FutureNOW: Driven by the “Why”

Posted on: Wednesday, 18 September 2019 at 8:19:25 PM

Article from the AICC(WA)’s futureNOW Technology Series (fnTS) Lunch featuring Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO speaking on “Designing a secure and prosperous Australia for 2060”, with introductory speaker Mr Morris Miselowski, AICC(WA)’s In-residence Business FuturistThis event was held at the Duxton Hotel, Perth on 18 September 2019, and proudly sponsored by the ICT Group.


From L to R - Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Mr Stedman Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Future Battery Industries CRC, Ms Dinali David, Senior Business Development Manager, ICT Group, Mr Martin Bain, Western Region Manager, ICT Group, Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO, Mr Morris Miselowski, In-residence Business Futurist, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) & Eye on the Future, Mr David Lucido, Managing Director, Sentient Hubs, Mr Tim Shanahan, Chairman, Future Battery Industries CRC, Mr Nev Power, Chairman, Perth Airport and Mr Roger Bunn, Chief Financial Officer, Mt Barker Chicken

Digital transformation is now a necessity, no longer a “nice to have”.  This, in the context of business strategy development, was the introductory message of Ms Dinali David, Senior Business Manager of the ICT Group though her introduction to futurist Mr Morris Miselowski. 

Well known to the AICC(WA) for his inimitable style and unbridled enthusiasm, the in-residence futurist of the Chamber spoke of the importance of understanding Israel as a business ecosystem and driver of future innovation.   Sharing his experiences of being part of an AICC Trade delegation Mr Miselowski affectionally suggested that “everybody in Israel has a start-up”.  He drew on elements that contribute to the building of Israel’s future including;

  • The ethnic diversity of the population and cultural melting pot
  • The intrinsic importance of education for both national values and technical skills
  • The presence of multinational Research and Development incubators
  • The collaboration within industry sectors and sharing of information

Concluding with the notion that “what is relevant this morning may not be relevant tomorrow”, Mr Miselowski cited research from business leaders that suggested 5% of professions will disappear in the coming years, but 100% of jobs will change.  There will still be a strong employment market, but the way we work will become different.

From L to R - Mr Morris Miselowski, In-residence Business Futurist, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) & Eye on the Future, Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO and Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA)


In his capacity as Chairman of the CSIRO, Mr David Thodey presented insights from the Australian National Outlook 2019 report.  This project, produced by CSIRO Futures, measured the national trajectory on five key challenges out to 2060, inclusive of looming technology disruption, urbanisation, energy, and climate change.  The report concluded that Australia is at risk of sliding into a period of slow economic, social and environmental decline unless governments and the business community tackle specific threats head-on.  The ANO 2019 draws on the expertise of 50 senior leaders from 23 organisations in the business, academic and non-for-profits sectors.

Mr Thodey concurred that Israel offered a great global perspective and challenged Australian business to evolve a greater global corporate presence.  Outside of the existing and heavily indexed resources and primary agriculture sectors, Australia’s economic identity can be evolved by building value adding institutions predicated on research and science. 

He further spoke of the confronting findings of the CSIRO in the context of their cultural impact.  “How you use technology makes a difference to someone’s life”, said Mr Thodey, suggesting that AI and hi-data futures will underpin new industry development, educational approaches to skill development, and the changing nature of employment.  

Although challenging and delivered with warning signals, Mr Thodey was positive in outlook.  Evolvement of astronomy (the SKA radio telescope) and energy (hydrogen fuel futures) were two examples he provided to support the role of science as a driver of economic development.    

Mr Morris Miselowski, In-residence Business Futurist, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) & Eye on the Future

Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO

An engaging conversation and audience Q&A asserted the need to be “more bold and more collaborative” when building productivity improvements through research and development.  The speakers drew out the need for a national identity, as science evolves over the next generation.  DNA and gene sequencing, healthy lifestyles and medical research, and food security are all areas for Australia to “innovate and make a difference”.  It was noted that this would best be driven not by manufacturing processes for the production of goods and services, but more by the evolving identity and reputation of Australia as a lead nation.  

Mr Morris Miselowski, In-residence Business Futurist, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) & Eye on the Future and Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO


Through the engagement of Student Edge, Mr John Cluer shared recent trends identified by the Insight survey.  The results from 900 surveyed students showed thoughts and opinions around issues concerning the six challenges identified in the CSIRO 2019 Australian National Outlook Report.  The survey outcomes were summarised as;

  • Less than one in five young Australians have heard about the 4th industrial revolution
  • Young people have polarized views on Australia’s future reliance on China for trade
  • Nine out of ten young people believe climate change is real and 77% say the Australian government needs to be doing more about it.
  • There are issues of trust for institutions to do what is right across Government, media, business, and particularly social media organisations.
  • There is an apprehension of social cohesion in relation to financial stress and housing affordability

 Click here for a copy of the Survey results.

Further corroborating the research, and contrasting to consequences (and unintended consequences) of change the speakers again turned to the example of Israel.  The ability to engage in provocative conversation and to gear the education system towards the future of work were remedies for evolving a fit for purpose workforce.

Mr Nev Power, Chairman, Perth Airport delivered a vote of thanks.  As a recent participant in an AICC(WA) delegation Mr Power described Israel as “a place where you can see the future”, and reinforced innovation as being critical to sustainable economic growth. 

Mr Nev Power, Chairman, Perth Airport and Mr David Thodey AO, Chairman, CSIRO

About David Thodey

Mr David Thodey AO is a business leader focused on innovation, technology and telecommunications with more than 30 years of experience.

He is currently Chairman of Australia’s national scientific research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); a nonexecutive Board director of Ramsay Health Care, a global hospital group; Tyro, Australia’s only independent EFTPOS banking institution; Vodafone Group Plc.; and Xero, a cloud-based accounting software provider for small and medium-sized businesses.

Mr Thodey is currently leading the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service (APS). This review was commissioned by the Prime Minister to ensure that the APS is fit-for-purpose to serve Australian Governments and the Australian people into the future.

He also had a successful career as CEO of Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company and CEO of IBM Australia and New Zealand.

In 2017, Mr Thodey was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.


The AICC(WA) is indebted to sponsors of the FutureNOW series. 

The ICT Group have an experienced team of IT professionals who provide industry best practice service and support so your business can grow with confidence.  Their SD-WAN services are designed to deliver high availability, secure and low-cost Wide Area Networking with industry-leading SLAs.

Future Battery Industries is an industry focused research partnership supporting efforts to secure Australia an expanded place in the rapidly transforming global battery value chain.



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