Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable in Canberra

Greetings from the "Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable" at the  Questacon science centre in Canberra. I am not exactly sure what this event is, as I was invited late yesterday (while sitting in a cafĂ© at ANU). John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, is giving a welcome address, highlighting US innovations, but saying how they need to look beyond their boarders for innovation. Also present are student from Canberra schools, including those who build UAVs.

Unfortunately this event appears to consist of set piece speeches. This is a mode at odds with the message the event appears to be dedicated to: innovation. Innovation does not happen by someone standing at the front of the room talking, while several hundred people sit and listen. That is a format which universities used to use, but is now obsolete. For education and events, we now give all the attendees the opportunity to participate. The most extreme form of this is an unconference, where the participants decide the topic and get up to speak. It sounds chaotic, but works. I suggest that Australia and the USA's science leaders need to work in this new mode and would benifit from spending some time sitting, listening and learning, from the students.

The audience includes students who take part in UAV Otback Challenge,  a competition sponsored by aerospace companies to design an autonomous robotic aircraft (UAV) which will locate a survivor in the outback and drop a bottle of water to them. The organisations sponsoring this competition are obviously more interested in dropping bombs on terrorists, than water to survivors. So I suggest that the schools involved should take the opportunity to introduce a discussion of the ethics of dual use technology into their participation.

Here is the agenda for today:

Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable Agenda 

"In today's market, innovation is essential for success.... Investment in science, technology, and research is one of the most important guarantees we can make for our future and I believe this is one of the fundamental areas in which we as partners and friends should look to increase our cooperation." -- John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, National Press Club, June 25, 2014 0830
Participants (100 officials/business reps and 60 students) ...
0900 Opening -- Innovation and the U.S.-Australia Economic Relationship --Welcome by Questacon Director Graham Durant --Intro by U.S. Embassy Economic Counselor Matt Murray --Keynote Remarks by Ambassador Berry --Keynote Remarks by Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb --Keynote Remarks by TBC
0935 U.S.-Australia Innovation Success Stories: Business Partnerships Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: American Chamber of Commerce Australia CEO Niels Marquardt Panelists: --Maureen Dougherty, President, Boeing Australia --Dr. Terry Stevenson, Chief Technology Officer, Raytheon --Christian Bennett, Vice President, BHP Billiton --Glenn Frankish, Technology Manager, Lockheed Martin --Kirby Anderson, Director of Gov't Affairs, General Electric Australia
1020 Networking -- Coffee & Tea Break (25 mins) 1045 Challenges to Promoting Innovation Cooperation in a Knowledge Economy: Paving the Way from R&D to Commercialization Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: U.S. Embassy Economic Officer Mark Krumm Panelists: --Ros Harvey, Director, Sense-T --Dr. Mick Cardew-Hall, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation, ANU --Dr. David Ireland, General Mgr, Int'l & Innovation Systems, CSIRO --Dr. Shiv Kalyanaraman, Chief Scientist, IBM Research Australia --Tim Fawcett, General Manager, Gov't Affairs & Policy, Cisco
1130 Emerging Ideas and Trends in Innovation – SMEs and Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: Stuart Kohlhagen, Questacon Panelists: --Lindsey Grossman, Senior Manager, Public Policy, Intuit --Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google --Sarah Vaughan, Director, Developer Experience, Microsoft --Ken Kroeger, CEO, Seeing Machines --Jim Minifie, Director, Productivity Growth Grattan Institute
1215 Closing Remarks & Vote of Thanks --U.S. Embassy Economic Counselor Matt Murray --Questacon Director Graham Durant 1230 Networking Lunch *sandwiches and drinks to be provided to participants in lobby
1330 Small Group of Students and Select Panelists Depart for Questacon Technology Learning Centre -- 60 Denison St., Deakin 1400 Student Forum: STEM Education and Future Opportunities Town Hall-style Moderated Discussion (by special invitation only) Venue: Questacon Technology Learning Centre (QTLC) 60 Denison St., Deakin Moderated by: Natalie Sullivan, Questacon Participants to Include: --U.S. Ambassador John Berry --Ishtar Vij (Google) --Jason Armstrong (Boeing) --Sarah Vaughan (Microsoft) --Katie Ford (Intel) --Mike Lovell (Northrop Grumman)
1500 Student Forum Concludes

No comments: