Innovation guru turns his attention to Papua New Guinea

Welcome,

Business Advantage PNG receives a guided tour of one of the region’s leading digital consultancies, Deloitte Digital in Melbourne, and meets a digital evangelist with a passion for Papua New Guinea.

Deloitte Digital’s Melbourne office is home to around 500 staff, covering disciplines as varied as web design, coding, process design, e-commerce, multimedia, augmented reality, and robotics.

When Business Advantage PNG visited its offices earlier this month, things were in full swing, with one team engaged in a ‘sprint’ (a set period of time during which specific tasks must be completed), while staff, who were designing Deloitte Digital’s new Melbourne office, were experiencing their new workplace through virtual reality headsets. In another area, notes from a planning meeting were spilled across one of the main office walls, past a workshop full of 3D printers and a partly-assembled robot.

‘Innovation isn’t something that you just theorise and talk about – it’s something you actually do.’

These knowledge workers are now part of Deloitte’s 15,000-strong global digital consultancy business, which was created to help clients ‘unlock the business value of emerging technologies’.

Pioneering

Back in 2007, however, Melbourne was pioneering digital consultancy and Pete Williams – an evangelist for all things digital within Deloitte Australia since 1999 – was Deloitte Digital’s first CEO. Since 2012, he has headed his own consultancy within Deloitte – the Deloitte Centre for the Edge – and has carried the impressive, yet somewhat mysterious title, of Chief Edge Officer.

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Williams, our guide for this unusual office tour, was largely unaware of Papua New Guinea until 2015 when Business Advantage International invited him to make the keynote address at its 2015 PNG investment summit in Brisbane.

‘I’m really interested in identifying PNG problems, and coming up with PNG solutions to PNG problems.’

The take-home message from his presentation that day was direct and unambiguous: mobile is the future, and business owners should apply a digital lens to every aspect of their business and aggressively adopt cloud technology.

Four short years later, that message seems like business orthodoxy. Williams has since become a regular visitor to PNG – a country with the potential, he sees, to leapfrog over some of the barriers that have – until now – stopped it entering the digital economy.

He has worked closely with the Business Council of PNG’s working group on the internet and, earlier this year, authored a short report, Connecting Papua New Guinea, which outlines the rich potential of the digital economy for business and government.

Innovation keynote

On 8 November, he’s returning to PNG again to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural Innovation PNG conference, to be held at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby.

‘My keynote at Innovation PNG is called “fostering a culture of innovation”. It’s really getting down to what do you have to put in place to allow innovation to flourish,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG.

‘Innovation isn’t something that you just theorise and talk about – it’s something you actually do.

‘There’s a whole raft of innovation going on in the country that people just don’t know about.’

‘But, for things to happen, people have to have a culture where they’re encouraged to do new stuff; they’re encouraged to try ideas, they’ve got places like this where they can tinker and play around. And that’s really what I’m going to be talking about – to make sure you’re set up to innovate as best as you can.’

PNG solutions

Williams is also running one of his celebrated workshops at the conference. What can people expect from it?

‘The workshop … is really about identifying a problem, then identifying the nature of that problem and how could we solve it, and then actually prototyping what that solution could be and how we can bring it to life.

‘I’m really interested in identifying PNG problems, and coming up with PNG solutions to PNG problems.

‘There’s a whole raft of innovation going on in the country that people just don’t know about. But the more we can teach you to go away and solve your own problems, the better it will be.’

Pete Williams will be keynote speaker at the inaugural Innovation PNG Conference, talking place on 8 November at the Stanley Hotel, Port Moresby. He will also lead the judging panel for the inaugural Innovation PNG Awards. For more information, visit www.innovationpng.com.

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