Meet the future head on: Thought Leader event

For Back to Business Week 2017, the Hon John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business, hosted ‘Meet the future head on’, an inspirational event on how small to medium businesses can take advantage of new technology, new markets and new ways of working.

‘Meet the future head on’ was held on 1 March 2017 as part of our Thought Leader series and was facilitated by Jo Kelly, Director of People, Place and Partnership. The keynote speakers at the event were Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner, SGS Economics and Planning, and Karen Borg, Chief Executive Officer, Jobs for NSW.

Global, national and statewide trends

Keynote speaker Terry Rawnsley outlined global and national trends and provided advice for small businesses on tapping into those trends. Terry also talked about the role of data and how businesses can take advantage of economic shifts within industry sectors.

Keynote speaker Karen Borg provided an overview of job trends and changes within NSW industry. Karen explained how the NSW Government is responding to these challenges through Jobs for NSW. Karen also talked about the role of small to medium businesses in creating jobs, the challenges of the digital age and the industry sectors that can drive trade.

Digital disruption and small businesses

An interactive panel of industry professionals discussed topics such as ‘Decoding the new economy’, ‘Jobs for the future’ and ‘Leading your business in a changing world’. The members of the panel were:

  • Paul Fairhead, Managing Director, Huddle
  • Paul Wallbank, writer, speaker, futurist and broadcaster
  • Karen Borg, Chief Executive Officer, Jobs for NSW
  • Jost Stollmann, Executive Director, Tyro
  • Marianne McGee, owner, Allis Technology and ScrubUp App.

The panel began by discussing digital disruption. At present, some sectors are reaping the benefits of being early adopters and innovators. The challenge is to embrace this head on if your business is to succeed in the current economic climate. The panel concluded that fast learners and those quick to innovate and diversify will be the winners in the new digital workplace. Small businesses have the ability to be more agile than larger corporations and should therefore seek out new opportunities to grow.

Other topics for discussion included changes in the workplace, jobs growth, research, understanding data and digital solutions for customers. There are many examples now of disruption in industry sectors where a solution to a problem has transformed the customer experience (for example, Uber). Those businesses with a deep understanding of their customers’ experience and needs will be the ones to thrive.

'There are many windows of opportunity in an economy waiting to be disrupted—don’t miss your timing to reinvent and rethink the services and products you provide', commented Jost Stollmann.