Tuesday, 18 September 2018 11:00

Digital innovation has potential to deliver $315b to Australian economy: report

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Digital innovation can deliver $315 billion in gross economic value to Australia over the next decade, a newly released report claims.

According to the digital innovation report from Dat61, the CSIRO’s data innovation network, Australia can succeed in creating data-driven industries that will drive jobs and growth by building on the country’s core strengths as a nation and improving collaboration between research and industry.

Data61 says that while Australia has had economic growth for some time, the report shows the need to increase productivity and find new sources of export competitiveness to secure the economy’s future prosperity in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

“Every sector of the global economy has been re-defined as a result of digital science and technology and the extensive use of data,” Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner said.

“This next digital wave to revolutionise existing industries and create entirely new ones is ours to capture. But the opportunity is perishable if we don’t collectively take action now.

“Progressive data-driven organisations are investing in four core areas to realise value from data; data capture, management, analysis and taking action with it. Combining this data with domain expertise, in areas like healthcare, agriculture and mining, is where we can create an unfair advantage.”

And according to Dr Andrew Charlton, chief executive of the AlphaBeta strategy and economic advisory company, digital innovation has created enormous value globally and accounts for around 11% of GDP in advanced economies, amounting to an annual value of $6 trillion.

“However, Australia has lagged our peers in capturing these benefits,” says Dr Charlton. “Digital innovation is critical to improving our nation’s productivity and sustaining economic growth. It’s not just about creating the next Google or replicating Silicon Valley.

“Rather, almost half of economic benefit from digital innovation comes from the adoption of new technology across existing industries.”

According to the Dat61 report, Australia’s strongest opportunities are in focusing R&D investment and applying digital innovation to existing industry strengths where key drivers of competitiveness are already in place such as strong domestic markets and in high quality basic research.

The report identified eight high-potential opportunities for Australia in digital innovation — set to be worth $155 billion annually in the Asia-Pacific region over the next decade — including precision healthcare, digital agriculture, data-driven urban management, cyber-physical security, supply chain integrity, proactive government, legal informatics, and smart exploration and production.

Data61 says it has already begun tackling some of these “high-potential opportunities”, through the launch of a national digital challenges program, which is designed to facilitate stronger collaboration between research, government and industry on strategic and national data-driven challenges to accelerate large scale outcomes.

The initial challenge is focused on food provenance and supply chain traceability with the NSW Department of Primary Industries as the first partner, with the aim to ensure product integrity and minimise food fraud specifically for cherries, rock lobsters, abalone and citrus.

Data61 has also announced it is partnering with a range of organisations across industry and government tackling broader food provenance and supply chain traceability issues as part of the national digital challenges program.

The issue was identified in the Digital Innovation report as a critical problem and threat to Australia’s economic growth and development with food fraud alone costing Australia $65 billion per year due to counterfeiting produce.

“Data61 is helping Australian organisations capture the opportunity of digital innovation by bringing the ecosystem of government, industry and academia together to create new value,” Turner said.

“As part of Australia’s national science agency, we have access to proven domain expertise and combine it with Data61’s deep data science and engineering excellence to deliver digital innovations that are large scale and globally relevant.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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