Anyone working in the information technology and innovation sectors in Australia should be able to look back on 2015 as the year when everything began to change. At least that is the great expectation, and certainly the signs are good.
The year was bookended by two big developments: The creation of the Commonwealth’s Digital Transformation Office announced in January by Prime Minister Tony Abbott (with his then Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull by his side), and in December, the sweeping new National Innovation and Science Agenda unveiled by Mr Turnbull (this time as Prime Minister.)
These two foundational initiatives from the Australian Government are catalysts for great change in this country, and there has been enormous industry goodwill extended to both.
As a historical footnote, the DTO announcement coincided with the beginning of the end for Mr Abbott’s prime ministership. Two days after heralding a new era for modern government, Mr Abbott embraced anachronistic government by awarding the Queen’s husband Prince Philip a knighthood, to calamitous political effect.
And so here we are, and what a difference a year makes.
In July, InnovationAus.com published for the first time as a commercial enterprise, leading with a story about the DTO’s first full-time chief executive officer, Paul Shetler. And what an unbelievable six months of publishing it has been since then!
We started with the view to improve the quality of reporting and commentary on public policy issues related to Australia’s innovation sector. I had been blogging under the InnovationAus.com masthead for a couple of years, and it was clear that there was an opportunity to create a commercial publishing operation focused entirely on these issues.
If timing is everything in politics, then it is certainly important in publishing as well. Many, many people have remarked at how ‘lucky’ InnovationAus.com has been with the timing of its launch. And I suppose this is true (if you define luck as the intersection of preparation and opportunity.)
The reality is that the dire state of innovation policy had been dreadfully under-reported by not only the mainstream press, but the mainstream technology media as well.
So here we are at the end of 2015, and we are very pleased that innovation policy is a priority issue in this country.
As an aside, I attended the Innovation Statement lockup in Canberra earlier this month, where I was seated next to the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann and Greg Jennett. Later, at the Prime Minister’s press conference, I found a seat up the front, squeezed between two legendary print reporters – the AFR’s Laura Tingle and The Australian’s Sid Maher.
I have written about this stuff for 25 years. These are the not the people who usually turn up to technology press conferences. (And it is not usually the Prime Minister who makes technology announcements.)
It remains to be seen, but you would have to hope that this is a fundamental shift in Australia, and that technology issues become part of the mainstream conversation about the economy and society.
For us, our focus remains on practical and insightful reporting on public policy issues that have an impact on Australian business. Regardless of whether the caravan rolls on, InnovationAus.com will continue keep a laser focus on innovation policy.
Our tagline at InnovationAus.com was launched in 2015 as ‘Public Policy and Innovation in Australia.’
As we move into 2016, we will modify this slightly (or iterate, to use modern parlance) to ‘Public Policy and Business Innovation’ to better reflect the goal of these government policies we report on. That is, to create an environment that allows businesses to innovate and grow.
We are incredibly grateful to our readership, who have provided generous (and sometimes very direct!) feedback. We know we are on to something here, that we are writing about important issues that readers are passionate about.
Just like the rest of the industry, we move in to 2016 with great confidence.
EVENT CALENDAR LAUNCH
In January, InnovationAus.com will officially launch a calendar of events, ranging from big picture discussion events to deep dive forum-style roadshows.
We have scoped-out a series of Signature Events ranging from the innovation and social policy focus of CivicNation, to the practical business-oriented forums that drive neccessary thinking around everything from Intellectual Property, to landing in China, to Medical Technology, conquering the tyranny of distance in regional Australia, and selling to government.
We will also unveil plans for the funkiest Innovation Disco this country has ever seen.
Our events are open to sponsorship partners right now. And we will officially launch our First Half calendar for 2016 with a networking information evening hosted at the Swaab Attorneys offices in Sydney on Wednesday 20th of January.
We look forward to working with you in 2016, and wish all of our readers and partners a wonderful Christmas and New Year break.