Much has already been said about the potential of the digital economy, but unfortunately, we’re still far away from truly unlocking its full potential.

Around the world, the signs are clear technology is now the leading driver if innovation and disruption. We see this in the fact Apple is now the leading technology company in the world, and we see it in the way other industries, such as manufacturing, are being disrupted by digital models.

Which is the Australian economy has some work to do. In a new ebook compiled by Google, “Start With Code”, myself and PwC Consulting Economics and Policy Leader Jeremy Thorpe, emphasise the importance of supporting local start-ups.

The success of tech businesses in the Australian economy presents one of the optimistic paths for prosperity and productivity. As Thorpe and Lund describe in their chapter, the economy has been crying out for skilled workers in tech.

“Global demand for skilled tech workers is reflected n the local economy, with an estimated 10,000 new jobs created in Australia’s tech sector in the past decade – resulting in a skills shortage, with only around 49,500 students graduating from tech degrees over the same period.”

While this has led to some initiatives such as the National Curriculum for Technologies, which will hopefully give children an excellent grounding in technology and skills such as coding, there is always more that can be done to help the future innovation leaders of the country prosper.

“Corporate Australia needs to do more to capitalise on the opportunities presented by startups – procuring from them, investing in them and enabling entrepreneurs.”

“There are huge opportunities for business to unearth ‘problems worth solving’ that were previously too-hard and engage with tech startups through open innovation processes to co-creating solutions, and then use the startups’ product to better meet their needs.”

Today’s children are digital natives – teaching code at a young age is merely an extension of everyday activity. As they become the dominant demographic over the next decade, equipping them with the skills necessary to take charge of the digital environment is necessary to achieve prosperity.

Last year PwC released “The Startup Economy” report. Commissioned by Google, it found the tech industry has massive potential to drive innovation over the next two decades – and could create an additional $109 billion of value to the economy by 2033, along with 540,000 jobs.

As we argue in “Start With Code”, there are plenty of opportunities – we simply need to equip the next generation to take advantage of them.

“There are huge opportunities for business to unearth ‘problems worth solving’ that were previously too-hard and engage with tech startups through open innovation processes to co-creating solutions, and then use the startups’ product to better meet their needs.”

Download the PwC Startup Economy report here.

Source: Google “Start With Code” ebook.

 

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Contributor

Trent Lund

Trent is Head of Innovation and Ventures for PwC Australia. With 18 years’ experience spanning Australia, Asia, UK, Europe and the Middle East, Trent joined PwC to lead the customer centric transformation consulting team dedicated to improving the way Australia’s leading private and public sector organisations re-focus on the customer.

Before his commercial career, Trent worked with some of the earlier forms of computing, transforming traditional business through programmable logic controls to automate machinery. The learning he gathered from this early experience saw Trent ‘smash a lot of strawberries, but learned a lot about the power of technology’.

Trent began his commercial career in telecommunications in Australia and later independently as a business consultant in the UK. Trent helped high tech and communications clients develop product and market entry strategies for complex solutions such as data centres, mobile content platforms and 3G Mobile licenses.

Afterwards Trent joined Oracle to lead the mobile content and service delivery platform proposition in Europe and Asia. One of the key milestones he achieved was to architect a custom solution into 10 countries, gaining 45 million subscribers, operating in many different languages and different currencies. The key challenge was balancing the latest technology advancements with the pragmatism required to address economies in different stages of maturity, from emerging to very mature. Advising technology owners on what business models will be profitable in these environments is one of Trent’s great strengths.

Trent specialises in user experience design, customer-led innovation and disrupting business models through technology.

“Digital is challenging the status quo. We’re beginning to see how customers are interacting with technology and it’s exciting to see the escalating rate of change in all industries.”

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