SWITCH festival shows the power and potential of cross-industry collaboration


I first met Mark Zawacki when I did the opening keynote at the ANZA Technology Conference in Silicon Valley in 2004, and Mark was also a speaker at the event. Mark has since founded the highly-regarded corporate accelerator 650Labs, which helps leading global corporates to drive innovation.

More recently I have met Catherine Stace, CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, who has brought inspiring and truly disruptive approaches to medical research philanthropy, by focusing on making research far more collaborative and effective rather than simply funding antiquated research models.

It is no surprise that collaboration between Mark and Catherine has created something exceptional: SWITCH Festival, to be held in Sydney 27-29 August.

The event brings together large corporates from different industries, entrepreneurs, innovators, universities, students and more with the express intent of fostering inter-industry collaboration and to support “unlikely alliances”.

Major participating organisations include ANZ, Australia Post, Blackmore’s, IAG, and Scentre Group (Westfield), which are each sending around 20 staff each, while other companies are sending smaller teams. They will bring intellectual property and energy to the event, to see how the exceptional network present can catalyse new cross-domain ideas and innovations. The intent is to create compelling cross-boundary ideas and innovation that could not have come from a single organisation.

The first day will be a rich conference day with some oustanding speakers. I will be presenting on The Future of Work and Organisations.

Over the following two days teams will compete for the innovation prizes. I am honoured to be one of the judges among a highly distinguished group.

There are already 150 participants and limited remaining places, but individual tickets are available until 23 August for a 50% discount using the code SWITCHVIP. Entrepreneurs and students get an extremely low registration fee.