Notes from the Australian Institute of Company Directors in Beijing


I am at the annual conference of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, held this year in Beijing. It is fantastic that Australian company directors are choosing to meet here rather than at home, broadening vistas and opportunities. The Grand Ballroom at China World Hotel is full, with around 500 people here.

While I don’t have access to Twitter from my iPad (I haven’t had time to try to set up a VPN on my laptop yet) I can at least blog, so I might be doing more of that while I am in Beijing this week.

For now, here are my presentation slides for my keynote on How Technology is Transforming Business this morning. These are just a slightly different version of the presentation I shared last week. You can also find a pdf version of the Transformation of Business framework on which the presentation is based.

Crowdsourcing among an awesome speaker line-up at Australian Business Congress


The Australian Chambers Business Congress on 1-2 June is shaping up to be one of the top business conferences of the year in Australia, with an awesome speaker line-up. The Congress is organized by the Australian Chamber Alliance, a consortium of all the major business chambers across Australia.

Speakers include Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Porter, Steve Wozniak, Tony Abbott, Anna Bligh plus an array of some of most interesting people in business in Australia and worldwide.

I will be speaking at the Congress on Friday 3rd about Crowdsourcing.

I will do my best to pack in as many practical insights as I can on how to grow your business using crowdsourcing tools. This topic will be a major focus for me for the rest of the year, so stand by for plenty of content on how to get results from crowdsourcing – the scoop will be at the Congress!

What would you do if you could solve a major world problem with technology and innovation?


The Imagine Cup is an initiative by Microsoft in which students from around the world to come up with technology solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems.

This morning at an event at the Powerhouse Museum it was announced that Sydney will host the global 2012 Imagine Cup. They showed a video, as below, of a number of people saying what world problem they would solve.

In the video I said that I would apply technology to learning, to ensure that all children around the world could learn to their fullest capability and fulfil their potential.

It is a great question to ask, because from questions, answers often come. What world problem would you solve with technology and innovation?

Keynote on Success in a Connected World at Think Business next week


May is going to be a very busy month. I have 10 speaking engagements in Australia and China over the next five weeks, as well as several ongoing consulting projects, and an ever-increasing array of active web projects on our plate.

Next week my one public event will be a breakfast keynote on Friday 13 for Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) St George and Sutherland Shire, at Doltone House Sylvania Waters.

See here for full details and registration (just $33). My topic is:

Success in a Connected World
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World-leading Australian crowdsourcing platform 99designs gets $35 million, shows depth of Australian tech


As I have written before, Australia is a global hub for crowdsourcing platforms, with the likes of, 99designs, DesignCrowd, Kaggle, Ideas While You Sleep and many more resident here.

We have tapped some of this Australian expertise for our events, notably our Future of Crowdsourcing Summit, held last November simultaneously in Sydney and San Francisco.

The latest news is that design competition platform 99designs, in its first external fundraising, has just received an investment of $35 million from major VC firm Accel Partners. Techcrunch reports that 99designs has been growing at 120% per year, and that the number of design competitions hosted by the firm has doubled in the last four months. While the company didn’t need money, it started to see the potential of investing in growth. According to Techcrunch,
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Video and notes on the future of the 21st century


I spoke last night at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, to speak at the last of their GoMA Talks on the 21st century which accompany their current exhibit of 21st century art. The topic was the future of the 21st century, with panellists:

– Antony Funnell, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense
– Tony Albert, artist
– Ross Dawson, futurist
– Dr Melissa Gregg, Senior Lecturer in Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at Sydney University and author of Work’s Intimacy
– Tim Longhurst, futurist

Here is the video of the full session:

Watch live streaming video from queenslandartgallery at

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Digital Sydney is crowdsourcing its visual identity – submissions close soon!


Since Sydney is my primary home, I have been delighted to see the local digital, creative, social media, and startup worlds explode over the last few years. There have always been pockets of world-class practice here, but we are now getting to the point where Sydney is starting to rank in the top-tier of digital cities around the world on a number of different levels.

The NSW government was long the least active of the states in supporting the digital and creative industries, however that has shifted significantly recently, with the City of Sydney also picking up the ball in a big way over the last few years.

One of the government initiatives is a formal Digital Sydney program which is currently being launched. They are opting to crowdsource their visual identity, though the crowd is just inhabitants of NSW. A prize of A$10,000 is up for grabs – see the video and details below.

There are already lots of other initiatives and activities in this space, and more all the time. It looks like Digital Sydney will contribute to the great momentum building in the creative and digital spaces in this wonderful city.

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Pushstart adds a new start-up seed accelerator to the Australian tech scene


Today at the excellent SydStart event is the official launch of Pushstart, adding to the increasingly rich network of support available to tech start-ups in Australia.

There are two key elements to Pushstart: a mentor matching service, bringing together a pool of currently over 50 mentors with start-ups through the year, and a Start-Up accelerator, which will offer a small amount of capital, mentoring, and some physical space for a 3 month program.

The reference points for the start-up accelerator are of course the (primarily) US-based Y Combinator and TechStars
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11 recommendations to create the future of government


The Institute of Public Affairs of Australia (IPAA), the professional association supporting senior Australian public service executives, is not prone to rash statements.

Thus it is very encouraging to see its new policy paper, The Future Course of Modern Government, provide some pointed insights and recommendations on how to create the government of the future.

I have put the 11 recommendations provided at the end of the report at the bottom of this post. The full policy paper is absolutely worth a read for anyone interested in the topic.
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Breakfast keynote on Building Business in a Connected World in Melbourne next Wednesday


The majority of my keynote speaking engagements are to executives or managers within organizations, or at large conferences, so there are relatively few opportunities for people to come see me speak (aside from on our collection of keynote speaking videos (which we will be adding to shortly)).

However next Wednesday the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne has engaged me to give the keynote at the first of their business breakfast series, intended for businesses in the region. The topic of my keynote is:

Building Your Business in a Connected World
The spectacular rise of our hyper-connected world offers fabulous opportunities for those businesses ready to seize them. As bandwidth grows, smartphones and tablets take off, and social media such as Facebook become commonplace, the way customers find suppliers and successful businesses operate are rapidly changing. In this compelling keynote Ross Dawson will provide specific advice on how to tap three vital aspects of business in a connected world: the valuable tools of cloud computing, the power of personal branding, and the extraordinary resources available through crowdsourcing.

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