GFCC Global Innovation Summit second day highlights

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

On the second day, the GFCC Global Innovation Summit Crossing the Chasm: Health, Innovation and the Future Economy connected global leaders working on consulting, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, space industry, academia, and advanced medical research to discuss priority areas and industries for the future economy. Other topics included leadership for the future and skill development to transition to the digital economy.

See below highlights of each session:

Leader’s perspective

GFCC Chm. Charles O. Holliday Jr. interviewed Karen Andrews, Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, on the country’s economic recovery plan and manufacturing strategy for the future.

COVID-19 impacted economies worldwide. It was not different in Australia. At the peak of the economic fallout, the country lost 1,3 million jobs.

Tourism, hospitality, and the high-education, three key economic sectors for the country, have been badly hit. COVID-19 also exposed the fragility of national supply-chains, particularly considering the position of Australia as a trading nation.

Minister Andrews explained Australia’s recovery strategy launched in October, focused on manufacturing, economic diversification, supply resiliency, and digital transformation.

"Manufacturing is crucial for our recovery,” pointed out the Minister. Resources technology, critical mineral processing, food and beverage, medical products, recycling, and clean energy, defense, and space are crucial areas for future industry development. Another essential point is digitalization. Australia aims to transition to a digital economy by 2030.

The national plan also articulates strategies for business-to-business collaboration, business scalability, and STEM education for youth.

At the end of the interview, Minister Andrews talked about her professional journey from being a mechanical engineer to her current government role.

Interactive Panel: Building the Future Economy

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated trends, such as e-commerce and remote work, that connect the present to the future economy. During lockdowns, the widespread use of digital tools across sectors has kept economies running, unleashing an environment of future opportunities.

The pandemic also highlighted the importance of building resilient and diversified economic systems to resist future shocks, such as climate change effects and next pandemics. “We need to build resiliency in every sector,” pointed out Pradeep Philip, lead partner at Deloitte.

For Mohd Sulaiman, CEO of MIGHT, economic diversity and investing in different capabilities has kept Malaysia on track during past crises.

Another trait in future economies is establishing a more significant role for partnerships between public and private sectors and engaging youth with senior leadership. International collaboration can also accelerate innovation, as the case of the COVID-19 vaccine has shown.

In the manufacturing sector, convergence and intersection among frontier technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and data analytics, will create new possibilities.

“New ideias and opportunities will come from the overlap when building frontier technologies together”, argued Russel Boyce, Chair for Intelligent Space Systems at the University of New South Wales.

Future economies will also ask more from the workforce than just technical skills. As pointed by Russel Boyce and Maher Hakim, Chief Advisor of innovation at Qatar Research, Development and Innovation Council, soft skills such as leadership, empathy, capacity to undertake risky decisions, and be creative to tackle challenges will be crucial for professional development.


Leaders Perspective: Australia’s Ambassador to the United States Arthur Sinodinos

Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos emphasized the importance of partnerships and shared values to advance frontier technologies and innovation beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. He also talked about strengthening bilateral advantages between the US and Australia as a way of improving the countries’ economies and societies.

Innovation breakthroughs

Thomas Zacharia, director at Oak Ridge National Lab, and William Rawlinson, professor at the University of New South Wales, talked about technological developments in response to the pandemic and the opportunity space in the intersection between biology and digital technologies.

Oak Ridge Lab has been at the forefront in facilitating high-performance computing to map virus molecules. In Sydney, the UNSW has played a role in genome sequencing for medical research.

Interactive panel: Fuelling Innovation

Advancing innovation and creating disruptive technologies require investments. How do companies and countries pay for risky projects?

Encouraging public-private partnerships to share the initial financial burden is an option. It is also possible to invest in creating sustainable business models operating through management systems.

Sam Sicilia, CIO of Hostplus, outlined the importance of directing capital to start-up companies with new disruptive technologies that can impact societies.

Manny Pohl, Chairman and Chief Information Officer of ECP Asset Management, emphasized creating environments that are sustainable for businesses to enhance growth while also highlighting investment in research design. Pohl stressed the importance of global organizations learning, duplicating, and expanding.

Hiro Nishiguchi, Chief Exec Officer of the Japan Innovation Network, also emphasized the importance of business sustainability and focusing on developing a management system to further fuel innovation, more efficiently, focusing on the internal organization.

Giana Sagazio, the Innovation Director of the CNI stressed the significance of innovation in the manufacturing sector as a way of recreating the sector through new technologies, with CNI having 27 innovation institutions and 57 technological institutes in Brazil.

Interactive panel: Leading into the future economy

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of good leadership, aiming the creation of better conditions for all.

Concepts such as prosperity, inclusiveness and diversity were emphasized and increased the empowerment of the youth, prioritizing young leaders and giving them a voice.

Larry Marshall, the Chief Executive at CSIRO, differentiated between followership and leadership, stating that in the contemporary world, people follow those with answers, not titles, demonstrated by the society’s relationship with science.

Marshall stressed the responsibility of leaders in anticipating disruption and adapting appropriate reactions to new crises, remaining resilient and maintaining a valuable vision for the future.

Charles Kiefel, the Chair of the Principals Funds Management, emphasized the importance of holding on to good values and improving standards of living for everyone, with Dr Jane Wilson of the Future Fund highlighting the importance of not only youth leaders but community leadership especially the one we have seen in Australia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The GFCC Executive Director, Roberto Alvarez discussed the significance of leadership in building consensus. Alvarez closed the last panel of our 2020 GIS, emphasizing the role the organization plays as a global platform that connects global leaders to accelerate innovation and create impact.

Zuzanna Zak contributed to this article

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