National innovation forum

Innovate or Perish?

In a world that is more connected than ever, how can we create sustainable bonds between universities, business and not for profits? All with a view towards creating a more mature innovation culture and ecosystem.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 27 (afternoon) and all-day Thursday 28 September 2017

Where: La Trobe Business School, located at the Donald Whitehead Building, La Trobe Melbourne Campus, Bundoora Victoria

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The missing ingredient to growth is the ability to think outside the box – to innovate. For many businesses’ it’s safer inside the box. But when you're constricted by the four walls of a box you can’t truly grow.

The demands of day to day operations of many SMEs and not-for-profits exclude them from maximising the benefits of innovative. Most are doing everything they can to maximise profits or fundraising, and minimise costs.

Universities, on the other hand, exist outside the normal parameters that can inhibit business growth. As such Universities have the potential to break the walls of the box, let in the light and build the links to create innovative businesses.

This is why, as a nation, Australia must get better at creating meaningful collaboration between universities and business. Such is the need for stronger connections the Federal Government flagged innovation in Australia as a major policy focus with its $1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda in November 2015.

The core principle of the government’s agenda is to make a substantial difference in the numbers of university-industry collaborations. The reason is simple; such alliances have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation, and economic and technological disruption.

These partnerships allow a business to break free of the confines of everyday operation, and to work with universities to translate ideas into commercial realities.

While Australia lags behind the world in translating research into commercial outcomes university-industry partnerships internationally are being exploited to great effect.

While Australian universities are among the world’s best, when it comes to innovation it’s important to make sure that research, innovation and business are connected. If research is irrelevant to startups, SMEs and not-for-profits it becomes a purely academic exercise.

At the forum international and national business and academic speakers will present case studies of successful university-industry collaboration including examples of business innovation, incubators and accelerators.

Attendees will not only learn what has worked but they will also discover what can be done to improve university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and SMEs in the Australian context.

A multitude of speakers with wide ranging backgrounds and experience will speak at the conference.


Mr Craig Scroggie

The CEO and Executive Director of NEXTDC will deliver the key note speech. Mr Scroggie’s career has included substantial leadership roles within the IT and telecommunications industries, having held senior positions with Symantec, Veritas Software, Computer Associates, EMC Corporation and Fujitsu.

As an innovator he helped NEXTDC grow from a start-up in late 2010 to an ASX200 company, currently serving more than 700 customers across five cities and hosting many of the world’s leading enterprises, cloud platforms, IT and telecommunications providers.

In addition, he holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Business, Economics & Law at La Trobe University, serves on the La Trobe Business School Advisory Board and recently served as Chairman of the La Trobe University Graduate School of Management Board.

Dr Stephen Buse

Deputy Director of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at Hamburg University of Technology.

He showed true innovation in 2007 when, together with other stakeholders such as Hamburg's state government, and Chamber of Commerce, he co-initiated the series of India Weeks in Hamburg and continues to be a member of its steering committee.

In addition, he serves as program coordinator of the international Joint-Master Program “Global Innovation Management” which he also co-founded. His primary research and teaching activities are in the fields of “Global Innovation Management“ and “International Business Strategy“.

Kate Burleigh

ICT Industry Executive, Board Director, former Managing Director Intel Australia/NZ

Former Managing Director from 2012 to June 2017 of Intel Australia/NZ, responsible for leading the overall business within these markets, with specific accountability for driving sales results for Intel’s platform offerings for Data Centre, Personal Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).   Currently Board Director of the Australian IT Industry Association and of the children’s cancer charity, Camp Quality.

With a strong reputation in high-tech sales and customer relationship management, plus deep experience in brand marketing built over a 20 year career, Kate is passionate about the ability of technology to vastly improve how we live, work, and play within this connected world.

Kate holds a Masters of Business and Marketing from the University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sydney University.

Kate lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.

Christine Christian

Chairman of Kirwood Capital, a Director of FlexiGroup Limited, ME Bank Limited, Lonsec Fiscal Group, Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and New-York based Powerlinx Inc., an innovator in the emerging partner economy.

She serves on the boards of State Library Victoria and the Cranlana Programme and is past-president of Chief Executive Women.

Christian has more than 30 years experience as a company director, chairman, investor and entrepreneur in financial services, private equity, investment, credit risk and digital media and publishing.

For 15 years she was CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Australia and New Zealand (1997-2012), Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet Consumer Credit Services and Executive Director of Dun & Bradstreet India. In 2010 she was pivotal in the sale of Dunn & Bradsheet to US based company D&B Corporation for $233 million.

Her past directorships include Private Media, Scottish Pacific Business Finance, UNICEF Australia, Sherpa Systems Pty Ltd, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and ASIC Business Advisory Council.

Christian is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Strategic Management Society, Chief Executive Women and the La Trobe University Council.

Antonio Palanca

Antonio is an experienced technology entrepreneur. He has held senior management positions at IBM, Sun and Optus where he oversaw significant innovations in finance, public sector, and health and life sciences. Over the last 12 years he has co-founded several successful technology and supply chain businesses both here and in China that have supported better trade outcomes in construction, fashion, and food. This includes The HiveXChange (2015), China Direct Partners (2006 -2015) and ION Growth (2005 -2010). “There are common themes in e-commerce business creation. Lean canvas methodologies and the science around influence and supply chains provide frameworks for uncovering real problems that form the basis for real businesses.”

His is currently CEO and Co-founder The HiveXchange which has created a new form of e-commerce: trust based e-commerce (T-ecommerce™) to support the creation of a new B2B digital marketplace for fresh produce.

Antonio has degrees from theUniversity of Melbourne in Commerce, Economics, Law, Accounting, Marketing (University medal winner marketing), and the University of Western Sydney in Psychology and Statistics.

He is a member of theAustralian Psychology Association and the Economics Society of NSW.

Nick Kaye

Nick Kaye brings more than 20 years of experience to his role as the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, he was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the prestigious Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship for a decade.

Kaye holds certificates from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, MIT Sloan School of Management, and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He was awarded a Master of Science Degree, with distinction, in international business and finance from the Stockholm School of Economics, and has Bachelor Degrees in Arts and in Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Kaye continues to act as a Senior Advisor, International Relations, to the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship.

He has served on the boards and steering committees of various organisations including the International Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Policy, TiE Nordic, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship in Stockholm, the Idea to Product Global Competition, the Transit Incubator, and Connect Eastern Sweden.

David Williamson

David Williamson is the CEO of Melbourne Innovation Centre, delivering business incubation and accelerator programs to start-up and scale-up businesses in Melbourne's North.
He has led projects to activate new incubator and innovation spaces throughout Australia, including the recent activation of Melbourne Innovation Centre, Greensborough, colocated with Melbourne Polytechnic and the Banyule Nillumbik Tech School.

David's passions include youth entrepreneurship and Melbourne's North as a region through its ability to foster and support new and evolving industries and the economic benefits that will follow.

David is also a Director of Business Innovation and Incubation Australia (BIIA), an organisation which supports and promotes the role of business incubators and accelerators in growing local economies in Australia.

Dr. Ben Mitra Kahn

Dr. Mitra-Kahn has been the Chief Economist at IP Australia since November 2012, previous to which he was the senior economist at the UK Intellectual Property Office. His background includes time as an academic, consultant and company director, and as a national representative on a number of expert panels with the OECD and other organisations. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from City University London, and a B.Sc. (hons) in economics from Royal Holloway, University of London and a M.Sc. in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Christine Axton

Christine is a Director in Monitor Deloitte’s Strategy practice, Christine is an expert in digital technologies and innovation, currently advising clients on how to establish innovation programs, accelerate digital delivery, and change organisation business models through customer centred design and aligning technology to the strategic direction of the enterprise.

Her expertise also encompasses technology and market due diligence work for tech sector VCs, market sizing and forecasting of new and existing business service areas for technology sector clients and the definition and implementation of post-merger transformation programs.

She has worked with the start-ups, incubators and the boards and senior executives of large technology vendor organisations across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

Major themes

  • The role of incubators, accelerators and TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in engaging startups and SMEs while at the same time connecting those start up and SMEs with university-industry innovation.
  • Global forces shaping opportunities for business (including startups and SMEs) over the coming decade
  • Business perspectives on the opportunities and barriers to university-industry collaboration.
  • Developing environments where innovation can thrive.
  • Regulation and legal framework (patent law, licensing, federal and state jurisdictions and university policies).
  • The economic, political and societal framework in which business and/or universities operate (incentives, competitiveness, regulation, competition policy, innovation and technology policy).

Sessions include

Forum schedule [PDF 903KB]

  • Conference evening event with a key note speaker and networking opportunities.
  • International and national academic speakers and case studies on successful approaches to university –industry collaboration with a focus on startups and SMEs. Questions answered will include; what has worked and why? What can be learned from mistakes? What needs to change?
  • Australian business leaders’ perspectives on global challenges and opportunities for innovation and improving industry-university collaboration.
  • The state of Australia’s national innovation system - Australian government perspective, frameworks, opportunities, incentives and challenges.
  • Master Classes on frugal innovation; design thinking and lean start-up principles; and, data analytics and business transformation.

By attending, expect to discover

  • Ways to strengthen the local innovation ecosystem
  • How to engage universities, including points of entry and collaborative processes and pathways.
  • The available university facilities and service offerings i.e. teaching, joint R&D, potential for sub-contracting R&D arrangements, student work integrated learning placements, student secondments, problem-solving, business analytics, executive education, and human capital development.
  • Better access to knowledge, cutting edge technology, expertise and research facilities
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities
  • More about the Australian Government’s innovation policy and agenda
  • How to improve your business through Master Class participation

Call for Best Practice Case Studies

The focus of the LBS/NORTH Link National Innovation Forum is on delivering international and national speakers, and case studies, of successful university-industry collaboration, including examples of business incubators and accelerators. It is an opportunity to engage with industry and government perspectives on how we can continue to improve university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and SMEs in the Australian context.

We are now calling for case studies on the themes of the Forum. Case studies will be reviewed by the Forum’s academic panel and those accepted will be made available to Forum participants. The best two case studies will be selected for presentation in a session at the Forum.

The deadline for submissions of abstracts is Monday 21 August 2017. A template is available at the end of this call for papers. Please submit the case studies through the online submission form.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Marjoribanks

Important dates

  • Monday 28 August for case study submissions
  • Friday 1 September acceptance notification to successful authors
  • 27/28 September National Innovation Forum


For transportation options please visit Transport Central.

Partners and Contact Details

Northlink Deloitte

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