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Watch: How solving social problems can inspire your business career

This article was first published on Nest, a haven of new ideas for people who are all kinds of clever. Read the original article.

Amid claims that narcissism is on the rise, the ability to practise empathy is fast becoming a stand-out career skill. And according to Rafiuddin Ahmed, a PhD candidate researching social business and innovation at La Trobe University, it’s a skill you’re never too young to learn.

In partnership with his supervisor, Professor Gillian Sullivan Mort, Rafiuddin has founded a start-up to teach social entrepreneurship to children aged 8–12. The weekly lessons combine ‘active compassion’ with basic business marketing. Children are introduced to social issues, like poverty in other parts of the world, and learn how to do something practical in response to the moral outrage they feel.

If you’re passionate about making a positive social impact through your career, watch our video to discover how social business has inspired Rafiuddin to become an ethical entrepreneur.

Start your social business with a Master of Management (Entrepreneurship and Innovation) at La Trobe University.

LBS alumni event a huge success!

On 25 October, La Trobe Business School welcomed Dr Fiona McKenzie from the Australian Futures Project for the school’s annual Alumni Event.

Dr Fiona McKenzie was welcomed by La Trobe Business School’s Head of School, Professor Paul Mather. Event attendees included LBS alumni, university and industry stakeholders.

In her speech, Dr Fiona McKenzie spoke about how businesses today are influenced by massive digital disruption and are taking the opportunity to expand globally. This trend has often caused businesses process transform and jobs performed by people to be redefined.

La Trobe Business School would like to thank Dr Fiona McKenzie for attending!

Will robots take our jobs?

Find out more about how the digital disruption will affect the future of work at our upcoming La Trobe Business School Alumni Event with Dr McKenzie.

This article was first published on Nest, a haven of new ideas for people who are all kinds of clever. Read the original article.

Technology advances are rapidly changing the world of work as we know it.

PwC predicts 44 per cent (5.1 million) of current Australian jobs are at high risk of being affected by computerisation and technology over the next 20 years. ‘By “high risk”’ the PwC report clarifies ‘we mean there’s a greater than 70 per cent chance the job could be automated by technology’.

La Trobe Futurist Dr Fiona McKenzie discusses the challenges and opportunities of digital disruption in the future workforce, and how we can adapt.

What jobs will become automated?

The 2015 PwC report says jobs most likely to be affected are those where computer learning systems or robotics are able to perform simple and routine tasks faster and more accurately than humans. ‘These typically include unskilled or low-skilled activities in offices, factories and shops,’ it states.

Dr McKenzie says we’re already seeing the seeds of automation in our neighbouring countries. ‘There’s change happening in the manufacturing space with automated robots and co-bots (collaborative robots), which are potentially going to totally change the garment industry and affect employment for millions and millions of people in Asia.’

‘What’s interesting,’ Dr McKenzie further points out, ‘is that people in mid-level jobs are now starting to feel the pinch too.

‘People thought skilled-labour would be safe from automation but in actual fact there are developments where relatively sophisticated tasks can now be automated too.’

Dr McKenzie says ‘I’m hesitant to say whole sectors’ will be automated or safe from automation. Rather, ‘there will be chunks of every sector that will change.’

Roles that require creative thinking, emotional intelligence, intuition and ‘all those things that humans have the advantage on’ will be safe in the near future. As will jobs that require human, face-to-face interactions, such as those in the healthcare sector.

What opportunities can digital disruption offer?

‘We tend to fear that what we don’t know, but automation creates a whole opportunity for something else to be augmented,’ explains Dr McKenzie.

For example, a nurse whose job is to deliver food to patients may find there’s an automated delivery cart that can soon do just that. ‘This can create the opportunity for the nurse to spend more time sitting with the patient, measuring blood pressure and providing better care,’ Dr McKenzie says, ‘and in fact Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital introduced automated guided vehicles to move linen and food back in 2012’.

The advent of the internet and the ability to instantly connect with others across the globe has also enabled the rise of ‘digital nomads’ and freelancers to work from anywhere in the world for anyone in the world.

CSIRO’s recent report into ‘Tomorrow’s digitally enabled workforce’ ‘identifies plausible [future] scenarios via which the many – possibly most – Australian workers become portfolio workers and freelancers’.

Dr McKenzie says, ‘There’s a huge cohort that will be highly skilled, in demand and able to shape their future – and they’ll flourish in this environment.

‘There’ll be lots of opportunities in terms of entrepreneurialism, portfolio work, creating your own identity, being able to work around the world and doing work you’re interested in rather than being tied to one job.’

The rise of portfolio work and the gig economy could mean people can choose flexible work like nights, weekends and part-time, which could be particularly beneficial to parents.

It could also open up more doors for rural dwellers to work remotely for urban and international companies.

The dark side of the precariat workforce

The flipside of the rise of the precariat workforce – that is a working class characterised by ‘precarious work’ – could be that lack of job security increases stress and anxiety for some.

‘The precariat, that concept of “the new vulnerable” in the workplace is important to pay attention to because it is potentially a large cohort of people, says Dr McKenzie.

‘People may feel unsafe, they may feel insecure and like the economy is not ticking along. That plays out in all sorts of ways in politics and society and mental health.’

Dr McKenzie also wonders: ‘If we’re all working in a gig economy, what happens if we don’t have employment contracts and super?’ There’s talk of basic universal income, but we’re yet to know how that might play out.

Similarly, for an aging workforce expected to work into their 70s, Dr McKenzie says we might need to challenge assumptions and paradigms around retirement. People in this age-group might work on a semi-retired basis, they could work as business mentors, or perhaps unpaid roles like childcare and volunteering that this cohort regularly partake in will become financially rewarded roles.

The blurring of work boundaries that means we can potentially work remotely for overseas organisations, could also mean a lot of home-grown jobs are taken offshore.

In 2012, every third adult in OECD countries had a tertiary degree reports CSIRO. ‘That’s a massive cohort of young people coming through with higher education degrees worldwide, and what does that mean if work is more mobile?’ asks Dr McKenzie. Answer: competition for work increases.

How can we prepare for the future workplace?

To make the Australian economy and Australian workers competitive in the future, Dr McKenzie says we need to look at ‘how we can be the best in the world at the different industries we have and make sure we are winning jobs as well.’

Ultimately, Dr McKenzie says it’s less about the pace of digital disruption, and more about how quickly we respond to it. Dr McKenzie asks whether governments and others ‘will choose to be leaders on this or wait to react.’

‘The important point is that it’s not small. If you think about the Great Depression, unemployment was only around 25 per cent and here we’re talking about 44 per cent of jobs at risk.

‘We’re at six per cent unemployment and it doesn’t take a big shift in unemployment for people to really feel the impact. I hope we’ll all be proactive on this one.’

Find out more about how the digital disruption will affect the future of work at our upcoming La Trobe Business School Alumni Event with Dr McKenzie.

 

LBS Alumni Event: The changing nature of work

We are living in a time where businesses are influenced by massive digital disruption and are taking the opportunity to expand globally. This often requires entire business process transform and jobs performed by people to be redefined.

Join us as leading expert in the changing nature of work Dr Fiona McKenzie, discusses how business leaders can prepare for the future, and the skills required to take advantage of new opportunities.

About the speaker

Dr Fiona McKenzie, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy, Australian Futures Project: Dr Fiona McKenzie is a human geographer with a PhD on innovation and expertise in both public policy and academic research. At the Australian Futures Project, Fiona has led the design and implementation of a range of unique programs, including social innovation labs.

Panel Event

Date: Wednesday 25 October 2017

Time: 5:45pm – Arrival, 6:00pm – Presentation, followed by Q&As, 7:30pm – 8:30pm Networking, canapes and drinks

Venue: La Trobe University City Campus, Level 20, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne

Cost: Free

Register: Please register via the corresponding event page. Please RSVP by Friday 20 October.

Game on: life as an intern with the Melbourne Rebels

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a professional sports game?

La Trobe student John Tran did, and this curiosity led him to an internship with the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Club.

A dream come true

John Tran is in his final year of a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management). As part of this course, students are required to find and complete an internship at a sports club.

When his sports practicum coordinator posted an internship with the Melbourne Rebels on the student noticeboard earlier this year, John, a lifelong sports fan, jumped at the opportunity.

‘I watched a lot of sport as a kid and I always wondered what went on behind the scenes,’ he says.

‘Obviously a lot of people are just focusing on the game, but I’ve learned that there are a lot of things that need to happen for the event to run properly.

‘It’s pretty hectic behind the scenes with everything that needs to be set up and packed down. Among other things, we have to make sure the media are sorted, and that the sponsors’ expectations are being met.

‘As a business, we need to make sure that the sponsors are satisfied with the signage that goes around the stadium and so on.’

While it’s an exciting position for a young sports fan, it’s also a demanding one. Luckily, John was well prepared by his sports practicum coordinator.

‘Before the internship started, we had classes about what to expect, what to do, and how to do it, so that helped a lot. I was also able to put into place a lot of the theory that we learned in sponsorship and events management, two earlier subjects for this course.’

A typical day at the club

In addition to his studies and part-time job, John spends up to three days a week at the club. On a weekday, he’ll be there from 10 am to 5 pm, preparing for game day.

‘We do operational activities, so things like contacting sponsors and making sure they have everything they need,’ he says.

‘We’ve also got to make signs for the locker rooms, so that players know where to go, and signs so officials know where to go, and where to sit, and so on.

‘Then there’s fan activations. For example, there is a Land Rover one where fans come and throw a ball at a target, and we’ve got to make sure that it’s set up in a place where the ball won’t go on the street and is easily collectible. So, I have to use what I’ve learned about OH&S for that!’

This weekday preparation all helps relieve some of the pressure on game days, which are full on. While kick-off is usually in the late evening, John gets to be there behind the scenes much earlier.

‘On game days we’re there from 11 am setting up. We set up, we pack up, we supervise kid’s activities… Timing is critical, so we have our running sheet that says what we need to do and when, and we’re constantly checking things off as we go. It’s a full on, exciting day, and we don’t really get to stop!’

Graduation and beyond

With just one subject to go next semester, the end of John’s degree is well within sight. He hopes his internship with the Melbourne Rebels will be a stepping stone to a graduate position.

‘I think that I will have a lot of connections at the end of this, and I’ve got a lot of experience learning from a professional sports club,’ he says.

John ultimately hopes to use his newfound connections and experience to obtain a job at the end of this year in an events role with a professional club.

‘But just getting the connections and having the experience is the main thing, and this internship has definitely helped me to achieve that.’

Looking to bolster your real-world experience with an internship? Look no further.

All LBS School’s Human Resources Degrees now AHRI accredited!

La Trobe Business School AHRI accreditation

Recently, La Trobe Business School received notification that the Master of Management Online (Human Resource Management), has officially been accredited from 2018 until 2020 by the Australian Human Resources Institute.

What does it mean to be a good HR manager?

According to AHRI, working in HR requires more than just good people skills. When evaluating a university’s course, AHRI’s National Accreditation Committee (NAC) focusses on seven key AHRI competencies for tertiary HR management courses. These are set out in their ‘HR Model of Excellence’. The competencies are based on current trends in the industry and university landscape and summarize the key aspects that drive a good HR manager. Being a good HR manager means having the following capabilities:

  1. Being business driven and having the ability to align people management with business objectives and the external environment,
  2. Setting the HR vision for the organisation and driving to success,
  3. Identifying and responding to stakeholder demands, as well as managing relationships,
  4. Building organisational capability through high performing people,
  5. Exercising influence and providing HR advice to achieve objectives,
  6. Applying expert HR knowledge to deliver value to the business,
  7. Facilitating change in response to internal and external operating environments.

AHRI accreditation is granted to eligible tertiary institutions by the organisation’s NAC, after an intensive reviewing process based on this HR Model of Excellence. Through these application procedures, the AHRI and the NAC strive to maintain a high standard for HR courses nationally and internationally.

Our industry connections make you career ready

What you do at university is important to us.

However, it’s what you do after university that interests us the most. We know that studying is a significant investment, so we’re committed to making sure you graduate ready for work.

With the employment landscape evolving constantly, the best way to make sure we’re teaching the right skills is to go straight to the source. That’s why we work closely with industry to find out what they want in graduates – both right now and in the future.

Developing the degrees industry needs

We’re constantly reinvigorating our courses to prepare you for roles in emerging fields of employment. We work directly with industry to identify skill gaps and develop degrees to address them.

For example, our industry partner Cisco has identified that there are currently a million cybersecurity jobs opening globally, with demand projected to rise in the coming years.

In response to this demand, we’ve developed our new suite of cybersecurity degrees with input from Cisco, Optus, Australia Post, Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Symantec, Atlassian and Cloudera.

Simone Bachmann, Head of Information, Security, Innovation and Culture and Australia Post, says, ‘we need people with problem solving skills, we need innovators, we need people with legal and regulatory skills, we need communicators and educators to help people understand the problem.’ These degrees address the growing need for cybersecurity professionals with interdisciplinary skills.

Our Master of Sport Analytics (developed with leading sports clubs and technology companies), Master of Business Analytics (with 20 per cent of the curriculum taught by industry experts) and Master of Data Science (addressing a data analytics skills shortage) are other examples of our industry relationships preparing students for the future of work.

Future-facing industry partnerships

We’ve established relationships with major organisations to make sure we stay at the forefront of industry developments.

Our partnership with Optus, which focuses on cybersecurity, will result in scholarships and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for our students, as well as employment pathways for graduates.

We work closely with a number of sporting clubs, including Melbourne City Football Club, Carlton Football Club, AFL Player’s Association, Bendigo Spirit and IPL Kings XI Punjab to give our students access to work placements as well as research and internship opportunities.

We’re also the only university to offer an accredited art subject at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). As learning partner for the NGV’s summer exhibition, we’ve offered the subject Summer at the NGV for the past four years – in 2017, students were able to study the work of British icon David Hockney.

Preparing you for success with industry insights

Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, which means that many of today’s roles won’t even exist in the future.

It’s our job to prepare you for the roles of the future. We do this by helping you develop the flexibility and transferable skills you need to adapt to the changing market.

We’ve spoken to a number of employers, including PwC, Commonwealth Bank, Alfred Health, Thoughtworks, Pfizer, CSIRO, Melbourne Football Club, Telstra, Bureau of Meteorology, Deloitte, Certified Practicing Accountants and more to identify the core skills and attributes that employers value most highly.

We’ve used these insights to develop Career Ready, a program that supports you to build the attributes employers want. The program includes an app, a dedicated support team, an on-campus recruitment agency, and a range of activities you can participate in to build your skills.

First-hand industry experience

We’re also making sure our students come into contact with industry while they’re still studying.

With our Professors of Practice program, we’re championing a shift in how industry can contribute to education. Our Professors of Practice are industry professionals employed by the university to advise on curriculum, and, in some cases, teach.

Mark Morris, a Professor of Practice in the Department of Accounting, says, ‘I try to provide insights as to what they will find in the workplace wherever I can, because this is exactly the kind of knowledge that can give them an edge to stand out from the crowd.’

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities place students in organisations, giving them the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real industry environment. After graduation, many of our students are employed by their WIL employer.

This post was originally published on the NEST blog.

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.

 

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