The ACS has won plaudits from government and industry for its inaugural Reimagination 2015 conference and Digital Disruptors Awards.

Held at the Star in Sydney, the conference attracted hundreds of delegates from across Australia and internationally to discuss digital disruption and ways to reshape Australia to prosper in the digital future.

“When we decided in 2014 to launch this new summit and awards program, we did so recognising the power of innovation, entrepreneurship and the overwhelming economy-shaping that digital disruption can and will provide,” ACS President Brenda Aynsley said.

“ACS is committed to partnership with the industry, government, education and the broader economy.

“It’s time to ask ourselves the pertinent questions: what vision do you have for Australia? What vision do you have for your company, for your communities and for yourself?”

Aynsley said that ICT’s contribution to Australian GDP is already “phenomenal”, but digital disruption would see that contribution “eclipse many of our traditional sources [of economic growth] in a very short time.”

“We make an important contribution to Australia’s prosperity and growth,” Aynsley said. “We need to trumpet that.”

ACS Past President and NSW ICT Advisory Panel Chair Anthony Wong agreed that ICT could bring more to Australia’s economic prosperity.

“Now that the mining boom is over we must find new ways to generate new export dollars, strengthen productivity and grow the nation’s wealth,” he said.

Pearcey Foundation Chairman Wayne Fitzsimmons commended the ACS organising committee for Reimagination 2015 and noted the event’s fortuitous timing, as the Government prepares to release a major innovation statement.

“Timing is everything – or almost everything,” Fitzsimmons said.

“Having this event not two months after a change of Prime Minister could not have worked out better.

“Who would have thought 12 months ago that we can now have an open dialogue in this country about innovation, or even about disruptive technologies and what to do about it, without polarising the nation?

“The tone of the national conversation has shifted for the better.”

Innovation anywhere

Providing the opening keynote address, Craig Dunn, chair of new fintech hub Stone & Chalk, highlighted the new market dynamics being driven by digital disruption.

“It’s truly amazing to see the speed of change across the world right now,” Dunn said.

“In many ways we’re living in a new renaissance of creativity, this time spurred on by digital technologies which are democratising opportunities for people to innovate, and unleashing talent in a way the world has never seen before.

“Access to national and global markets via the internet and the capacity to build and develop new businesses that require far less financial capital than in the past, are all [signals] to me that so many more people can participate in this developing economic revolution.

“It all means new ideas and new businesses can come from almost anywhere.”

Other high profile speakers at the event included Babson College Distinguished Professor Thomas Davenport, the ‘Father of the Internet of Things’ Kevin Ashton, ANZ Banking Group’s GM Strategy & Planning and CTO Drs Patrick Maes, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, Telstra Chief Scientist Dr Hugh Bradlow, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello, and iiNet founder Michael Malone, among others.

Minds - and doors - opened

ACS CEO Andrew Johnson praised the breadth of discussions at the event.

“We covered a lot of territory - insights into what boards are thinking about technology investment, the importance of ecosystem development, and how you tackle technology as competitive advantage,” Johnson said.

“And the great thing is there’s been a whole variety of different ideas.

“Most importantly Reimagination has been about connections – meeting other people and talking about what’s keeping you up at night, and how to create solutions.”

Johnson thanked the event’s platinum sponsors Telstra and UTS, as well as gold and other sponsors.

“Telstra’s a fantastic innovative company and UTS’ graduate programs in IT and engineering are absolutely first class,” he said.

“Thank you also to our gold sponsors – ATMC and Cognizant. And then Liberty, TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute and Echo Entertainment.”

The conference was well-received by members and delegates and will return in 2016.

So inspiring to be amonst the greats of Australian ICT professionals at another great ACS event #reimagination2015

— Bradley Birchall (@BradleyBirchall) November 17, 2015

Great ACS conference #Reimagination2015 and excellent awards night #disruptors2015, well done Brenda Ansley, Andrew Johnson & Anthony Wong

— Kumar Parakala (@KumarParakala) November 17, 2015

Thanks ACS for a great day at #Reimagination2015, & a great night at Digital #Disruptors2015. Inspiring to see the talent across our sector.

— Kevin Burbidge (@kburbidge) November 17, 2015