Business Newsroom

La Trobe Business School

Month: August 2019

LBS Innovation Series: Data analytics for food and agribusiness

In 2017, The Economist published an article titled “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. Hence, during the 2018 Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum, Dr Kok-Leong Ong, Associate Professor in Business Analytics at LBS and a researcher at our Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition (CDAC), discussed how digital technologies like internet of things (IoT) devices and the digital supply chain can create opportunities to utilise data to help drive the food and agribusiness industry.

The use of technology in farming

Data processing

Advances in digital technology bring new capabilities. Think about real-time data streams, large scale data storage and management, advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to power new analytical solutions. On top of that, companies keep designing new and better processing systems for all that data. For example, Apple´s A12 Bionic iPhone Chip includes dedicated neural network hardware, has eight cores and can perform up to 5 trillion 8-bit operations per second. All that computing power in a small form factor means we can expect smart-farming to be more sophisticated than it is now in the coming years.

Smart farming

Smart farming and IoT for agriculture are shaping the future of agriculture. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines smart farming as “a farming management concept using modern technology to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products” (FAO, 2017). Nowadays, farmers have access to radio-frequency identification (RFID), GPS, soil scanning, data management, and IoT technologies. They can precisely measure variations within a field and adapting their strategy accordingly and with that increasing the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, but also using them more selectively. It also allows farmers to better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition, preventing disease and enhancing herd health.

The context around this need for smart farming is further driven by multiple factors. For example, global warming and changing environmental conditions are placing a lot of stress on farmers. While yield in the crops are impacted by drought or floods, the global population is growing and demand out of China and India means farmers need ways to increase yield in a less nurturing environment in order to meet these demands. Smart farming thus becomes an important proposition for farmers. Collectively with the different sensors, powerful computers and new advances in data analytics, farmers can look into better yield management and automation to replace slow and costly labour.

Australia

Research in this space within Australia is already growing, with researchers in Analytics working with mechanical engineers to develop weeding machines, or robotic fruit pickers. The weeding machine uses vision and AI to autonomously move around the field killing weeds without hurting the crops. Similarly, the robotic fruit picker will consistently pick fruits without damaging its surface thus ensuring that farmers get the most out of their harvest. However, smart farming and digital agriculture in Australia is still in an immature state (Trindall, Rainbow & Leonard, 2018). Adoption of digital and analytics technologies among food and agriculture businesses are either low or patchy.

AgriNous

An example of a company that is doing really well in this space is AgriNous. Based in Bendigo and founded in 2016, AgriNous is a transnational platform that facilitates real-time processing of livestock sales. Their application is a mix of technology, customer service and industry insights. AgriNous won the 2018 Inventor of the Year at the Bendigo Inventor Awards and took part in the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP).

Smart farming challenges

While smart farming is promising many benefits to farmers, there are challenges as with other technologies. With the growing adoption of equipment and services that collect and analyse farm data, the agricultural industry could face increased cyber targeting. This could include theft, but data may also be vulnerable to ransomware and data destruction. Farmers need to be aware of and understand the associated cyber risks to their data and ensure that companies entrusted to manage their data, develop adequate cybersecurity and breach response plans (FBI Cyber Bulletin, 2016). In addition, according to an article by Trindall, Rainbow and Leonard (2018) Australian producers and agricultural stakeholders lack trust in data management systems and require improved digital knowledge. Other challenges are access to finance, telecommunications connectivity shortfalls, impartial advice, and interoperability and reliability. Therefore, the journey to a smart farm is still an on-going one, but research in this space will address these issues, as with any innovation that involves technologies.

This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School. 
 
More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:
- LBS Innovation Series: Gaps to perfection
- LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption
- LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agriculture sector ready to grow?
- LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?
- LBS Innovation Series: Crossing the Chasm – Agtech & innovation ecosystems
- LBS Innovation Series: Innovation and the Agribusiness Taskforce
- LBS Innovation Series: Supply challenges and consumer expectations
- LBS Innovation Series: Robotics and AI are coming your way
- LBS Innovation Series: Consumer trends and future foods
- LBS Innovation Series: The future of agricultural production systems
- LBS Innovation Series: Cities that feed our planet
- LBS Innovation Series: Is big data the answer for the future of agribusiness?
- LBS Innovation Series: Lean business model design for food and agribusiness

LBS students recognised at Bendigo Prize Ceremony

Earlier this month, the La Trobe Bendigo Campus celebrated the accomplishments and dedication of its students at the 2019 Bendigo Prize Ceremony at the Ulumbarra Theatre. The Prize Ceremony awarded undergraduate and postgraduate students for recognition of their service, 2018 Academic year results, as well as 2019 scholarships.

LBS Recipients

Various LBS students received awards during the 2019 Bendigo Prize Ceremony. Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce presented the Prize recipients, and Professor Richard Speed, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional), congratulated the students on stage.

Georgia Mawson was awarded the CPA Australia Prize – First Year for achieving the highest overall mark in first year accounting subjects.

Georgia Mawson receiving her Prize during the Bendigo Prize Ceremony
Georgia receiving her Prize

Irina Reynolds received the CPA Australia Prize – Second Year AND Third Year. She managed to do all her 2nd and 3rd year accounting subjects in one year plus achieve the highest overall mark in those subjects! The Bendigo Advertiser featured her in an article, recognising this incredible achievement. Here is a link to the article: La Trobe University graduate who dropped out of secondary college lands dream job.

Irina Reynolds receiving her Prize during the Bendigo Prize Ceremony
Irina receiving her Prize

Leah Simpson received the Greg Ellis Memorial Award. The award was established in honour of Greg Ellis who undertook his BA and MA at La Trobe Bendigo Campus and taught across the disciplines of Business, Law, Taxation and Accounting at La Trobe for over a decade. The award is intended to make a significant difference to a high achieving student.

Leah Simpson receiving her Prize during the Bendigo Prize Ceremony
Leah receiving her Prize

Dillon Stiff was awarded the Strategem Community Foundation Prize. The Prize supports people and charities who make a difference.

Dillon Stiff receiving his Prize during the Bendigo Prize Ceremony
Dillon receiving his Prize

LBS congratulates the students with their Prizes!

LBS students successfully finalise their capstone project for Deloitte

Last year, students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) designed a digital twin inspection tool as part of the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD) in semester 2, 2018. The project was for Deloitte, and the app had to be compatible with Apple technology. This project continued during semester 1, 2019 for the subject Business Intelligence Project Implementation (BUS5BPI).

LBS staff and BUS5BPI students with Deloitte representatives
LBS staff and BUS5BPI students with Deloitte representatives

Scope

The project was again for the Australian Marine and Ship Services, a fictitious company. However, instead of creating a digital twin inspection tool, the scope was changed to creating a 5-modular-inspection tool app using Xcode/Cocoapods with connection to SAP Cloud Platform. Xcode is an integrated development environment for macOS containing a suite of software development tools while CocoaPods allows developers to easily integrate 3rd party frameworks into their projects. The 5 modules were:

  1. Data Download/Upload
  2. Data Entry and Image Capturing
  3. Bar Code/Geographic Location
  4. Inspector’s Dashboard
  5. Supervisor’s Dashboard

Red vs Blue Team

The students split into teams (red vs blue) and started a competition to build the mobile Ship Inspection tool. There was a total of five red teams competing against five blue teams and each team developed each module.

The teams had to start with the Requirements Analysis of the 5-modular-inspection tool app and compile inter-dependencies of the modules to one another. Then, they designed each module which later was be integrated in one app and installed in an iPad Mini.  

Lectures, seminars and workshops

The subject was coordinated and delivered by Dr Petrus Usmanij and Naren Shanbhaq from La Trobe Business School. Although most lab sessions and lectures were held at LTU Melbourne Campus, some of the seminars were delivered at the Deloitte Training Centre (550 Bourke Street, Melbourne). Deloitte also delivered a Design Thinking Workshop. Furthermore, the teams were trained and mentored by Senior Consultants from SAP, Apple and Deloitte, particularly in the coding for the development of each module. All project documents such as the planning document and blueprint were reviewed by LBS staff and Deloitte consultants.

The results

Very few students had coding experience, but both teams put together a well-designed app. The red team successfully connected the 5-modular-inspection tool app to the SAP Cloud Platform, while the blue team used another alternative cloud platform namely Firebase in their development. Ultimately, the teams presented their work during an evening hosted by Deloitte at their office in Melbourne. After the presentations and Q&A sessions, the red team was selected as the top team based on app creation and cloud connectivity, and was awarded prizes by Deloitte.

“We are very proud that this partnership has provided so much value to La Trobe and its students and look forward to continuing this initiative.”

Jesse Millar, Manager at Deloitte
The red team presenting their application
The red team presenting their application
The blue team during their Q&A session
The blue team during their Q&A session
Read earlier articles regarding the MBIMS Shipping Tool project in collaboration with Deloitte: 
- Students working together with industry on real-world issues
- LBS students conducting successful Capstone Project

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 12

SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production

More people globally are expected to join the middle class over the next two decades. These socio-economic and demographic changes are good for individual prosperity but will increase demand for already constrained natural resources. Societies need to find just and equitable ways to meet individual needs and aspirations within the ecological limits of the planet.

The facts

According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2019), 2 billion people are overweight or obese, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, while another 2 billion people go hungry or undernourished. When it comes to water, only 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable) and humans are using it faster than nature can replenish it. Consumption is not just about food and drinks, it is the use of any good or service. Energy consumption for example – if people everywhere switched to energy efficient light bulbs, the world would save US$120 billion annually. In addition, only one-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewable sources.

Looking at production, the food sector accounts for around 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions, largely from the conversion of forests into farmland. Also, agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70% of all freshwater for human use.

The focus of SDG 12

Sustainable development goal twelve (SDG 12) aims at decoupling economic growth from environmental damage and natural resource exploitation. Responsible consumption and production are about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Their implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty (UN Sustainable Development Goals, 2019).

Australia and SDG 12

Below are some examples of Australia’s best practice in addressing SDG 12.

  • At the systems level, supply chain logistics group Brambles, deploys a circular share and reuse system through its vast network. This model supports greater collaboration opportunities, reduces costs, carbon emissions, waste, and demand on natural resources.
  • In 2018, Sydney hosted the first Australian Circular Fashion Conference, focused on responsible fashion practice and supporting economic growth.
  • The Australian Government and the Australian Water Partnership fund the Alliance for Water Stewardship (Indo-Pacific) to work with the Council of Textile and Fashion and member companies to improve water stewardship through their supply chains to achieve sustainable and responsible production of clothes for the Australian and international market.
  • Yarra Valley Water’s Waste to Energy facility (ReWaste), in Victoria (opened in 2017), has the capacity to convert the equivalent of 33,000 tonnes of commercial food waste into energy that powers a neighbouring sewerage treatment plant, with excess electricity returned to the electricity grid.
  • The Australian Packaging Covenant encourages industry to take responsibility for improving the sustainability of its packaging and aims to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging, increase recycling rates and reduce packaging litter.
  • The Government has developed a National Food Waste Strategy in close consultation with industry, business, academia, other levels of government and civil society. It will support collective action towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030 through the adoption of circular economy approaches and raising consumer awareness.
  • The states of Victoria and New South Wales, and the City of Brisbane, have introduced the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign that aims to raise awareness of avoidable food waste.
  • Australia is the largest donor to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative and the Extractives Global Programmatic Support multi-donor trust fund in the World Bank, helping resource-rich developing nations use their oil, gas and mineral resources sustainably and transparently, including with a consideration to gender equality.

LBS and SDG 12

LBS has several initiatives that link to SDG 12 as well. In November 2018, LBS organised the highly successful Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum in collaboration with NORTHLink. The forum explored what it takes to build innovative and sustainable global food production systems and agribusinesses (read more about the forum here).

We also offer a Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness). Besides developing skills to develop, finance, market and manage agricultural businesses, our degree develops responsible, engaged, innovative and work-ready graduates equipped to help farmers improve their food production sustainably and reduce the impact on declining resources (learn more about the degree here).

SDG Video

The video on SDG 12 is produced by LBS and shows Donna Burnett and Dr Leeora Black. Donna introduces the SDG and its targets for 2030. There are eight targets and include implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on responsible consumption and production, efficient management and use of natural resources, cutting various types of waste, and responsible management of wastes and chemicals. It also calls for adoption of sustainable practices in companies and in public procurement. In the second part of the video Leeora, a Principal in the Sustainability Services team at Deloitte Australia, talks about the Australian Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act and how the act encourages business to use their influence to eliminate modern slavery in operations and supply chains.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series:

- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 9
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 10
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 11

LBS Innovation Series: Lean business model design for food and agribusiness

During the 2018 Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (IFAF) Professor of Entrepreneurship Alex Maritz provided insights into disruptive innovation and technology, using entrepreneurship tools to facilitate commercialisation and transformation.

Alex Maritz presenting during IFAF

2030 Roadmap

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) wants to grow agriculture to $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030. Reaching that goal requires new ideas to accelerate the industry’s growth. The NFF identified five pillars to focus on:

  1. Customers and the value chain
  2. Growing sustainability
  3. Unlocking innovation
  4. People and communities
  5. Capital and risk management

Unlocking innovation means that by 2030, Australia is a world leader in innovation efficiency, cutting edge science and technology that improves the quality of products and reduces their cost of production. Digital technology, and particularly the internet of things (IoT) will have transformed farming, unlocking significant on-farm revenue and savings. Hence, every Australian farm will have access to infrastructure and skills to connect to the Internet of Things.

Disruptive technology

The NFF also lists some 2030 megatrends, with one being disruptive technology: “Digital and genetic technologies promise to unlock new waves of productivity growth across the sector. Automation will continue to improve quality of life for farmers, while reshaping the sector’s skills needs” (2030 Roadmap, 2018, p.9).

Recent years already have seen a rapid increase in development of technology in agribusiness, often referred to as agtech. The technologies create solutions for many common problems for farmers such as yield information, reduction of waste or spoilage and forecasting. According to Forbes (2018), agtech funding through investment or acquisition increased 32% to $2.6 billion, and half of the top 20 deals in the space exceeded $50 million in 2017 alone.

Using entrepreneurship tools

In his workshop, Alex discussed how entrepreneurship tools, such as the lean start-up, design thinking and the business model canvas, could facilitate the transformation required by agribusinesses because of disruptive innovation and technology. These tools are not only suitable for start-ups, but as Alex points out, the tools work for any dynamic organisation wishing to transform methods of operation, create customer solutions and value propositions to achieve high growth imperatives.

Lean start-up

A lean start-up is a business strategy that strives to eliminate wasteful practices and increase value-producing practices during the earliest phases of a business so that it has a better chance of success without requiring large amounts of outside funding, an elaborate business plan, or a perfect product (Ries, 2011). Important lean start-up principles include eliminating uncertainty, working smarter (not harder), validating learning and developing a minimum viable product. Prototyping while developing customers is a way that entrepreneurs fail successfully – success arises from the learning that happens while interacting with prospective customers who are experiencing use of the product.

An example of a company who used the lean methodology is Blue River technology, a weeding robot manufacturer. They started off with a robotic lawn mower, but through the lean start-up process pivoted to the agricultural sector, raised over US$30 million and have developed successfully smart farm machines such as the Lettuce Bot and See & Spray that aim to make farming more sustainable through robotics and computer vision (Trice, 2016).

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a strategic management tool that was first proposed in 2004 by Alexander Osterwalder in his dissertation “The Business Model Ontology: A Proposition in a Design Science Approach”. The business model canvas is a visual chart, outlining nine segments which form the building blocks for start-ups and allows the business to test hypotheses about their business idea. There are four segments that focus on the customer (customer segments, customer relationships, channels, and revenue streams) and four segments that focus supply side of the business (key activities, key resources, key partners and cost structure). Completion of the customer blocks and the supply side blocks lead to the formation of a value proposition for the business – “the bundle of benefits the company offers its customers” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010, p.22).

The business model canvas (Osterwalder & Pigneur)
The business model canvas (by Osterwalder & Pigneur, taken from Brown, Mugge & Grainger, 2017)

Farms are not usually start-ups, but disruptive technologies mean that acting like a start-up is a meaningful way to model the business (Brown, Mugge & Grainger, 2017). An example of a company that used the business model canvas is Freight Farms, who saw a need for urban agriculture and is now the world leading manufacturer of container farming technology. Their system is a complete hydroponic growing system that sits entirely inside a shipping container. The vertical farming delivers fresh and local food 365 days a year, while using no soil and using 98% less water than traditional farming.

Alex Maritz and Alexander Osterwalder
Alex Maritz and Alexander Osterwalder
This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School. 
 
More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:
- LBS Innovation Series: Gaps to perfection
- LBS Innovation Series: Building a global business in a period of disruption
- LBS Innovation Series: Is the Australian agriculture sector ready to grow?
- LBS Innovation Series: Agtech – Agriculture’s Disrupter or Saviour?
- LBS Innovation Series: Crossing the Chasm – Agtech & innovation ecosystems
- LBS Innovation Series: Innovation and the Agribusiness Taskforce
- LBS Innovation Series: Supply challenges and consumer expectations
- LBS Innovation Series: Robotics and AI are coming your way
- LBS Innovation Series: Consumer trends and future foods
- LBS Innovation Series: The future of agricultural production systems
- LBS Innovation Series: Cities that feed our planet
- LBS Innovation Series: Is big data the answer for the future of agribusiness?

Learn more about LBS’ Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance

LBS’ Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance (CPSGAP) aims to improve public sector performance and the capacity of public sector managers and regulators to carry out their tasks. Professor Zahirul Hoque, director of CPSGAP, and other members of the Centre conduct interdisciplinary research into various areas in the public sector around six main themes: Governance, Accountability, Financial Management, Strategy, Risk Management and Performance Management.

Read about CPSGAP’s recent grant, research and publication successes, and some of the upcoming events the Centre is organising.

Grants

Professor Zahirul Hoque and Dr Esin Ozdil received a grant from the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand for a pilot project to examine the role of performance audits in ensuring stewardship and accountability in Australian government entities.

International collaborations

Last month, Professor Zahirul Hoque delivered a speech on accountability in the healthcare sector at the Emerging Health Policy Research Conference, organised by the University of Sydney Menzies Centre for Health Policy. The speech was based on research conducted with Professor Manuela S. Macinati and Dr Marco Giovanni Rizzo at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.

Medical managers’ accountability and performance

Since ancient times, the concept of ‘accountability’ has been a fundamental issue for organisations in the public and private sectors and society in general. In his speech, Zahirul discussed how a decade old concept became an issue for professional medical managers in an Italian hospital, with an important role in the association between medical managers’ work commitment and performance. Practically, enhanced knowledge of the current state of accountability practices in an Italian hospital will benefit global clinical professionals and external stakeholders when making organisational decisions, including performance measurement.

Events

The CPSGAP has a couple of events coming up.

Seminar and book launch – Nonprofits cost management

Cost accounting and cost management tools are considered a means to provide adequate and quality information for management control for all sorts of organisations, including nonprofits. The seminar examines the current costing and cost management practices in the Australian nonprofit sector.

The research behind the seminar has led to a book titled “Cost management for nonprofit and voluntary organisations”, written by Professor Zahirul Hoque and Dr Tarek Rana. The book offers insight into how nonprofit and voluntary organisations control and manage costs of their operation and projects through cost accounting and cost management tools using empirical evidence from the Australian nonprofit sector.

Book cover: Cost management for nonprofit and voluntary organisations

The official book launch will take place on the 22th of November 2019, from 3 pm to 5 pm at the La Trobe City Campus, Level 2, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne, Room 2.10. Find more info about the seminar and the book launch here.

Annual Public Sector Symposium – Accountability and governance

The CPSGAP Annual Public Sector Symposium showcases research on emerging issues in the public sector. This year’s key themes are ‘Accountability, Ethics, Governance and Performance Management‘ which are shaping public debates across the globe.

At the moment CPSGAP is calling for papers. Those interested have until the 30th September 2019 to submit a brief synopsis of a paper. The full paper is due by 15 November 2019.

The CPSGAP Annual Public Sector Symposium will take place on the 2nd of December 2019 at the La Trobe City Campus, Level 2, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne. Find more info about the symposium here.

Publications

There have also been some great research articles published the last year:

  • Ozdil, E., & Hoque, Z. (2019). Accounting as an engine for the re‐creation of strategy at a university. Accounting & Finance.
  • Rana, T., Hoque, Z., & Jacobs, K. (2019). Public sector reform implications for performance measurement and risk management practice: insights from Australia. Public Money & Management, 39(1), 37-45.
  • Zawawi, N. H. M., & Hoque, Z. (2019). The Implementation and Adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard in a Government Agency. Australian Accounting Review.
  • Pawsey, N., Ananda, J., & Hoque, Z. (2018). Rationality, accounting and benchmarking water businesses: An analysis of measurement challenges. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 31(3), 290-315.

Check out the Centre’s website for more information about their research, projects, collaborations, members and more: https://www.latrobe.edu.au/cpsgap

LBS students recognised at Melbourne Prize Ceremony

Last month, La Trobe University held the Melbourne Prize Ceremony to recognise and celebrate students, their hard work and dedication, and their great accomplishments in pursuit of higher education. Sixty Prizes were awarded, relating to the 2018 Academic year results, for both undergraduate and post graduate studies, and 2019 scholarships. The Prizes are made possible through the generous support of donors.

LBS Recipients

Several LBS students were awarded during the 2019 Melbourne Prize Ceremony. Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce presented the Prize recipients, and Dr Phil Moors AO, LTU Deputy Chancellor, and Professor Jane Hamilton, Head and Dean of La Trobe Business School congratulated the students on stage.

Brett Davidson: Brett received the GMAA Award for achieving the highest overall mark in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Brett Davidson receiving his Award
Brett receiving his Prize

Lisa Ford: Lisa received the Leon Capraro Memorial Award. The award was established to commemorate Leon Capraro’s service to La Trobe University Union. Lisa received the Prize for her outstanding result in the subject Tourism and Hospitality Simulation.

Lisa Ford receiving her Award
Lisa receiving her Prize

Morgan Pecar: Morgan was awarded the CPA Australia Prize – Second Year for achieving the highest overall mark in second year accounting subjects.

Morgan Pecar receiving her Prize
Morgan receiving her Prize

Lachlan Ray: Lachlan received the Australian Government, Productivity Commission Prize. He received the Prize for achieving the highest mark in the subject Competition and market Failure.

Lachlan Ray receiving his Prize
Lachlan receiving his Prize

Sharni Robinson: Sharni received the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand – Strategic Management Accounting Prize. She was awarded the Prize for achieving the highest mark in the subject Strategic Management Accounting.

Sharni Robinson receiving her Prize
Sharni receiving her Prize

Wenqing Wei: Wenqing received the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand – Advanced Financial Accounting Prize. She was awarded the Prize for being the top student in the subject Advanced Financial Accounting.

Wenqing Wei receiving her Award
Wenqing receiving her Prize

There were also some award recipients who were unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony:

  • Andreas Demetriou: Andreas was awarded the Vanguard Investments Australia Prize for achieving the highest mark in the subject Financial Planning.
  • Liam Finn-Stanley: Liam was awarded the Donald Whitehead Prize. The Prize is established in memory of Professor Donald Whitehead, the foundation head of the original precursor to LBS, and is awarded to an outstanding Bachelor of Commerce Honours Student. 
  • Kimberley Guild: Kimberley was awarded the Financial Planning Association of Australia Prize. Kimberley received the award because she had the best assessed financial plan as part of the Financial Planning Major, based on assessment in the subject Case Studies in Financial Planning.
  • Matthew Moore: Matthew was awarded theChartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand – Introductory Financial Accounting Prize. He was awarded the Prize for achieving the highest mark in the subject Accounting and Information Systems.
  • Alafiya Moiz Najmudeen: Alafiya was awarded the Melbourne City Football Club – Sport Management Prize for achieving the highest mark in the subject Sports Practicum.
  • Andrei Safonau: Andrei was awarded the SAP Australian User Group Prize for achieving the highest mark for the subject Enterprise Information Systems.
  • Cristina Teresa Salcedo Martinez De Castro: Cristina was awarded the LBS Commitment to Learning Award for showing the greatest improvements in results, reflecting a commitment and determination to improve learning.
  • Xuanyi Sun: Xuanyi was awarded the CPA Australia Prize – Third Year for achieving the highest overall mark in third year accounting subjects.
  • Raluca Terheci: Raluca was awarded the Unisuper Prize for achieving the highest overall result across the undergraduate core financial planning subjects.
  • Mohammad Usman Yousuf: Mohammad was awarded the CPA Australia Prize – First Year for achieving the highest overall mark in first year accounting subjects.

LBS congratulates all students with their Prizes!

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 11

SDG 11 - sustainable cities and communities

Sustainable development goal eleven (SDG 11) is about sustainable cities and communities, which includes making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The facts

Did you know that:

  • Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today and by 2030, it is estimated that six out of 10 people will be city dwellers.
  • The world’s cities occupy just 3% of the planet’s land but account for 60-80% of all energy consumption and 75% of the planet’s carbon emissions.
  • Close to 95% of urban expansion in the coming decades will take place in the developing world.
  • Rapid urbanisation is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment and public health.
  • Our rapidly growing urban world is experiencing congestion, a lack of basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, and declining infrastructure.
  • Thirty percent of the world’s urban population lives in slums, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, over half of all city dwellers are slum dwellers.

The focus of SDG 11

Today, cities are well recognised as centres of innovation, investment, and play a priority role in driving industrialisation and economic growth in both developed and developing countries alike. Urbanisation plays a critical role in facilitating and ensuring that rural/urban connections that support a balanced territorial development are in place. Cities are therefore well positioned to take the lead in addressing many of the persistent global challenges including pollution, climate change, resilience and environmental degradation, road safety, urban mobility, traffic management, poverty, inequality, unemployment, crimes and security, etc. Cities are also key to finding solutions for new and emerging challenges, which the world is facing, from stemming the rise of plastic waste in our oceans to the introduction of new technologies as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (UN Habitat, 2019).

SDG 11 targets relate to eliminating slum-like conditions, providing accessible and affordable transport systems, reducing urban sprawl, increasing participation in urban governance, enhancing cultural and heritage preservation, addressing urban resilience and climate change challenges, better management of urban environments (pollution and waste management), providing access to safe and secure public spaces for all, and improving urban management through better urban policies and regulations (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

Technology and SDG 11

A key trend in sustainable cities is the massive rise in technology, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), expecting to connect everything in a city – from the electricity grid to the sewer pipes to roads, buildings and vehicles.

Smart cities

Governments and researchers since the 1990s have been using the term ‘Smart Cities’ because it could help certain cities to distinguish and promote themselves as innovative. A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently.

Examples of Smart City initiatives include the city of Barcelona, where a new bus network based on data analysis of the most common traffic flows in Barcelona and the integration of multiple smart city technologies allows buses to run on routes with the most green lights.  In Stockholm, the Green IT program seeks to reduce environmental impact through IT functions such as energy efficient buildings (minimising heating costs), traffic monitoring (minimising the time spent on the road) and development of e-services (minimising paper usage). An alternative use of smart city technology can be found in Santa Cruz, California, where local authorities analyse historical crime data in order to predict police requirements and maximise police presence where it is required (World Economic Forum, 2018).

It is important to remember that the challenge of sustainable cities is not simply about developing new technological solutions to long-standing problems. Rather, success in this sphere will be achieved only by balancing the demands of social and economic development with careful environmental management and innovative urban governance.

Systems approach

Thinking about the other 16 SDGs, it is clear that SDG 11 has the potential for inter-linkages and taking a real systems approach. For example, natural disasters and other climate impacts are endogenous to development – they are not a separate issue to be considered independently (i.e. SDG 11 and 13).  Effective, inclusive development in cities will need to consider the needs of people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups (i.e. SDG 11 and 10). Indeed, it is important to take a systems approach to the implementation of SDG 11, and the other SDGS, which suggests that sustainability can only be achieved by first recognising and then balancing the trade-offs among the various goals across environmental, economic and social systems.

Smart education

Smart cities and technological interconnectedness also impact education, recognising the need for education programs producing graduates with modern knowledge, practical skills and collaborative attitudes. LBS is at the forefront of this so-called “smart education”. LBS is a Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion, which means our students are taught to become responsible leaders who are informed and capable of balancing the demands of business with economic, social and environmental sustainability, undertaking innovative projects that respond to future systemic challenges (read more about our PRME commitments here). In addition, LBS developed new degrees such as the Bachelor of Business Analytics and the Bachelor of Digital Business to provide students with the skills necessary to work and live in a smart (city) environment.

SDG Video

The video on SDG 11 is produced by LBS and shows Dr Swati Nagpal and Paul Strickland. Swati firstly discusses the importance of cities – they make us more productive and creative and are the key social and organising units of our time – and talks about the SDG 11 targets, the stakeholders involved, and the concept of smart cities. Paul focuses on the Kingdom of Bhutan and their experience and dealing with rapid growing urbanisation, the country’s pioneering role in the development of the Gross National Happiness Indicator – measuring the collective happiness and wellbeing of the population – and the country’s 2020 vision around waste management, greening the construction industry, and conservation.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series:

- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 9
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 10

Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition – A new paradigm in AI

Data is everywhere and being created almost constantly. This calls for a new way of handling data.

With traditional data, the person who wants to use the data has to create that data. Although called Artificial Intelligence (AI), traditionally AI needs to be trained with data and outcomes that are known. So researchers have to build the Artificial Intelligence and algorithms to suit the problem and to suit the data. Now, data is generated by machines, leading to great amounts of data yet to be interpreted. Machines generate data at a rate that could go up to hundred thousands of data points a second. This data is being created through media, the cloud, the web, the Internet of Things, sensors, etc. It is no longer possible to connect each of these individual data point to objects in the real world. It is not possible anymore to build the AI, because the data is unknown, and so is the problem or outcome.

This new type of data is in real-time, online, machine generated, in high volumes and granular, and means we need a new paradigm. A paradigm that allows AI to make sense of data collected through for example text, images and videos, especially in social media, and capture feelings, emotions and someone’s personality.

CDAC AI

Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition Lab

LBS’ Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition Lab (CDAC) specialises in research and development of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms and the transformation of these into practical tools and technology for business and other practical applications in advanced analytics. The team consist of a group of big data experts with outstanding research and academic achievements on top of many years of industry experience in the areas of finance, telecommunications, IT and business.

CDAC and the new paradigm

One of the key areas CDAC is involved with, building AI that builds itself, called self-structuring AI. The other aspect is that it allows for unsupervised learning. This means that the AI not only builds itself, it also learns by itself. It does not need to be trained. It can still be trained, but it has the capability to learn by itself. The CDAC team then transforms this technology into practical technology, called technological AI building blocks so it can be used to serve the community.

The great news is that collaboration is already taking place with industry, governments and academia.

Contact or visit

For more information visit the Centre for Data Analytics and Cognition.

Donald Whitehead Building, Room 301, Level 3
La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086

Or visit the website https://www.latrobe.edu.au/cdac

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