In mid March PwC was joined by Paul Marca, Executive Director of Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development, to talk innovation and disruption in an Australian context. The event, When Australia Will Shine, was initiated by the founders of Cahoot Learning to discuss how Australian businesses could accelerate innovation at pace and scale.

The term ‘innovation’ is enjoying an extended period in the spotlight, most recently buoyed by the federal government’s May budget. But for Australian businesses to step up the results and outcomes, there are four elements that must be addressed differently. One example is education.

With an ageing workforce of over 11 million and only limited success to date in encouraging young Australians to study crucial STEM and design thinking subjects, it’s clear that we cannot wait for the next generation to take up the jobs created today in the digital economy. Re-skilling our current workforce in design thinking and STEM will lift innovation, provide skills we can’t otherwise source rapidly enough, and establish role models to illuminate the pathways for future generations to follow.

And it is here where technology can again play a significant role. Services like Cahoot’s online learning platform can re-skill teams using practical opportunities in their workplace – and it can do so at considerable scale. As Stanford’s Director of Professional Development and an advocate for design thinking, Paul brought much insight to this discussion – especially the topic of online learning and how best to teach others to be innovative.

Other topics covered in the session include the importance of collaborating across industries, having a vision that incorporates broader stakeholder and society benefits, and how Australia can be bolder in its problem-solving impact targeted at a global audience.

The discussions also included the voices of many Australian startups and businesses, including an open market session hosted by NAB’s Innovation Hub, NAB Labs. It brings confidence that Australia’s time to shine is coming.



Kate Bennett Eriksson

Kate is PwC Australia’s head of innovation and disruption.

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