Australian Information Industry Association

  

Meet The Judges

Thursday, 07 Jun 2018

Darryl Carr

Why did you choose to become a judge?

My work involves an awareness of technology trends, and the practical application of those technologies in a business environment. This involves seeing past the hype and understanding how they can benefit people in the real world. What greater example is there than to see how entrants in the iAwards have taken these advancements and turned them into real solutions, that solve real problems.

How would you describe the innovative ideas seen in this year’s iAwards?

This year's entries highlight the strength of innovation in the Australian public sector, and demonstrates the impressive collaboration with the private sector to enhance the delivery of government services, for the benefit of all Australians.

What has been your iAwards highlight so far?

A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to judge entries in the Health industry. What an inspiration. There are so many dedicated people out there building solutions that improve the quality of life for not just Australians, but for people all over the world. It was a truly humbling experience to be able to help recognise those individuals.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the iAwards?

Get involved! There are so many benefits to highlighting your achievements, not only for you, your team and your business. Having an event like the iAwards helps to highlight the capabilities of Australians in leveraging technology to improve everyone's lives. This becomes a beacon to attract more people into technology related roles, which further feeds the innovation ecosystem in Australia, and better positions us as world-leading innovators.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be innovative?

To see a problem, to recognise opportunity, and to bring the two together in meaningful ways.

Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in technology adoption?

The compounding effects of technological advancement have created a business environment that is changing at a rate never before seen. The only way to survive this unprecedented rate of change, is to learn better and faster than your competitors. It is adaptability that generates competitive advantage over the longer term, and innovation is the capability they need to ensure adaptability remains part of how they evolve.

What are the biggest global trends right now that are shaping the future of innovation and technology?

It's a fascinating time, where a series of new technologies are coming together to provide possibilities that seemed like science-fiction a few years ago. Just as importantly though, they're being combined with a new appreciation for the power of collaboration, and a greater recognition of the power of diversity. When you take ideas like Design Thinking (or Human Centred Design), and combine them with AI, AR and Automation technology, consuming massive datasets on virtually limitless computing power, you have something that allows human creativity to produce world-changing innovations.

What advice would you give to a company/entrepreneur trying to overcome any barriers to innovation in the workplace/in their industry?

The technologies and expertise are out there. The limitations are usually found in the culture, mindsets and relationships within the organisation. Establishing an environment which supports key skills such as Critical Thinking and Open Dialogue can be difficult, but when combined with a healthy outlook on experimentation and failure (as a learning experience), become the engine room that helps your company evolve and stay relevant in a world of fast changing consumer expectation. I also recommend forming stronger working relationships with your partner organisations (i.e. supply-chain) to ensure that innovation can be leveraged at an industry level. Some familiarity with Systems Thinking is a great enabler for this.

Stuart Althaus

Why did you choose to become a judge?

Given my organisation, SME Gateway, I am extremely passionate about SMEs and their engagement into the innovation platforms associated with technology, government and disability services. By becoming a state and national judge I have been able to not only understand the current flavour of innovation but also be able to see the quality of the work that is going on. It also is a part of the larger picture of my role as an AIIA National Board Member whereby we are looking for those very clear gold markets that are associated with SMEs, innovation and the ability to solve a problem using clever technology.

How would you describe the innovative ideas seen in this year’s iAwards?

The submissions this year have ranged from very good with a lot of innovative thinking through to some very poor proposals that unfortunately seem to have come from the very large organisations. Many of the high-quality submissions came from a clear desire to solve a specific problem with generally fairly simple technology. This is the hallmark of the submissions through to the iAwards and as we have seen in past years, the successful iAward organisations generally go on in leaps and bounds having had the exposure that they get from this particular activity.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the iAwards?

My advice to organisations or individuals that are submitting to the iAwards, is that they may have the best solution for the stated problem, however it is critical that the submission succinctly articulates all of the components of the submission that is required judging. The questions that have been asked need to be answered and if they are not they will be marked down, and hence what could be a very good idea will not successful because of a fundamental issue of not answering a question.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be innovative?

Creativity and innovation often get confused. Creativity is where something is done to generate something new. Innovation takes that to the next step and applies creativity to a new product or service to make it viable and provide a value. Innovation can take the persona of many things and the definition is very broad. With many of the submissions into the iAwards, the element of creativity has been extraordinary and through the application of creativity innovation has come through to resolve a problem, enhance a situation or provide a solution to something that was seemingly unable to be fixed.

Katie Scott

Why did you choose to become a judge?  

Innovation is a huge leaver in our ability to grow as a country. This was my small contribution to recognise our innovators.

How would you describe the innovative ideas seen in this year’s iAwards?

A combination of completely new types of business and refreshing ways to reimagine existing ones.

What has been your iAwards highlight so far?  

It’s great to see innovation in “Services” this year playing a stronger role than in past.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the iAwards?

Focus on the Why.  Many entrants give too many words to the coding methodology etc., but that is unlikely to help you win.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be innovative?  

Imagining a better world.

Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in technology adoption?

Technology innovation offers many new ways a business can reach and create customers.  Why would you not want that for your business?

What are the biggest global trends right now that are shaping the future of innovation and technology?

IA / Big Data - have got a lot of negative press recently, however there are truly exciting implications for medicine and research.

What advice would you give to a company/entrepreneur trying to overcome any barriers to innovation in the workplace/in their industry?

Make sure you can clearly articulate a link to the benefits and involve others – no-one does anything great by themselves.

Jo Davies

Why did you choose to become a judge?

To ensure the industry recognises innovative contributions – solutions, services and product, thus spur others and drive digital change and adoption.

How would you describe the innovative ideas seen in this year’s iAwards?

Best ever year!  Such incredible entries this time, it is really exciting to see.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the iAwards?

Do it!! Keep the submission simple and concise, use the guidance notes to ensure you answer all aspects of what they are to include and cover off.

What are the biggest global trends right now that are shaping the future of innovation and technology?

Use of Public Cloud platforms to speed up the time from concept to POC to implement.

Michael Blumenstein

Why did you choose to become a judge?

I very much enjoy making a contribution to the broader IT/digital ecosystem and to support technology innovation in all of its forms.

How would you describe the innovative ideas seen in this year’s iAwards?

The ideas submitted, and in some cases their implementation, were very exciting and certainly all worthy of an accolade.

What has been your iAwards highlight so far?

Having judged the student category, I am extremely encouraged with the pipeline of wonderful ideas coming from the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the iAwards?

I would strongly encourage anyone who has an idea or an exciting technology to share to enter the iAwards so that it can be amplified across the sector.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be innovative?

To me, being innovative, is making a difference in business or society through a technology breakthrough.

Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in technology adoption?

It is through innovation that companies can keep up with the fast pace of technological and digital change than can give them the competitive edge.

What are the biggest global trends right now that are shaping the future of innovation and technology?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the hottest tech trends at present.

What advice would you give to a company/entrepreneur trying to overcome any barriers to innovation in the workplace/in their industry?

Embrace technology, and R&D; partner with a University to drive innovation.