May 022014

I’ve a story up on Technology Spectator that pulls together Uber’s fight with taxi regulators around the world with the Australian government’s Commission of Audit.

While the story is written in an Australian context, the key message about business disruption is universal; as barriers to entry fall, no incumbent can assume they are immune from having their business upended.

For Australia, this is a particularly important message as the affluent economy is kept afloat by consumer spending underpinned by a favoured and protected housing market.

The economy though is nowhere near as untouchable as it looks; along with being way over invested in property, Australia’s industries are hopeless uncompetitive and have a cost base similar to Germany’s.

It’s an entire country ripe for disruption, it will be interesting to see if the Lucky Country’s luck holds in the 21st Century.

  One Response to “Leading the disruptive wave”

  1. It doesn’t matter what age anybody is because some of the jobs that are getting obsolete are under this infographic – where disruptive technologies and innovations have been taking place at a very fast pace.

    In addition, sooner Australia realises that it is way behind the rest of the world the better and not just for construction but also hospitality sector and other industries as well. Relationship building skills are important but it has come down to the number 3 place since innovative and ICT skills are the most important. Google, FB, Lavazza, Samsung, Apple, etc – they don’t always require customers to come out with good products (goods, ideas or services). They just innovate 1st, then change the customers’ and others’ perceptions as well as attitudes. Lavazza too did that with their edible coffee cups though there they didn’t use IT much to come out with the cups. It was just innovation. Even processes don’t require ICT to come out with innovation.

    So, most important skills nowadays anywhere in the world are innovative ones followed by ICT and then followed by relationship building ones. That’s why Australia is still way behind others as it’s playing catch up with the rest of the world in many of the industries.
    1 example- manufacturing sector – Anyone seen the video ‘Made in the USA (America Revealed)’ – ? US’ manufacturing had collapsed about 30 years back though 10 years later, it rose. 1 of those firms is Intel and it did it with technology. To challenge China’s dominance with manufacturing, it came out with 3D and 4D printing. Also, another innovation that it came out is what Elon Musk has done with 1 of his firms, Tesla that’s involved with a cooptition/coopetition/coopertition strategy with Toyota & others (Cooptition is a strategy where Australia has just woken up to where rivals work together & innovate; rest of the world has many players using that strategy while another strategy – blue ocean strategy where low costs+innovations+opening up a whole new market segment takes place simultaneously-Australia is again way behind. Rest of the world have many players there and few of them are under the Globality video shown under Youtube while most of Australia’s blue ocean strategy players are under Blue Ocean Strategy Australia). It’s not the cars that would make Elon Musk very rich. It’s the batteries that’s challenging the $trillions electric utility sector of USA.

    And it’s not just construction but a whole lot of industries including hospitality that would face challenges. Robot chefs and waiters and waitresses already exist in China, Japan, South Korea (3 leading trade partners of Australia) as well as others including Israel, Thailand, etc.

    Apart from globalisation that’s challenging job scenario, tech aspect is also there.50% of the jobs that exist today in the US and rest of the world won’t exist within the next 10 years thanks to robotics and technologies that have shifted industries over centuries (Source-Oxford Uni). The economic impact of these would be $14trillion to $33trillion per year from 2025 (Source-McKinsey). Some of these technologies already exist today:
    a) Education:
    Within the educational landscape, all of us can see that the traditional types of learning have been shifting. First, we have the blended learning types (6 basic types) where the precedence has shifted towards the online blended version. In addition to the blended types, we also have the MOOCs or the massive open online courses. Both are challenging the ways of education right from primary type of education.

    b) Hospitality:
    According to YouTube, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and various other sources, robots already exist as waiters and chefs in a couple of countries including Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Israel (Japan, South Korea and China are amongst Australia’s leading trading partners).

    c) Self-service revolution:
    Self-service revolution has actually existed for nearly 100 years according to The Independent. Today, it is part of our lives – ATMs, self-checkout, point-of-sale, kiosks, Internet, mobile devices, etc. In Europe alone, according to Cordis, mobiles have been used for transportation payment since 2003. Driverless cars would soon be there as well (Google 1 of the players involved with it and they already have good safety record).

    d) Journalism:
    Robots aren’t just restricted to the physical stuff like manufacturing, hospitality, driving, nursing but they are also involved with analytical and creative areas like journalism. Narrative Science is an example of a firm that uses automated sports and finance articles.
    Open source already exists for books (novels and texts of any area), music, news, etc – legal way (few of the sites are – public libraries and university libraries from all around the world. This, Scribd and 44 other sites are places for getting free books under the site Also, there are Bookboon, BookCrossing, Wiley Online Library,, SlideShare, Realtime Publishers,,,, etc.

    Google, Bloomberg, Reuters, Apple, etc provide a lot of information for free (Apple via O/S) yet all of them make money too. Reuters and Bloomberg via financial information (80 to 90% of their revenue).

    e) Others:
    The medium of exchange has been shifting slowly more towards technology as nowadays an individual can use even mobiles to pay for goods (unfortunately Australia has only recently started that while rest of developed world has had it for about 10 years now while some of the emerging and developing nations too have had it for 5 to 10 years now). There have also been the electronic cards as well as virtual currency. Bitcoin is an example of the virtual currency.

    Trade shows have shifted from their traditional ways to the virtual or hybrid ones since 1993. For example, Marketplace365 used to be called ConventionView, the world’s first virtual trade show. Imaste is another example of this revolution.

    And so on where each and every industry is getting shifted like has happened for centuries due to technologies and innovations.

    MORE ABOUT AUSSIE WEAKNESS (sorry if a few parts below overlaps with a few parts above):
    How many Australians are getting trained? How many jobs are being lost? Where is Australia when it comes to innovations and ICT? Where is the funding for start-ups especially innovative ones? Even Atlassian left (for UK). Who gets the benefits of these start-ups? The same ones that own the country-mainly US, UK and then China. Out of the top 2000 firms, 700 of them are foreign owned. Even Vegemite, Timtam, etc are foreign owned-China, US and UK are the leaders for foreign ownership in Australia. BHP-about 75% foreign ownership, Rio-85%,Xstrata-100% and it goes on.

    Unfortunately Australia has had economic mismanagement in a lot of industries for decades and it still continues (includes tertiary education sector). If Australia thinks it can survive with TAFE, gooooooood luck. Australia has just 0.3% of the world population and with rest of Oceania – 0.5%. Rest of the world has more population. Also, just 30% of Aussies have university qualifications. No match for the rest of the world where people have 2 Masters or PhDs as well as professional certifications and work experience. Their countries also provide training where if they are good after getting trained, they are recruited. 1 example is NIIT while another is Softpath Systems.
    Tertiary education important if not good at entrepreneurship and sadly many Aussie organisations + Aussies aren’t good at entrepreneurship (reasons why many industries, organisations/firms within Australia are falling apart/facing challenges).

    Additionally, the cash cows even today are foreigners and they have been for sometime. Australians still don’t pay fees upfront (only some do – who want to). Australia’s 4th largest export sector-tertiary education which used to be the 3rd largest few years back). Australia’s also the most expensive for education as well. Quality of education in the world – US and UK 1st followed by 2nd tier of Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, HK, etc (Australia’s way more expensive again compared to all of them). They all face challenges from MOOCs (massive open online courses) which is changing the educational landscape right from primary education to tertiary education (again there US and UK MOOCs are doing way better than the Aussie MOOCs) as well as blended education (6 basic types are there and nowadays, it’s headed towards the online ones). Australia came late to these 2 areas as well like with couple of innovative scenarios.

    The country also has some funny laws stating that can’t work or get experience without getting paid. And just few organisations would provide training to graduates, migrants or even Australians who want to shift experience/careers (with or without pay including internships). Even at volunteer organisations, may not get good or actual experience within one’s own field.

    Australia sadly has been so dependent on foreigners for decades where it has put all its eggs into 1 basket instead of diversifying (1st agriculture and then mining). Innovation and ICT way behind other developed nations & some of the emerging & developing countries (Even New Zealand beats Australia under Global Innovations Index). This has happened as Australians including management lack both sets of skills (part of that reason comes due to the fact that just 30% Aussies have university qualifications while foreigners help out with Australia’s 4th largest export sector-tertiary education which used to be the 3rd largest few years back).

    The whole country is behind with transportation infrastructure & systems, ICT & innovations (Australia just recently got on to mobile payment system. Rest of the developed world have been on it for quite sometime where for transportation mobile payment, it started in early 2000s like Europe. Even some of the developing & emerging nations have had mobile payments for at least 5 to 10 years now). Innovation + ICT scenarios – 1 example from USA – Elon Musk has loads of companies and 1 of them is Tesla. The cars won’t be where he’ll be making money even though that’s also changing the automotive sector. It’s the batteries that has challenged the $1 trillion electric grid sector of USA. Tesla uses the cooptition/coopetition/coopertition strategy where rivals work together & innovate & 1 of their partners is Toyota. Australia only recently came to the cooptition strategy – hardly any players there though rest of the world have many. Another strategy that Australia’s way behind is the blue ocean strategy where low costs + innovations + opening up of new market segments takes place simultaneously. Rest of the world have many players and few of them can be seen under the Globality Youtube video (there are many more examples right under Google). Most of Australia’s blue ocean strategy players are under Blue Ocean Strategy Australia.

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