The First Event
26 July 2017
River City Labs meets Bank of Queensland
True innovation is in the unknown
This statement by Aaron Birby summarised the entire motivation for the David meets Goliath series. Large, established organisations tend to investigate familiar territory in search of improvement potential. Existing business models and hypotheses are often not questioned. Instead a focus on efficiency gains by addressing identified pain points consumes the main attention. No wonder that in this context ‘disruption’ as a threat has emerged. Disruptive innovation comes indeed out of the unknown and as such is often a surprise, a ‘black swan’ for established corporations.
85 guests attended our first David meets Goliath event on 26 July at the Bank of Queensland and listened to and discussed with representatives from the Bank, River City Labs and Queensland Government how to best build an ecosystem that facilitates mutually valuable partnerships between start-ups (Davids) and established organisations (Goliaths).
Donna-Maree Vinci, CIO at the Bank of Queensland, was the host and stressed early on that it is all about ’embracing who has the better idea’. Being unbiased and open for inspirations from the outside is the secret to valuing and working with an entrepreneurial community. “There is lots to learn for us from start-up in terms of mindset, agility and risk attitude.” However, Donna also expressed confidence that the culture at the Bank is well placed to derive maximum value from these new partnerships: “We have passion in spades, awesome connectors in our people and a commitment to executing!”
Aaron Birkby, CEO Start-up Catalyst, provided corporates with clear advice on how to derive value: “be a customer, invest or acquire, everything else is innovation theatre”. Unlike in countries such as Germany, UK or Israel, the partnership model between emerging and established organisations is still in its infancy in Australia. This includes ‘reversed pitching’ sessions during which large corporations can share their opportunities and challenges with an entrepreneurial community.
Paul Martyn, Deputy Director-General, Strategy and Innovation, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, highlighted the critical role the Government has in facilitating effective partnerships between Davids and Goliaths. In this context, he elaborated on the facilitating role of the Advance Queensland schema.
A stimulating, fast paced panel discussion moderated by Prof Michael Rosemann, Honorary Consul for Germany, and Ron Pennekamp, member of the executive of the Queensland Chapter of the German Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, covered issues related to funding, risk management and talent acquisition.
Finally, Marcus Koerber, Advisor for Economic Affairs and Science, from the German Embassy in Canberra, stressed that the DmG-series has the unconditional support of the German Ambassador, HE Dr Anna Prinz and that an Australian-wide roll-out of this successful concept should be considered.
In summary, the David meets Goliath has been a tremendous success. A big thank you to the entire Bank of Queensland for being an outstanding host. The audience used the diverse networking opportunity and long after the stage was closed, Davids and Goliaths engaged in stimulating conversations.
Earlier that evening Aaron Birkby had pointed out that Australian start-ups had been looking at London because of the accumulated access to corporates in the capital city. Prof Rosemann then countered that after Brexit the slogan has been “Keep Calm and come to Berlin”.
Qld Chapter Executive Tea Dietterich closed the evening by highlighting advances in the digital revolution dubbed industry 4.0 by Germany and how the Australian Government’s innovation strategy includes collaboration with German multinational giants to lift Australian high-tech manufacturing standards so that local business can play a role in the global supply of goods and services.
With the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on 3-5 November on our doorstep, there has never been easier access to hear from major technology customers in Australia and Germany as well as innovations and solutions from participating start-ups about the need to consider that disruptive technology impacts on all points of the value chain from exploration, to production, automation , financing, marketing and CSR. There will also be an on-site matchmaking session “Rapid Mingle”. Offering QLD businesses a special discounted registration code, Tea urged the inspired audience: “Keep Calm and come to Perth”. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Bank of QLD, GE – Enterprise Solutions, Chief Operations and Digital Information Officer
CEO Start Up Catalyst and Entrepreneur in Residence at River City Labs
Deputy Director General, Strategy and Innovation, QLD Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation