Strand is the best possible location for her in Sydney, with its classic Victorian architecture and rosta of leading Australian designers such as Akira, Alex Perry, Scanlan Theodore and sass & bide.

The Strand is producing a series of videos titled We Are The Makers, featuring the stores in the arcade. Below is the video of Victoria, which in less than 2 minutes successfully captures some of the vitality and creativity that is expressed in her jewellery. A very nice write-up of the interview is also available.


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In the Asian century, Australia is becoming Asian too

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Earlier this week I gave the opening keynote at the Institute of Chartered Accountants/ Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability Thought Leadership Forum in Adelaide.

The day’s theme was The Australian Accounting Profession and Asia, with a strong emphasis on education given the participation of most of the heads of accounting departments of Australian universities. As such in opening the event I was asked to speak on the broader theme of “Australia’s Engagement with Asia”.

In my keynote I started from the broader context of the ancient and modern history of Asia and Australia, looked at current trends including demographic shifts that are shaping our relationship, the most important intersections between our economies and cultures, and finally the leadership required for Australia and Asia to engage more deeply into the future.

In the course of my research for the keynote I looked at changes in Australia’s population, and generated the following very interesting chart:

Asian-born-Australians
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
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On the importance of energizing holidays for entrepreneurs

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I have just returned from holidays in Jervis Bay, a stunning region set in a marine national park a few hours drive south of Sydney. It is one of those places scattered around the world that feels magical in some inexpressible way.

Summer is Here | Jervis Bay
Image credit: Hadi Zaher

It was just a one week holiday, my first proper break in the last year, which has been perhaps the most intense year in my life. Victoria and I did take a little time off between this last Christmas and New Year but I ended having to do a some urgent client work and many interviews including Sunrise, Today, and Morning Show over New Year so it wasn’t a real holiday.

Switching off

During the holiday I was almost completely switched off from digital world, with limited connectivity where we were staying helping me avoid more than very briefly glancing at email or Twitter every day or so, though I did need to respond to a couple of enquiries.
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Metropolitan IQ and Urban metabolism: Great case studies of innovative, collaborative cities

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Last week I went to the launch of an excellent issues paper created by The Committee for Sydney, titled #wethecity: Collaborating to Compete in the Digital Era.

Lucy Turnbull, chair of Committee of Sydney, notes in her opening comments that:
Cities are collaborating to compete and the ones that collaborate most compete best.

The paper focuses on the challenges and opportunities for Sydney, with the summary recommendations at the bottom of this post.

However to understand how innovative cities can be designed, the paper notes that [Leading cities] invest in the art and practice of what we could describe as “systematic serendipity”.

It draws on 16 excellent case studies of how to develop “metropolitan IQ” and a healthy “urban metabolism” (analogies I of course love), including both international and Australian examples. These are summarized below and described in detail in the paper:
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Future Creative Drinks in Sydney on 31 May – hope to see you there!

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A good while ago now I used to run Party Alert Network, a series of events, drinks, and parties that were open to all. In the spirit of bringing together interesting people I am organizing a drinks on 31 May in Sydney, with the theme of Future Creative, since I expect pretty much all of the people there to match that description. :-)

future_creative_flyer_500w
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