Over 400 industry leaders gather at exclusive technology event

CeBIT Black

For the second time, over 400 senior C-suite executives and digital leaders from Australia’s prominent enterprise and government organisations gathered at the elite, invite-only event - CeBIT Black. On Tuesday night, attendees were treated to great food, wine, entertainment, and a dynamic presentation from the event’s sponsors Accenture and Commonwealth Bank, titled ‘Fast Forward Future’.

“We really have some big questions to address in the next few years,” said Justin Baird, Managing Director of R&D, Technology & Innovation Lead at Accenture. “It’s not about the trends impacting business in the next 2-3 years, but how we can use technologies like AI in a responsible way, so that they don’t take jobs away, but make them better.”

Commonwealth Bank’s General Manager of Innovation Labs, Tiziana Bianco proceeded to talk about the challenges businesses in the digital era face in order to stay competitive. “Disruptors can be hard to spot. Netflix went after a niche market initially before moving into the mainstream,” she said. “If you add pace to this, effectively transforming your business goes from hard to complex.”

However, there were some guidelines organisations could follow to stay on track:

  • Challenge the status quo - make sure that innovation is everyone’s responsibility and ask yourself: what if I know to be true today is no longer the case?
  • Embrace our weirdos - we tend to hire people that we like. Organisations should ask questions about who’s in your tribe. Because if we all have the same experiences and biases, how to we  come up with innovative ideas?
  • Celebrate doubt - not being sure means that you’re asking the right questions.

Bronwyn van der Merwe, Group Director at Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive) took the stage from there to introduce the audience to a 3rd wave of digital transformation we were about to experience. “We’re about enter an era of living services and we believe that the predominance of the smartphone is likely to disappear,” she predicted. This trend was largely driven by AI powered devices such as Alexa which learn about the user’s preferences and starts to proactively to reach out to them to make their lives better.

So what strategies can organisation looking to stay competitive in a fast changing digital era adopt to stay ahead? “Stay focused on the customer, it will answer why you should drive innovation in a certain direction and the technology solution becomes the how”, advised Nick Aronson, Managing Director of Institutional Banking & Markets at Commonwealth Bank.

In addition to a relaxing evening of food, drinks and networking, attendees were there for a good cause: to raise money for the Smith Family. The event brought in over $30,000 to support the Smith’s family ‘5 of 5’ pilot program, a mobile game aiming to tackle school attendance in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

The event was delivered in partnership with the NSW Government, Accenture and the Commonwealth Bank and hosted by radio and media personality Adam Spencer.

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