The quickening pace of change has been a defining feature of the past ten years. As it stands there is no end to this tumultuous journey, with competing disruptive pressures transforming now-familiar business models.
With this is mind former, seeing former Telstra CEO David Thodey speak at the recent Advance Global Australian Summit was a must-attend for anyone wanting to gain insight into what’s around the next critical three years.
Since stepping down from this role, Thodey has become a key government adviser and also coaches some of Australia’s business elite in technology, innovation and corporate behaviour.
It seemed fitting then that Thodey spoke at Sydney’s Opera House, which has its own interesting transformation story. Much like the construction of one of Sydney’s most iconic buildings, he told the packed audience that the big end of town and Australia’s vibrant start up sector must work harder at collaborating.
“I wouldn’t say we’re bad at it [working together], we’re just not as good as we could be,” he said.
“It’s more cultural than anything else- you’ve got to create an openness and transparency to new ideas in your organisation. New ideas can be threatening to the establishment, so you’ve got to get a culture of continual learning and putting yourself out there.”
The ability to work together is become more important than ever as our workforce becomes increasingly digitised.
A survey of 1300 global CEOs conducted by KPMG revealed that 41% thought their company would be significantly transformed in the next three years, with 77% concerned about whether their company was keeping up with new technologies.
Faced with this 99% of the global CEOs surveyed expect to take action to develop new or existing talent.
Thodey pointed to muru-D, the startup accelerator backed by Telstra, as example of blossoming collaborative space and one that is adapting well to these forces.
“At Telstra, what we did with muru-D, it was less about investment and more about getting ideas into the company. The smaller startups benefit from learning about cashflow and paying salaries and we learnt about different ways to think so that we can get the flow going,” he said.
Despite this, Mr Thodey acknowledged there could be challenges and called on the government to maintain its support for new and different business models.
“Innovation is cultural, but you also have to invest in new ideas and that’s why R&D is so important. That’s why R&D tax credits are so important and we want to stimulate that,” he said.
“You need both [types of businesses] and that’s how you come to life as a nation, so it’s not an either or proposition. It’s how to we work together to create these attitudes of continual reinvention, of looking at markets as opportunities and trying to work together.”
So, as transformation continues to take place, collaboration between startups, big business and government will be essential to our future prosperity.