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LBS students conducting successful Capstone Project

Students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) got the chance to work on a real-world project for the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD). Their task was to design a Digital Twin Inspection Tool project for the Australian Marine and Ship Services.

Even though the scenario was fictional, the industry partners were very real. Students had to design the Digital Twin Inspection Tool to be an inspection application for Deloitte, compatible with Apple technology. Both Deloitte and Apple have been closely involved with the subject through guest lectures but also by mentoring the teams.

Awards night

At the end of the semester LBS and Deloitte organised an awards night where the best five teams presented their project and received an award. Awards were handed out for the most complete design, the most innovative design, the very simple design and the most logical design.

Team Black Pearl presenting their design
Team The Sailors presenting their design

The next step

After designing the application during BUS5BDP, the award winning projects are going to be developed and tested during the subject Business Intelligence Project Implementation (BUS5BPI). Both subjects are so-called capstone subjects, and in this case, twin capstone MBIMS subjects. Capstone subjects provide the student with opportunities to demonstrate their capacity to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their degree and apply them to a real-world problem. Usually the industry partners are only involved in BUS5BDP, but both Deloitte and Apple have already indicated that they want to be part of BUS5BPI as well. If one or more Digital Twin Inspection Tool applications would be fully developed, tested and implemented, that would mean a unique outcome for a Capstone subject at La Trobe University.

LBS staff and students with Deloitte delegates

Watch this space next semester for updates!

Social Robot Matilda is a big hit in classrooms

LBS researcher Dr  Seyed Mohammed SadeghKhaksar was recently interviewed by Channel 9 News Melbourne on his research with social robot Matilda.

Matilda

Matilda was originally co-created by LBS’ Research Centre for Computers, Communication and Social Innovations (RECCSI) in partnership with Japan’s NEC Corporation and Kyoto University. Matilda is a communication robot with emotional intelligence. Matilda can recognise human voices and faces, detect emotions, read and recite text, dance and play music. It can read a person’s feelings by the tone in their voice and interact accordingly. Matilda was previously used successfully in aged care research. Early this year, RECCSI teamed up with Waratah Special Developmental School to trial Matilda as a classroom companion.

Matilda in the classroom

The current research aims to investigate how social robots like Matilda can emotionally and socially engage students with special needs (e.g. children with autism), enable them with personalised services and empower them to live more independently in classrooms. Matilda’s personalised services could be used to create a more effective teaching environment and provide tailored support to teachers and students. Dr Khaksar is the Research Project Manager and said that “this study is about assisting both teachers and students, especially those who have special needs, who face particular challenges in their learning environments.”

According to Dr Khaksar, the results are positive. “As soon as the kids see Matilda in the classroom, their faces light up and they become more interested and engaged”. Matilda is patient, non-judgemental and interactive which allows students to form a bond with it. “The robot can speak to students, read and act out characters in books, as well as set tasks. But it can also tirelessly repeat things hundreds of times if necessary”. Matilda is not only enabling students to develop better communication, but also social and cognitive skills.

Social Innovation

RECCSI Research Manager and Associate Professor Debbie Chu said this type of technology is in high demand. “La Trobe is at the forefront in creating solutions for social innovation. Our hope is that La Trobe’s robotic technology, which delivers emotional assistance and companionship over physical services, will be employed widely across Australia”.

Watch the interview: here

Some information in this blog was originally published by LTU News

LBS event providing opportunities for Latrobe Lifeskills participants

LBS recently organised the highly successful Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (#18IFAF) in collaboration with NORTHLink. Besides providing interesting masterclasses and insightful presentations and key notes, the event also provided work experience for two participants from Latrobe Lifeskills.

Latrobe Lifeskills

Latrobe Lifeskills provides support to people with disability. They are a Registered Training Organisation (TOID 20791) that provides nationally recognised courses and community engagement activities for young people living with disability. Participants of Latrobe Lifeskills engage in meaningful activities and relationships, whilst participating as fully as possible at La Trobe University and the broader community.

Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum

During #18IFAF, Vasi and Jackson, were given the opportunity to assist with packing delegate bags, preparing delegate name badges and lanyards. Both participants greeted people as they arrived on registration day, handed out delegate bags and name badges/lanyards.

According to Tammy Matthews-Prosser, Latrobe Lifeskills Participant Support Manager, these opportunities are invaluable to participants as they offer genuine experience in an employment and community setting.

“Vasi and Jackson grew with confidence and pride wearing their La Trobe Business School t-shirts with the opportunity to meet and greet delegates. They were diligent, efficient, friendly and great ambassadors for both Latrobe Lifeskills and La Trobe University”. – Tammy Matthews-Prosser.

Vasi and Jackson were supported by LTU staff and student ambassadors

LBS’ success at the LTU Awards 2018

Several LBS staff have been recognised for their excellent teaching and research during the La Trobe University Staff Awards 2018.

Teaching and Learning Awards

Two staff members received a citation for outstanding contributions to student learning. Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh received the citation for transforming a university-wide subject, Leadership: What Matters (MGT3LWM), to inspire leadership capacities in undergraduate third year students.

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh

Dr Petrus Usmanij received a citation for providing innovative learning and teaching of real business context in capstone subjects through experiential learning and real-life problem solving.

Dr Petrus Usmanij

Research Excellence Awards

Dr Daswin De Silva received the Excellence in Research Award (Mid-Career Researcher). The award is in recognition of Daswin’s outstanding contribution to La Trobe University through his work in the La Trobe Business School contributing to digital disruption, significant research income, high impact, collaborative publications and research supervision and leadership.

Dr Daswin De Silva

LBS congratulates Jasvir, Petrus and Daswin on their impressive achievements!

La Trobe Business School – End of Year party

Last week, December 13, all LBS staff and PhD Candidates were invited to Plaka Greek Restaurant for the La Trobe Business School End of Year Function.

Even though it was a typical Australian, scorching hot and 37-degree day, the Christmas cheer was all around. It was an afternoon filled with music, singing, laughter, good company and nice food. It was also great to see staff from the regional campuses joining the party.

The music was provided by Decky Music Band, with our own Dr. Marthin Nanere on the guitar & harmonica. 

Some staff dressed up in Christmas-themed attire, wearing Santa hats.

Throughout the afternoon, several groups joined the band on stage to sing some great Christmas classics.

The department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing teamed up with the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism and sang Feliz Navidad together.

The LBS admin team seemed to have some true singers in the making among their team and did a great job performing their songs.

And the executive team also joined in for a song.

The La Trobe Business School wishes everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all your effort and hard work over 2017.

LBS School Manager Donna Burnett receives 2017 Award for Excellence in School and Faculty Management!

By Donna Burnett

The ATEM Best Practice Awards for 2017 was held at the Arts Centre, with over 150 staff from Tertiary institutions throughout Aus and NZ.
Recognising professional management and administration in the Tertiary Education sector is fundamentally important not only to the staff recognised, but to the industry as a whole.

Whilst ATEM has worked extremely hard for 41 years to promote a culture where professional managers work to partner academics in the education enterprise, Universities in general still have a long way to go to achieve the same goal.

This award has sought to show that we are equal partners in the profession.

I have received an incredible amount of support from the Leadership team within the LBS and support from Managers within the College. This support has enabled me to grow and flourish in my role and has treated me as an equal partner in the operations of a large and multidisciplinary school.

Working together without hierarchical boundaries has enabled effective School Management, but has also broken down many barriers and allowed professional staff to have a voice in an Academic world.

 

LBS Events Management Student completes placement at Disney: “I really felt that Disney helped me to grow my confidence and strengthen my communication skills.”

By Jessica Guirdanella

After graduating high school, I realised my love for helping people and making them smile. Volunteering was the way I found to incorporate this into my everyday life. I volunteer for multiple corporations, including several non-profit ones that have helped my gain experience within my field of study, Business Events Management/ Marketing (La Trobe University). Through this, I learnt I was a practical hands-on learner and could grow my skills when I was working in and outside my field assisting in new projects. I would always be open minded in trying new tasks.

Interning at Disney

In October of 2015, I applied for a Cultural Exchange Program sponsored by the Walt Disney Company. After an interview and a long wait, I received the wonderful news that I had been chosen to be a Cast Member at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Participating in the Internship meant that I would delay finishing my current university course by a year, although to work for Disney was always a dream.

On the program, I was given the role as a Life Guard at a Disney Resort. This meant that people’s safety was my responsibility every day. Professionally, I found myself in many interesting situations. However, this never stopped me to create Magic for all the guests. Making people smile is something I live by and at Disney I was able to go above and beyond in my role to create that happiness. Whether it was getting a child balloons for their birthday or for conquering the ‘scary’ slide, surprising families with the unexpected and having a positive conversation with someone was a great aspect of the work.

Being a Cast Member for one of the largest and most well-known companies worldwide taught me many things. I learnt the ins-and-outs of what it takes to run such a large company. I was surrounded by amazing fellow Cast Members, coordinators and a leadership team that was always assisting their cast members so they could excel in their role. I was extremely grateful when I learnt that I was getting trained in one of my dream roles: Resort Activities. This allowed me to put my skills in working with children to use. I would get to run activities and make sure all kids where smiling and happy!

Half way though my program it was announced that I was receiving a Quarterly award. This award is awarded to Cast Members who perform their role at exceptional standards. I really felt that Disney helped me to grow my confidence and strengthen my communication skills.

What I Learned

One of the things I’ve learnt in my time with the Disney Company is that you’ll always get the work you put in back in another rewarding way. The experience also taught me how important it is to make people smile. I made it my goal to go into work every day with a positive attitude, and got nothing but positive in return. Of course, there were situations where my day was turned upside down, but I always used these situations as something I could learn from.

While overseas, I was sent the news that I had been nominated for a Victorian Young Achievers Award within the leadership category. I was recognised for my work in the community. It was extremely special and has inspired me to continue doing what I’m doing.

If I could give anyone advice, I would tell them to follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you what path to take in life, create your own. If things get difficult, stay positive, find a solution and take it as a learning experience, help others and never forget to Smile.

If you’re considering volunteering, whether it’s to help you gain experience in your field of study or wanting to play a part in making a difference in your community, DO IT! Volunteering is a great way to network and get to know people who are like mined, where you’re assisting with an operation as well as building your own skills.

Gaining work experience is something we encourage our students to complete during their studies. We offer several possibilities for students to gain experience as part of their degree.

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.

Another world ranking rise for La Trobe

La Trobe University has continued to improve its world ranking, today recording its best ever result in the respected Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

La Trobe University is now rated at 301 in the world, a leap of more than 200 places in just two years – to be Australia’s most improved university.

The record ARWU result in its 50th year places La Trobe in the top 1.4 per cent of universities globally.

The University has now cemented its position in the top 400 of all three major world university rankings. The latest QS ranking has the University at 360 in the world. The Times currently ranks La Trobe at 377.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the string of pleasing results was testament to La Trobe University’s incredible research capabilities and staff expertise, combined with close connections to industry and employers.

“The numbers speak for themselves – La Trobe is well regarded as a quality institution with a focus on excellence, industry engagement, student employability and research on issues that matter,” he said.

“We have a great team spread throughout all of our campuses. We continue to attract strong interest from around the world and across the country from high-profile academics wanting to join the team and students coming here in search of the best possible preparation for a successful career.”

La Trobe has risen from 21 in Australia to 15 over the past two years.

The ARWU ranks universities with several indicators of academic or research performance, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution.

This post was originally posted on the La Trobe University web pages.

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

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