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National Innovation Forum: Call for Best Practice Case Studies


For more information on the forthcoming LBS Northlink National Innovation Forum, see the conference website.

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 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 28 August 2017. A template is available via the corresponding Eventbrite page. Please submit the case studies through the online submission form.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Marjoribanks.

Forum Themes

  • The role of incubators, accelerators and TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in facilitating sustained university-industry innovation and engaging startups and SMEs
  • Understanding the global forces shaping opportunities for business innovation (including for startups and SMEs) over the coming decade
  • Business perspectives on enablers and barriers to university-industry collaboration
  • Developing innovative ecosystems and facilitating their leadership and coordination
  • Regulation and legal framework of the innovation ecosystem (patent law, licensing, federal and state jurisdictions and university policies)
  • The economic, political and societal framework in which businesses and universities operate (incentives, competitiveness, regulation, competition policy, innovation and technology policy)

Important dates

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

Background

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. A central element of the statement was to substantially increase university-industry collaboration on the basis that such alliances have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation, and economic disruption. The statement also recognised that Australia lags behind university-industry partnerships internationally and in translating research into commercial outcomes (i.e. innovation efficiency).

 

Innovate or Perish! – Australia’s Innovation System


For more information on the forthcoming LBS Northlink National Innovation Forum, see the conference website. Early Bird tickets available until 31 August 2017.

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

LBS Professor of Practice in Economics, Dr Mark Cloney, questions popular reports that Australia performs badly in industry-university collaboration and innovation when compared to other OECD countries.

Australia, like the rest of the global economy, is facing significant structural change in the coming decades which offers both challenges and opportunities. Some suggest 40 per cent of today jobs will no longer exist in 10 years and that changing technology (robotics and artificial intelligence etc.) and new business models will continue to disrupt ‘old’ business processes and structures. Others say that this same disruption will also create new growth markets. So is Australia’s innovation glass half full or half empty?

One strategy in meeting challenges and opportunities is adopting continuous innovation and the uptake of innovative skills and technologies. Continual innovation results in new markets, mindsets, skills and organisational re-design which are critical drivers of productivity and growth. According to Universities Australia (2017), universities are central to skilling and upskilling the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs and startups and thereby improving Australia’s innovation system and sustainable growth. Its research finds that more than four in five Australian startup founders are university graduates (Universities Australia, 2017, p.3) and that startups were the largest contributor to job creation in Australia in the last decade (Universities Australia, 2017 p.8).

However,  the health of Australia’s innovation system remains subject to conjecture and contrasting opinions with, for example, Australia sitting at the bottom of OECD (2015) rankings in terms of university-industry collaboration. Moreover, according to Global Innovation Index (2017), Australia slid further down the world rankings in terms of innovation inputs and outputs from 19 to 23 in the latest world rankings among 127 countries (Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO, 2017). Is this really the case?

A report by IP Australia challenges the notion that Australia is at the bottom of the OECD university-industry collaboration index arguing that this finding is based on poor data selection. For example, when you focus on patent applications filed by an Australian university with a collaborator (business partner) Australia moves to the middle of comparable international tables (IP Australia, 2017). Moreover, the city of Melbourne, home to nine universities, was recently named as the ‘most intelligent community’ in the world at the Intelligent Community Forum in New York in June 2017. Based on six intelligent community indicators the New York think tank pointed to Melbourne’s broadband speed, research institutions, new innovation precincts and its focus on sustainability as its major strengths.

Concerns over the performance of Australia’s innovation system caused the Federal Government to undertake a Senate Inquiry (2014) and then flag innovation as a major policy focus when it announced its $1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda (Commonwealth of Australia, 2015). A central element of that policy statement was to substantially increase university-industry collaboration on the basis that such alliances internationally have become a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, dealing with the speed of transformation and economic disruption.

The challenge seems to be that Australian universities specialise in innovative research to answer fundamental questions, while businesses have specialist skills in commercialising and implementing products, services and ideas. However, university research can be often disconnected from the innovative needs of business (e.g. startups and SMEs) and not-for-profits.

So is there a disconnect? If so, why the disconnect? Or, are we doing better than we think?

LBS in partnership with NORTH Link is exploring these questions at its National Innovation Forum to be held over September 28 – 29, 2017 at its Bundoora Campus. The Forum offers a unique opportunity not only to hear from recognised national and international thinkers and business leaders on the topic of innovation and university-business collaboration but to also engage with them in Q&A. Two of the speakers, Dr Benjamin Mitra-Kahn, chief economist at IP Australia, and Dr Charles Day, CEO of Office of Innovation and Science Australia, will explore the current health of Australia’s innovation system in some detail. The Forum also presents industry and academic perspectives on how we can continue to improve innovation through university-industry interactions and engagement, particularly for startups and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) through the use of business accelerators and incubators.

The Forum will no doubt provide new insights on whether Australia’s innovation glass is indeed half full or half empty.

References:

Commonwealth of Australia (2015), National Innovation & Science Agenda: Welcome to the Ideas Boom, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO (2017), The Global Innovation Index 2017: Innovation Feeding the World, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva.

IP Australia (2017), Australian Intellectual Property Report 2017, Commonwealth of Australia (https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-report-2017).

OECD (2015), OECD Innovation Strategy 2015: An Agenda for Policy Action, October 2015.

Universities Australia (2017), Startup Smarts: Universities and the Startups Economy, University Australia, March, universitiesaustralia.edu.au

Innovative Teaching is Rewarded

At La Trobe Business School, Teaching Awards and Teaching Support Staff Awards in our College reflect the extent to which our academics are able to make a real difference to student satisfaction and experience.  This year, there were five College Teaching Awards: LBS staff picked up three of the five awards in total.  In addition to the College Academic Staff Teaching Awards, the College also recognises the important role tutors and casual teaching support staff play in supporting academics to deliver a quality student experience. This year LBS staff picked up two of the four awards made.

Winners of the teaching awards were:

Peter Matheis (Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Marketing) for developing effective, engaging and innovative approaches to student learning and collaborative teaching initiatives in Marketing through blended flip-class room designs and resource curricula development

Esin Ozdil (Accounting and Data Analytics) for implementing diverse and timely formal and informal evaluation techniques that improve teaching and enhance students learning experience and engagement in different subject delivery modes

Seema Miglani and Biserka Siladi (Accounting and Data Analytics) for the development and delivery of a multi-campus, third year core subject using blended-learning technologies and resulting in improved levels of students’ satisfaction and understanding of real-word issues of auditing and assurance.

Winners for the Teacher Support Staff  category were:

Muhammad Saqib Manzoor (Economics & Finance) for the effective development of learning materials and co-developing assignments that engage and stimulate students as reflected by the high students satisfaction scores

Saedi Khosroshahi (Economics & Finance) for stimulating the students’ curiosity, encouraging critical thinking and promoting effective communication.

 

La Trobe’s tourism studies garner international recognition

By Warwick Frost

La Trobe University has made the inaugural QS World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management this year, while a key faculty member recently received an international award for her tourism research.

For the first time, this year’s QS World University Rankings include Hospitality and Leisure Management as a category. From Victoria, Monash University (22) and La Trobe University (50) were included in the top 50. The other four Australian universities recognised were: Griffith University (9), The University of Queensland (12), University of South Australia (27) and Southern Cross University (38).

This comes as we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of La Trobe University and the 21st birthday for our Bachelor of Business in Tourism and Hospitality. It is also significant that Tourism and Hospitality was the only area at La Trobe to be placed in the global top 50.

The rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. Sixteen of the top 50 institutions are located in Europe, 15 are from North America, 10 from Asia and six from Australia. The University of Nevada – Las Vegas came in at first place.

Many of the universities in the top 10 are specialist institutions, including Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (2) and Swiss Hotel Management School (8).

LBS Associate Professor Jennifer Laing awarded Emerging Scholar of Distinction for 2017

Associate Professor Jennifer Laing of the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism at La Trobe University was recently awarded the Emerging Scholar of Distinction for 2017 by the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. She received the award at a conference in Guangzhou, China in May.

Laing says that most of her research has been conducted in Victoria. “My research on festivals and events has primarily examined their social benefits and meanings, such as their role in changing environmental behaviour,” she says. “I have also looked at practical problems such as governance issues affecting the viability of rural festivals, like succession planning and volunteer burnout.” Her  work has covered four main research areas: the social dimension of events, the role of tourism in rural and regional development, media and travel narratives, and health and wellness tourism.

The Academy (which is headquartered at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) was created to further scholarly research in tourism, and its Fellows are comprised of highly accomplished tourism researchers from around the world. Up to three scholars receive this award every two years and applicants must be within 10 years of having completed their PhD.

The award acknowledges Dr Laing’s contribution to tourism research and her substantial publication track record of innovative and ground-breaking research in top-tier journals and co-authorship of five research books. It is the first time a Victorian scholar has won this award.

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.

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.

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

  • 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.

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

Register: Please register via this link.

La Trobe Business School Professor shares SeniorPreneur insights on Studio 10 National TV

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz

Recently, La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz, appeared on Channel 10’s morning show. He shared research outcomes from the recent nbn Silver Economy Report, where he collaborated on research and analysis on a national SeniorPreneur research project.

SeniorPreneurs emerge from retirement

The Silver Economy Report reveals that tech-savvy baby boomers are expected to contribute an additional $ 11.9billion to the Australian GDP in new ventures each year, Insights reveal that SeniorPreneurs are expected to start 14,000 new businesses each year; representing the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship. 34% of all small businesses are lead by senior entrepreneurs. More than half (54%) of them claim they employ a predominantly online model in their businesses, with 61% of them preferring to upskill online. Be it motivation to create or supplement income (67%), pursue passion projects (58%) or keep mentally stimulated (55%), these tech-savvy boomers are undergoing a new renaissance.

The Silver Economy Report is available online, here.

The Studio 10 TV in-studio interview is available here (Professor Alex Maritz speaks at 1:48).

La Trobe Business School is at the cutting edge of innovation and technology when it comes to offering tech-savvy Entrepreneurship Education courses online. For more information, click here.

LBS alumni Kate Davenport at La Trobe University: “No working day is the same.”

LBS alumna Kate Davenport

La Trobe Business School alumni Kate Davenport recently started working as a Consultant in Leadership and Capability (Organisational Development) at La Trobe University’s Human Resources department in Bundoora.

After having graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor in Accounting for La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University’s Albury Wodonga campus, Kate went on to take part in La Trobe University’s Graduate Development Program. Through the program, graduates have the opportunity to work in three different departments of the university over twelve months, allowing them to develop a deep understanding of the operations of several teams and how these teams intersect working on different projects as well as developing transferable skills they can use throughout their careers.

Kate completed three rotations of four months, each time working in a different department of the university: one the marketing department, one in the College of Science, Health and Engineering, as well as one in the Tertiary Enabling Program, all based in Albury-Wodonga.

“Out of all rotations, I think I enjoyed the one in the Tertiary Enabling Program the most,” she says. “Through this program, I assisted students with their studies and the transition to University– either via email or face-to-face, assisted lecturers with their classes and provided input into the curriculum. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to watch the students grow and develop while participating in the program. I also learnt to communicate better, and understand the different kinds of communication that stakeholders require.”

Kate also mentions how she refined a lot of transferable skills throughout the graduation program: “During the program, I really developed a strong knowledge of the different areas and departments within the university. I also worked on a regional campus before coming to Bundoora. I believe that this was a big advantage, since it allows me to really bring a regional perspective to the table, and make sure the needs of staff in regional areas are taken into account. The program also gave me the opportunity to participate in development sessions and paired me with a mentor to further enable my professional development.”

Throughout her degree, Kate worked at an accounting firm at Albury-Wodonga, working in self-managed superannuation funds: “I really enjoyed the work, but it would sometimes start to feel monotonous,” she comments. “At La Trobe, I enjoy the variety of my current position. I work on a range of different projects and not a single day is the same, which is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

The perks of being a PhD student rep


By Anne Brouwer

Why would you become a student representative?

Let me rephrase that.Why would you want to read 30-page policies? Why would you want to spend hours in meetings? Why would you choose to put yourself out there and speak up to higher management? Why would you want to deal with other people’s problems? Why would you want to be the one to open up a can of worms?

You won’t believe this, but it’s actually quite fun!

Of course, there is the feeling of satisfaction for serving the greater good. I can’t deny that it feels awesome to help fellow graduate students when they have issues concerning their PhD journey.

There is the unique experience of learning how educational institutions operate, of realising how complex universities are and getting a sense of the politics behind it.

There are the networks you make, not only with fellow graduate students but getting to personally know the people in charge! You know, the ones that help run this joint, like the Dean, Associate Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, School Graduate Coordinators and so on. They are the kind of people that might come in handy when you need an extension, reference or a job.

Talking about jobs, extracurricular activities definitely boost your resume. I have built up a wide array of examples for future job interviews that show leadership skills, project management, resolving conflict situations, organising events, time management, teamwork, etc. I hate to say it, but it’s important to show your future employer that you’re more than just a person who holds a doctorate. Let’s face it, our future prospects in academia don’t look all that great, especially not when all you have been doing is your PhD, just like all the others holding doctorates out there.

But, as I said earlier, it is also just really fun. Going to exclusive events, getting free food and drinks, making new friends among your fellow PhD students, learning that the students in the other College aren’t as scary after all, and just getting the opportunity to hang out with people you would otherwise never come across.

Another great thing about being a student rep is that it allows you to get away from your PhD research without feeling too guilty about it. I quickly realised that working full-time on my PhD research was not going to work for me. It is mentally draining, I have a short attention span, and I’m easily bored. These three years should not only be about working hard on my research, but also for some socialising, fun, and freebies as well!

And if you think “it doesn’t matter because nobody will listen to us”, you’ve got it all wrong. When I started out as a graduate student representative about a year ago, I quickly came to realise that La Trobe takes its graduate student reps seriously. When we raise issues, action is usually taken straight away and feedback that we give on candidature policies actually gets incorporated.

If you are like me and allergic to people who only complain and don’t do anything to make their problems go away, and if you read this blog thinking being a student rep could indeed be fun, then shoot me an email (a.brouwer@latrobe.edu.au) and let’s talk about how you can get involved!

Anne Brouwer is a PhD Candidate and a Research Scholar in the La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University. 

She has completed a Master of Science degree from both the Technical University Munich and University of Wageningen, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests are in green marketing, greenwashing and sustainable consumption. 

She is the student representative for the ASSC College on the Board of Graduate Research and the student representative for the La Trobe Business School. 

Outside LTU activities she travels around the world (whenever her schedule allows it), volunteers as a marketer for a non-profit organisation, hikes around Victoria and cycles a lot. She tweets from @AnneRBrouwer.

This post was originally published on the RED Alert Research Blog.

London Bridge Will Never Fall Down

London at dusk


Paul Mather is Head of La Trobe Business School and Professor of Governance and Financial Accounting.

 Many Melbournians watched the events unfolding in London on Sunday morning (AEST) in horror.  As I am London born, and lived there for many years prior to moving to Australia, the familiarity of the scenes added to the horror and raw emotions I felt.  I walked many of the bridges in London as part of daily commutes, and the “bridge run” that often covered London Bridge, where you run up one bridge, along the embankment and return via another bridge, was a regular feature at one stage of my life. Exhilarating, but the river Thames at dawn is often exceedingly cold and I can still feel my skin tingle!

These events of Sunday morning made me reflect on a number of matters, including the relevance of what was unfolding to business more broadly and leadership in particular and I wanted to share some of these reflections.

First, the importance of leadership and resilience however stressful or overwhelming these situations may be.  In a famous TED talk, General Stanley McChrystal said “those who depend on us need their leaders on our feet”.  I would extend that and suggest that it is not just on their feet but standing tall.   Who will forget the leadership and sheer presence of the then Mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani who inspired millions of people in the US and beyond in the aftermath of 9/11?

Second, that you should never waste a crisis! The British Prime Minister saying “enough is enough” in her initial public statement many hope signals her seeing an opportunity to use these horrific events to make necessary changes to the approach taken to counter extremism that may otherwise have been more challenging.

Third, notwithstanding the circumstances, there is always a need to remain true to your core values and those of your organisation. In the context of Britain at this time, it is not to be tempted by populism, and to remain mindful of the values that underpin British society, especially around civil liberties and the rule of law.

Fourth, the extended TV coverage showed us very clearly that being a leader is a lot more than having a title and that, when tested, many people show leadership and courage irrespective of their official position. The composure under immense pressure shown by first responders such as unarmed police officers, paramedics, and  numerous bystanders was a sight to behold and restored my faith in humanity. My personal stand out was the gentleman with a strong Cockney (East London) accent who described how he threw chairs and bottles at one of the terrorists to draw him away from someone under threat.  These selfless acts are a timely reminder that leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and is scattered right through all organisations and does not just reside in the C suite.

Finally, at a more operational level, whilst the British police and armed forces are often considered amongst the best in the world, one can only wonder at the amount of risk analysis and planning that underpinned the terrorist threat being eliminated within 8 minutes of the first call.  We face different risks with far less impact in everyday organisational life, but these actions are nevertheless a reminder to all of us about the importance of analysing and mitigating operating and financial risk.

Back to London. Londoners are resilient and you underestimate them at your peril. Of one thing I am certain. A great City and its people that withstood the plague, the blitz during World War 2, and more recently the IRA bombings, are not going to be cowed by a group of extremists. Contrary to the words in the famous nursery rhyme, London Bridge will never fall down.

In 1963, the US President John Kennedy visited West Berlin, a City surrounded by East Germany at the start of the Cold War and, in a speech designed to express solidarity with a beleaguered City, said “I take pride in the words ich bin ein Berliner”.  I am now a proud Melbournian but on Sunday I realized that London will always be my second home and I too take pride in the words-I am a Londoner.

 

Antony Jacobson, Professor of Practice -Entrepreneurship at La Trobe Business School, was a special guest lecturer at St Helena Secondary College, Eltham North

Professor Of Practice Antony Jacobson was invited to address Year 11 students on overcoming innovation challenges on 25 May 2017. This presentation was a follow on to students from St Helena Secondary College attending one of the three VCE Business Forums held by the LBS at La Trobe University in February this year.

In the lecture at St Helena Secondary College, Antony Jacobson explained that disruptive innovation doesn’t only satisfy existing consumer needs.  Rather, such innovation creates new boundaries, horizons, products and services that have not been thought of before. The innovator of today is a pioneer who takes our lives, imagination and our functionality to new and previously unimagined areas.

Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson sparked students’ enthusiasm by stating that, “in the coming years, the world will be focused and enthused by never before seen innovations and we will be reading about the schools and universities these innovative pioneers came from. Never underestimate your own ability, passion and intelligence as a potential disruptive entrepreneur and let’s in the coming years read about the world’s new innovators that have come from St Helena Secondary College and La Trobe University”

Professor of Practice Jacobson will be visiting numerous high schools through the remainder of 2017, addressing students about entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities, and making them aware of the exciting Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses and subject offerings available at La Trobe Business School.

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