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Tag: Professor of Practice (page 1 of 2)

Innovate or Perish! Australia’s Innovation System

La Trobe University 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.

If Australia’s current innovation policy is based on questionable OECD data might the Australian Government run the risk of targeting scarce resources into the wrong areas as it prepares its strategic plan for Australian Innovation to 2030?

Concerns over the performance of Australia’s innovation system caused the Australian 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.

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’s 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 startups 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).

As suggested, the health of Australia’s innovation system still remains subject to conjecture and contrasting opinions with, for example, Australia is 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). However, 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 questionable 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).

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.

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?

Our National Innovation Forum on September 28 and 29 in Melbourne features  Dr Benjamin Mitra-Kahn, Chief Economist at IP Australia, and Dr Charles Day, CEO of the Office of Innovation and Science Australia. They will explore the current health of Australia’s innovation system. The Forum also presents industry and academic perspectives on how we can continue to improve innovation through university-industry collaboration and engagement, particularly for startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the use of business accelerators and incubators.

No doubt the forum will shed some more light on whether Australia’s innovation glass is indeed half full or half empty, and where the Australian government may choose to target its resources to achieve its 2030 vision for Australian Innovation.

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Career change is the only constant (or Doors a Latrobe Economic Degree can Unlock)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: II understand that you are an alumni of La Trobe University

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark, I studied economics and graduated in 1982 from La Trobe University. Following the completion of my degree with La Trobe, I was able to branch out into a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors.

Mark Morris: It seems these days that university graduates these days don’t have a job for life. Can you share with me your experience in relation to changes in your career?

Leigh Conlan: Absolutely. I have been fortunate to work for a number of organisations in a variety of capacities including accounting, economics, tax advisory, legislative analysis, and R&D consulting. I started out as a tax investigator with the ATO which was interesting work for a graduate as it allowed me to get a great perspective on private enterprise and in particular smaller organisations where accounting and the law intersect. Following this role, I transitioned to the ACCC which was then the Trade Practices Commission where I was heavily involved in litigation and policy objectives. What I found interesting in this role was, more specifically, price fixing collusion and conspiracy activities and investigations.

Mark Morris: So you were a corporate cop Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Yes, essentially.

Mark Morris: And then you came over to private enterprise?

Leigh Conlan: That’s right, I came over to the dark side and started consulting in private enterprise. I worked for a number of big firms and was a partner of one of the larger accounting firms in Australia before I started my own practice.

Mark Morris: And what has your experience been like in respect of changes in roles?

Leigh Conlan: What I have found is that there is nothing wrong with a change of career and that change should always be embraced. In these modern times it is not only organisations that need to be agile and adaptive but this also applies to employees and individuals. To a certain extent change and being adaptive is a part of Australia’s history. Automation, fast changing technological and geopolitical changes will dictate market behaviour and employment opportunities.

Mark Morris: So how do you keep abreast of new developments in government policy and public-private collaboration?

Leigh Conlan: Well I am a member of the National Reference Group which is a peak body of private practitioners, the ATO and AusIndustry. I represent the CPA’s on that group which me enables to interface between public policy developments and issues from industry. I am also a member of the State Reference Group which provides further practical application.

Mark Morris: I gather that your ability to adapt and change led you to starting your accounting practice?

Leigh Conlan: Correct, I started Specialist Accounting Services a number of years back with a focus on providing high quality services in the fields of indirect tax and R&D advice.

Mark Morris: Can you tell me a little more about Specialist Accounting Services and how you differentiate yourselves against other service providers in this space?

Leigh Conlan: Sure. We differentiate ourselves by being an organisation which has the expertise across a range of industries relating to R&D. Specialist Accounting Services also employs a range of specialised technical consultants from the engineering and bio medical fields to leverage expertise in accordance with clients in these respective fields. This enables a better understanding of our clients’ needs and enables a smooth process through the R&D tax application process. This also empowers us to have a nurturing a close and positive working relationship with our clients. We also carry out services in respect of litigation support and competition policy assistance. Lastly, we provide a high quality service enabling our clients to receive a beneficial tax outcomes in accordance with the government legislation and the AusIndustry framework.

Mark Morris: Well, thank you for your time today Leigh. It has been a pleasure talking with you

Leigh Conlan: It was my pleasure. Thanks Mark.

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Supercharging R&D and collaboration

Professor of Practice Mark Morris (left) and Leigh Conlan (right)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: I am pleased to introduce Leigh Conlan of Specialist Accounting Services to discuss the recent government innovation statement and incentives that the government has introduced for both private and research organisations in respect of R&D. Leigh, Good morning.

Leigh Conlan: Good Morning Mark.

Mark Morris: Now Leigh, I understand you run a consultancy practice in the R&D space and you advise a broad range of clients.

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct Mark, we run a specialist practice service and in fact, operate under a company name Specialist Account Services Pty Ltd.

Mark Morris: That’s great Leigh. Tell me about some of your clients.

Leigh Conlan: Well we advise a range of clients from small medium enterprises through to large corporations and government departments. We offer a professional assistance to all businesses and research providers in the matters of R&D tax incentives and government grants

Mark Morris: That’s a good segue into my next topic which is around the innovation statement released by the government. What do you think the government’s approach is in this regard Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: As you know Mark, the innovation statement is built on four key pillars but it is important to keep in mind Mark that this is the first time that there has been a comprehensive tying together of all of the research and development governmental policy objectives.

Mark Morris: So can you provide some further insight into the four pillars that the government has outlined in the innovation statement

Leigh Conlan: Well briefly speaking these four pillars as outlined in the National Innovation and Science Agenda statement being ‘Culture and capital’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent and skills’, ‘Government as an exemplar’. Within these pillars are specific areas that the government is targeting. For example the government has set up a $20Billion Medical Research Fund to increase funding in the areas of medical research and innovation. Another example, which may relate to La Trobe, is the government R&D funding of $2.8Billion to universities and the higher education sectors. There are also other funding initiatives such as cyber security innovation and other IT projects the government has initiated. These overall projects form only a snapshot of government funding examples but provides a glimpse of the overall innovation policy and where the government is heading in respect of stimulating research and development.

Mark Morris: So what is the majority emphasis of the government funding Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Well Mark, the big spend by the government is still the R&D tax incentive which equates to just over $4.5Billion per annum. While the majority of that money goes into business, it should be kept in mind that research service providers also greatly benefit from this policy and there are valuable private business spinoffs from research organisations.

Mark Morris: When you talk about R&D, it’s not all lab coat style research projects is it?

Leigh Conlan: Not at all. We see R&D in areas where you would not ordinarily think that R&D would apply. Research and Development takes place in a variety of forms and industries. Some examples may be building and construction, on farms and of course software development. We have come across a number of private organisations, particularly those which are small scale, which were under the misconception that many of their activities would not be considered R&D when in actual fact they may be.

Mark Morris: Can you talk a little more about such products and processes in this regard?

Leigh Conlan: Well, many organisations are undertaking the development of products using a scientific methodology to determine outcomes and therefore creating new knowledge as a result of these activities.  It is also very exciting to see a variety of small to medium enterprises across Australia undertaking a number of dynamic projects which involve Research and Development as well as new commercialisation of innovative products.

Mark Morris: So given you are across many organisations who are at the cutting edge of technology, I assume that you have other areas you advise on?

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct. Specialist Accounting Services is unique as we have technical expertise and we can assist in a variety of capacities including comprehensive advice in the areas of commercialisation, government development and early stage development grants, government support programs and investing in early stage development funding.

Mark Morris: So can you provide more detail in regards to government incentives and programs that you advise in?

Leigh Conlan: Sure, one such program is around the commercialisation Australia program which provides funding of up to $200,000 to assist new organisations and those wanting to test the viability of product commercialisation. Also we have provided advice in relation to cooperative research centre (CRC) project grants as well. The CRC and associated grants is an outcome focused programme designed to support industry while supporting collaboration between industry, research and the community in a competitive framework.

Mark Morris: Have there been many changes by the government in relation to government grants and assistance?

Leigh Conlan: Yes there have been changes in regards to the tech sector that were previously restricted on applying for grants. These have now been removed to stimulate commercialisation and the development of novel IP across a broader range of industries across Australia. We see the government’s focus in this domain is on stimulating new knowledge, local IP and bringing innovative products to market in order to stimulate economic and employment growth.

Mark Morris: So have you seen many examples where universities specifically benefit from the R&D tax incentive scheme?

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark I have seen this a number of times where universities are providing services to private organisations and where both benefit from the close collaboration undertaken. One such example is one our clients in the ehealth domain where a prominent Victorian university provided research assistance in evaluating IT architecture suitable for gathering information around broad based and large scale health records.

Mark Morris: So this is all research and development expenditure around software and IT?

Leigh Conlan: Correct Mark, we have also been involved with a number of initiatives in the private sector relating specifically to analytics and big data projects.

Mark Morris: Can you elaborate on how these initiatives may provide beneficial outcomes for the private sector, RSPs as well as the general public?

Leigh Conlan: We have seen a number of initiatives carried out by the big four banks in relation to blockchain. The key objective of blockchain is to develop a distributed database ledger which can continuously update records between parties and therefore improve the efficiency of banking transactions.

Mark Morris: That’s very interesting. Do you see any other developments relating to big data in the private sector?

Leigh Conlan: Actually we have also seen developments in the Telecommunications sector where a number of Australian telco’s have been building big data lakes and utilising these data repositories for a number of practical applications such as geolocation, product marketing and improving operational uptime.

For the second part of this interview, keep an eye on the Business Newsroom blog!

Epping Secondary College VCE Business Forum at La Trobe Business School

By Erin Basinski

On Friday 17th February the Year 10 VCE and Year 11 Business Management Students from Epping Secondary College were invited to La Trobe University to take part in the 2017 VCE Business Forum.

The day began in the Szental Lecture Theatre where our students joined other VCE students from Lalor Secondary College, Macleod College and St Helena Secondary College. We were introduced to our first keynote speaker, Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship Mr Antony Jacobson, who teaches at La Trobe Business School. The main focus of Mr Jacobson’s talk centered on the theme: “Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do!” It was inspiring to hear his personal success stories. We were in awe when we discovered that Antony set up his first national franchise when he was only 17 years of age and still a student in Year 11. He spoke about the importance of a positive mindset particularly if we want to be successful in the future. “Be passionate, excite, and use passion in all that you do. Set the bar high. Never low, never in the middle, but high.” Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson said.

The rest of the day was then broken into three sessions. Our first session was with Roman Peretiako who is an associate Lecturer of Marketing at La Trobe Business School. We had the opportunity to discuss topics such as; what is Marketing, Market Segmentation and Target Markets. We were given the opportunity to come up with our own business concept and we were asked to consider the Marketing Mix:

  • PRODUCT – style, features, quality, brand
  • PRICE – How much should a business charge to recover the costs of marketing
  •  PLACE – How does a consumer obtain the product, physical retailer, online, factory outlet?
  • PROMOTION – What methods can be used to get a consumer’s attention, interest and desire?

Our second session was with Simon Crone who is the Manager of Content Development Programs at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Mr Crone presented an interesting look at accounting and spoke about the importance of budgeting in the world of business. He too shared personal stories from his own career which demonstrated a strong personal commitment to the local community.

Our final session for the day was with Professor of Practice in Management Janet Rusell, at La Trobe Business School. In this workshop we had an opportunity to take a closer look at the iconic Australian juice brand, “Boost”. The main focus of this workshop was to think about a business concept, its development and its structure. We spoke about the sources of finance to help establish a start-up business, business locations and external factors that businesses need to consider when writing up a business plan.

Overall it was an enjoyable day which allowed us to see the bigger picture as to what our subject Business Management will cover this year. It was exciting to think that this year we will be given the opportunity to formulate our own business ideas and create a business plan with the hope to run our own business later on in the year.

Thank you to Ms Kanisiadis, Ms Hooper and Mrs Clark for organising and attending on the day.

Geraldine Kennett on Australian Leadership: “Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage”

By Joseph Ghaly

Geraldine Kennett talks to Joseph Ghaly about Australian Leadership. Dr Geraldine Kennett is Professor of Practice in Management and Director of External Engagement at the La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the unique qualities and features of Australian Leadership?
Geraldine Kennett: A sense of openness. We are a little bit more relaxed and laid back. I think it’s a part of the Australian culture so our leadership emulates that.

I don’t believe we always draw on international leadership practices because we tend to be more parochial and domestically focussed, particularly our corporate leadership.

The other thing I notice about Australian Leadership is that it is heavily masculine. We still don’t have many women at the most senior leadership levels. This can put a hard edge on the way we lead our organisations and put emphasis on short-term results, from a political, corporate and even not-for-profit perspective. Those organisations led largely by males at the executive level tend to focus on operations, fiscal results and business outcomes.

So even though I suggest we are relaxed and open, the dichotomy is that we are very much driven by achieving outcomes for the organisation. My hypothesis would be that with increased female leadership we would be more focused on the long-term health of the organisation, the health of the economy and the health of society in general. And some of our outcomes would be more sustainable and environmentally driven.

I get a sense that the direction we have taken in our country is very short term outcomes focused.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are Australians seeking from our leaders?

Geraldine Kennett: Good question because Australia is in a fairly complex environment. Most of the issues that could be resolved for our society have been resolved. We know we have some social and economic issues as well as rapidly changing technology and several industry structural changes that are developing rapidly.

So, what Australians are looking for is leadership where we move from hero to host.

Australians have constantly looked for people who could be the hero and solve our problems. What we are looking for now is someone that is more of a host. That means having a more shared approach to leadership – the community gets involved, individuals wish to be involved. People want to be involved in decision making and that leads to a more collaborative society to what we have been experiencing in the past.

At the same time, Australians show a desire for integrity and authenticity. I bundle the two together because the public wants to leadership with genuine integrity. We expect our leaders to be authentic and walk the talk. We are educated so treat us with respect.

People are expecting to be led by leaders who can influence us to come along. Communities are wanting to be empowered and involved in the decisions of leaders. This means a strong envisaging leader.

The 4 ‘E’s as I refer to leadership here at the Latrobe Business School. Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage.

Simple principles which if we lead by these principles the community and all its stakeholders will be engaged and willing to contribute to the vision or venture. The ‘how’ within these simple principles of leadership are more complex. The how or the way we lead is with authenticity, integrity, ethics and sustainability. The data from our under 36-year-old demographics show what they are expecting from our leaders includes; values, ethics and sustainability.

Overall, Australians are seeking strong collaboration, integrity, authenticity, sustainability, and ethics in the way in which we lead.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are the finest examples of Australian Leadership you have observed or delivered?

Geraldine Kennett: Thank you. I’m going to refer you locally to Professor John Dewar, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University. Professor Dewar has had to make some tough decisions to ensure that the university is at the forefront of higher education for the future. He has had to be very mindful of doing this with limited resources. At the same time, John is not afraid to invest in opportunities that provide long-term benefits for the future. For instance, a new community access sports centre and new courses in cybersecurity and business analytics.

I have been fortunate to work alongside Professor John Dewar on a charity, The Australian Futures Project (AFP), that he supports out of his office. He has done this because he genuinely believes that the university has a leadership role in supporting start-up ideas that have a broader agenda for society. The AFP purpose is to create better decision making for a better Australian society. It leads forums for politicians, public servants and the community at large. It addresses how leaders beyond one’s own organisation make contributions to society.

Another example is from my former time with the Institute of Public Administration Australia. The Former CEO, Dr Kathy Laster,  would consistently act on decisions with three key criteria in mind:

  1. Did I do that with integrity;
  2. Is it a sustainable decision; and,
  3. What will be the impact on the people I’m leading, and people in the community beyond my organisation?

Reflecting on the broader impact is sustainable and ethical leadership in my view.

Finally, I work with and support Indigenous issues, in particular, the economic development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a leader I admire – Paul Briggs, a well-respected Yorta Yorta man. He has the tenacity and an enormous capacity to think strategically and gets people at the highest level engaged in his initiatives.

Joseph Ghaly: Geraldine, what are our major challenges?

Geraldine Kennett: I think a major priority for Australia is to give our first nation’s people, economic independence and as a whole community support them in their development.

We need our leaders to enable and empower those communities and bring the rest of the country along in supporting them; that means all citizens and employers in the private, public and non-government sectors.

The other challenge is to move forward in driving our digital and experience-based economy rather than the former economy based on consumption. We need people to be really thinking about this agenda otherwise, the threat is high unemployment and a polarisation of society from displaced industries. We need to consider the jobs of the future and our education emphasis for future generations.

A sustainable planet is, of course, critical and should fair in our thinking beyond the challenges pertaining our own generation. I believe it our responsibility to develop leaders who lead responsibly and make long-term decisions that sustain future generations.

This post was originally published in the online Australian Leadership magazine.

LBS Professors of Practice Profiles – Mark Cloney: “This is the time to open your mind and prosper”

As an LBS Professor of Practice, Mark Cloney brings a wealth of management and government experience to La Trobe Business School. With over twenty years of experience in the public sector and ten in the private sector, Mark Cloney has insights into economics, business and public policy practice that will undoubtedly be invaluable to students.

“I worked in the Commonwealth government for over twenty years.” Mark comments. “First I was in the department of Transport and Regional Development for thirteen years as a Director of Regional Development Policy, and afterwards I was in Senior Executive Service in the Department Agriculture, as the Assistant Secretary of Business Assurance and Risk.”

When asked about the skillset needed to enter the Public Sector, Mark is clear: “For a career in the public sector, people need common sense, a hands-on attitude, analytical skills, and a strong understanding of how government works and to be flexible and adaptable – because things change!. It is also crucial to understand how policy decisions will affect the broader community, and not just the intended target groups of a particular policy.”

A practical attitude is something that Mark is keen to pass on to his students through his teaching. As an assignment, Mark instructs his students to write a two-page brief to the minister after going through a case study about a specific decision or problem. In the assignment, students are asked to give a minister on overview of the options available in a short brief, to help the minister to make an informed decision. To this end, students must provide a brief history on the problem, the context, explain why it’s a problem, as well as policy options for consideration. Mark says. “Ministers usually don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so they need all the key information required, as quickly and succinctly as possible. They can always follow-up if they want more”.

During this process, policy officers must remain politically neutral, and look into solutions from a range of quite often competing perspectives. “In the position of a policy officer, you will have stakeholders coming at you from all sides,” Mark comments. “Often it is your job to find policy options that works for a variety of stakeholders. It is the Minister’s role to choose the options that best suits the political agenda and priorities of the government.”

When asked how being a policy officers differs from his current position, Mark says he is enjoying the change of environment; “As an academic, you can be a lot more independent in your research and teaching away from the daily cut and thrust of politics that senior bureaucrats have to deal with. When you work in policy in government, you’ll quickly discover that there is no silver bullet, or ‘right’ economic or policy theory for a lot of social, environmental or political problems.  Many of the major of problems of today are ‘wicked’ in nature i.e. climate change, pollution, or indigenous disadvantage etc. and not easily resolvable.  And, as government’s and ministers change so do their priorities and political agendas and consequently their appetite to address some problems and not others.”

So, how do you solve big problems as a policy officer? “You apply as many different lenses (tools, frameworks and approaches) to look at problems and take into account different stakeholder views,” Mark reckons. “When dealing with a problem on a large scale, you will need a range of solutions to address different symptoms caused by the problem and you need to work across jurisdictions and government agencies. No one agency or level of government has the answer or capacity to address the wicked problems. As a Policy Advisor, you will need to be able to think out of the box and apply innovation to your thinking. This is why broad based course such as political economy and economics are very useful for students try to understand global issues and public policy approaches.”

When it comes to forming students who are ready for the work-force, Mark Cloney is positive. He is encouraging when it comes to industry placements. As a Professor of Practice, Mark has been a strong advocate for pushing industry partnerships, collaboration, and blended learning. “A lot of the tools students need today come down to having a broader skillset rather than narrow knowledge gained from a particular discipline or course.  It is about how they use the knowledge obtained through their degree to collaborate, problem solve and innovate more broadly. This is what is demanded in a knowledge based global economy”.

Mark says, “Universities are great places to explore your interests, and try out new things. Students should take advantage of that but always with an eye to future employment.”

Hanoi: Values, Ethics and Diversity

By Catherine Ordway

I was visiting the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) yesterday for a meeting, and I was struck by the beauty of the sculpture (pictured above). The female paralympic basketballer is reaching for the ball – and the clear blue Canberra sky. I reflected on what “diversity” now means for organisations, and how that might translate into workplace practices for the students I am about to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam later this week.

I am teaching the subject “Values, Ethics and Diversity in Organisations” as part of the Master of Management. This subject is: “designed to develop students’ critical thinking and research skills to contribute to an informed analysis of the role of values, ethics and diversity in contemporary organisations. Through the use of ethical theories, the subject aims to develop students’ abilities to re- frame organisational practices and to include ethical considerations in organisational decision-making. The concept of workplace diversity is introduced and evaluated in Australian and global contexts. Frameworks and tools for managing business ethics and diversity are introduced and critically evaluated. The subject is designed to meet principles 1-4 of the PRME principles.”

The United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative of the UN Global Compact seeks to inspire and champion responsible management education, research, and thought leadership globally. As set out in La Trobe’s most recent UNPRME report, I am pleased to be one of the: “11 Professors of Practice with significant and ongoing industry experience to ensure our teaching and curriculum keep step with industry practice.

The Professor of Practice title also seeks to highlight what industry can contribute to academia and while many Australian business schools offer industry experts positions as casual or adjunct staff, La Trobe is the first university in Australia to formally employ them and integrate them into the day-to-day operations of the school. The Professors of Practice contribute practical advice and industry networks and connections to our students, while improving curriculum design by ensuring it is relevant and up-to-date with industry standards and trends. As well as contributing to research and teaching, our Professors of Practice facilitate meaningful engagement with leaders in business, government policy making and the not-for-profit sector”.

The cooperation with Hanoi University is a very exciting initiative, and am very happy to be a part of it.

The Big Idea Competition: La Trobe University with two teams in the Grand final

big_idea_comp

La Trobe University has not only made the finals of the prestigious The Big Idea Competition, but is the only university in Australia to have two teams come through the semi-final round and into the 2016 grand final of the nationwide competition.

Social Entrepreneurship program

For several years now, La Trobe Business School has offered participation in The Big Idea Competition to students from all over the university as an elective part of their undergraduate curriculum. The competition, initiated by The Big Issue, aims to find and deliver solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people to positively change their lives. In 2016, more than 100 business plans from students were submitted from more than 11 universities throughout Australia and this year La Trobe had 17 teams and 66 undergraduate students enter the competition.

Embedded in a La Trobe Business School subject, Social Entrepreneurship: The Big Idea, the competition sees students collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams to design their own social enterprise – a commercial enterprise which creates social value – under the guidance of entrepreneurship expert LBS Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson  and with strong support from teaching and professional staff across the university. The best project is then chosen via a round of internal judging, before being formally submitted to the Big Idea competition. In 2016 La Trobe University got the added advantage of having one further team selected as a wild card entry based on merit by the Big Idea judges.

“Seeing students from different disciplines work together to make a positive change is a great way for them to learn,” Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson said. “Not to mention that the competition values align very closely with our own La Trobe Business School values of responsible leadership and social entrepreneurship. On top of this, it locks in seamlessly with the broader values of La Trobe University – we want to make a difference.”

Free Moora Moora & HomeMore 

The 2016 teams from La Trobe University that have made the final are Free Moora Moora (FMM) and HomeMore.

After seeing the disturbing footage of the treatment of imprisoned children from the Don Dale Detention Centre on Four Corners, two LBS event management students Teagan Giggins and Keeliah Frost developed FMM to help lower recidivism rates among young Indigenous people, and reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in jails and detention centres.

The students were inspired by recent research conducted on emotional intelligence in aged care facilities at La Trobe University. The research focussed on equipping nursing staff with the right tools to manage emotional labour and stress through training. Encouraged by the positive results of this initiative, both students saw an opportunity for providing emotional intelligence and cultural competency training for corrections staff as a way of improving conditions for Indigenous juveniles in detention. The team also aimed to provide employment pathways, skills development and healing support for indigenous young people within Australia’s justice system.

Similarly to FMM, the students from HomeMore drew on their diverse backgrounds, strengths and degree knowledge to develop an ambitious initiative – the project aims to address property affordability levels for single women, while simultaneously reducing Australia’s carbon foot print.

Team members Michael Hutchison, Yianni Polydorou and Marrissa Garner discovered that a carbon-positive SOLCER (Smart Operation for a Low Carbon Energy Region) House can be constructed in under sixteen weeks. Studying Business (Michael and Yianna are both Business students in La Trobe Business School, majoring in leadership and marketing respectively), and Psychology (Marissa is currently completing a BA in Psychological Science), they brought their different perspectives together to see how the Solcer Houses can create renewable energy and save Victorian families up to $140 in energy bills, while putting profits towards helping single disadvantaged parents to purchase their own Solcer house via a rent-to-buy scheme.

“I am thrilled we are the only university in Australia to have two teams competing in the national inter-university 2016 competition finals,” subject coordinator and lead lecturer for LBS’s Social Entrepreneurship: The Big Idea subject Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson said. “This achievement is truly testament to both our passionate, committed, and hard-working students and the Business School’s unparalleled teaching and support.”

The competition finals will take place on 29 November 2016. We wish both teams the best of luck!

La Trobe Business School’s 2016 UN PRME Report released

PRME La Trobe Business School

The United Nations’ PRME secretariat has recently released the third sharing of progress (SIP) report submitted by La Trobe Business School. In the document, LBS details the achievements that illustrate its ongoing commitment to each of the six  Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), developed further since the last report was submitted in 2014. This work makes a significant contribution to the ways in which LBS fulfils its mission.

The report can be viewed here.

What does PRME stand for?

The six PRME principles provide a framework for business schools as they seek to develop competent and responsible managers through education. The program was conceived by way of a recommendation of the academic stakeholders from the United Nations Global Compact. The six principles were developed and adopted in 2007 by an international task force of sixty deans, university presidents and official representatives of leading business schools and academic institutions.

The PRME philosophy sits alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formally adopted in Paris in 2015, as part of the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 SDGs balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The Goals and targets provide a framework to stimulate action over the next 14 years in areas of critical importance for the long-term sustainability of human society and the planet, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) and complete what the MDGs were unable to achieve.

LBS’s commitment to the UN PRME

Since joining UN PRME in 2007, La Trobe Business School has been actively engaged in embedding responsible management, not just in its curriculum and research activities, but also at an institutional level. The School has laid the foundations for the next phase to expand its activities through dialogue (the sixth principle). This success to date means that LBS can more effectively engage in dialogue with stakeholders, and share its understandings more broadly.

La Trobe University values its Business School’s capacity and the opportunity to engage with the demands of responsible management education. LBS and the University have a longstanding commitment and philosophy to foster new generations of responsible professionals. La Trobe Business School aims to educate and encourage students to carry responsible management into their workplace along with a thorough understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

LBS also continues to take the requisite steps to ensure that undergraduate and postgraduate courses, research programs and activities, strategic frameworks and its overall philosophy provide enabling environments for meeting the principles and the accompanying demands of educating about responsible leadership. This includes teaching current perspectives in corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, business ethics, gender balance, diversity, sustainability accounting, and environmental and resource economics across many of the LBS courses and subjects. In addition, the assessment modules are consistently reviewed and designed to emphasise these values to students and provide them with practical applications of responsible management.

New initiatives taken by LBS

Since 2014, many exciting new developments have taken place within La Trobe Business School that further contribute to its work around responsible management. The creation of the Yunus Social Business Centre, the SAS Analytics Innovation lab and the appointment of 11 Professors of Practice to the Business School stand as flagship achievements between 2014 and 2016.

The Sustainability Thinking, Global Citizenship, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Learning Essentials of LTU provide an excellent platform to further support, grow and direct LBS students to recognize the global contexts in which they will work, exchange values and perspectives, act across cultures and borders and to work with, and within, diverse communities.

Since mid-2015, more than 2000 undergraduate students have completed La Trobe Business School’s second year Sustainability subject, one of three Learning Essentials for the School and the University. Within the MBA Program, LBS offers core subjects that engage with PRME. The University is also leading in the creation of innovative learning and research environments for students through the Hallmark Program and industry outreach including partnerships with local government, and in the community. The University also provides greater access to tertiary education through scholarship programs and the early entry Aspire program.

A number of LBS academics from a wide range of disciplines continue to undertake research projects that are closely aligned with the PRME principles.  These include projects related to sport and social impact, the role of technology in supporting the wellbeing and sustainability of human society, climate change impacts on business, accounting and human rights, rural tourism and sustainability, and data analytics for improved healthcare outcomes.

LBS will continue to use this research platform to create new, and build on existing, engagement opportunities with external stakeholders and partners such as sporting organisations, government agencies and departments, accreditation bodies, NGO’s, private sector organisations and consultancies.

Finally, La Trobe Business School is proud to be nominated as one of 30 leading institutions from around the world to participate in the pilot phase of the PRME Champions Group.

LBS Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson appointed as a judge for the Mildura Innovation Awards!

antony-jacobson

Earlier this week, it was announced by the Mildura Development Corporation that LBS Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson was appointed as a judge on the judging panel of the Mildura Innovation Awards.

As a highly accomplished global business and brand strategist, entrepreneur and industry commentator with extensive global experience, Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson will bring a wealth of experience to the panel. “Awards such as these focus on the need for an entrepreneurial and innovative culture in all industries and all geographic regions”, Professor of Practice Jacobson commented. “Whether you are a farmer, doctor or business strategist, being able to recognise the need to introduce something new or to re-introduce something that’s been done before in a better way is essential in today’s world. Having an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset is crucial, no matter what industry you work in.”

The 2016 ANZ Sunraysia Daily Mildura Innovation Awards aim to encourage businesses and organisations to use this entrepreneurial and innovative mindset by showcasing new ideas, dynamic products or improved services in the region. The initiative communicates the importance of embracing an innovative culture to others and promotes a positive outlook for the future of regional Victoria. By doing this, Mildura Innovation wants to recognise everyday innovators and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship across the region.

Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson was positive about his appointment as a judge. “I am very pleased to be supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in regional Victoria.” He said. “It is wonderful that La Trobe Business School’s strong entrepreneurial focus and credentials are being recognised and sought after, as well as my own.”

Read more about the Mildura Innovation Awards, here.

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