I never like to say this kind of thing, because I don’t want to be the person who preaches doom or sounds negative. The fact is, we are facing a technological crisis, and it could have a long and lasting impact on the economy. Australian infrastructure and industries are falling behind.
We invest so much money in our property and our mining and exports, but the real future of every single one of those industries is in the tech and innovation that can reduce inefficiencies, make them more scalable and increase their impact and profitability.
The question is, can those industries keep up?
We need to invest in jobs and skills
One of the areas we need to work on getting back up to speed and being competitive is in building jobs and skills so that we can maintain a pipeline of tech workers who have a pathway into ongoing employment in innovative industries.
Yes, that means we need engineers, scientists, coders and developers who are ready to meet the challenges of a growing disruption across functions and across industries.
Right now, we don’t have that. Right now, we’re increasingly relying on talent from overseas, while neglecting the opportunities to upskill the next generation of Australian workers.
I spend a lot of time focusing on education and on talking to students, and I’m concerned about whether they are being taught the skills they need to adapt to a workforce that both could and should look very different by the time they’re going to enter it.
If we want to be ready to meet growing startup and technology industries overseas, the people power will be a vital part of that, and it must start now. The opportunities that are in front of us won’t be possible forever.
We have the chance to become leaders in green energy, leaders in space technology, leaders in connectivity, leaders in AI – it just depends on whether we decide to take the necessary steps to make that a reality.
Industries have to be ready to pivot and change
There’s no chance that any company, in any vertical, in any industry can survive if they don’t evolve and if they aren’t prepared to grow and pivot as they meet new challenges.
The world of technology will change, and whether that happens here at home or the innovation comes from elsewhere, it is going to wash away the organisations who have not prepared.
Keeping up with innovation means a willingness to embrace change and look to what’s next, and it means that incumbents must be ready to invest in the products that could threaten the ways they’re used to, in order to have the edge they need to adjust.
Beyond that? Infrastructure has to be supported
We need private and public sectors to invest in infrastructure that will scale with our industries as they innovate. What’s possible should not be limited by their ability to access basic connectivity, but so often – that’s the case.
Reliably enabling infrastructure that we can build on will put us back on the right track, and it can’t be politicised or compromised. It’s absolutely not too late to begin building these projects and putting our money where the disruption is. It’s not too late now, but one day it will be.
Ultimately, if we don’t start to see a preparedness to face innovation and disruption, from the government and from the industries that lead our economy, we are going to see casualties instead. Companies will be replaced, companies will fall, and jobs will be lost. The only way to protect against that is to lean into it and start to run towards the goal of keeping up and getting ahead.
Sam Bashiry is the founder of Broadband Solutions and the host of podcast, From Thousands to Millions. Sam started Broadband Solutions in 2005 with $1000 in savings and a second hand router. The company is now in its fifteenth year with turnover close to $30 million.