The second ACS Reimagination Thought Leaders’ Summit has wrapped up with almost 1,000 attendees taking part.

IT professionals from business, government and academia gathered to hear from expert panels discussing topics such as entrepreneurship, innovation, artificial intelligence and government adoption of new technology.

Held at the Star in Sydney, Reimagination is the premier annual event of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Panellists who took to the stage included the Hon. Victor Dominello, the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation; the Hon. Philip Dalidakis, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade; Adrian Turner, CEO, Data 61; Pip Marlow, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia; Kate Burleigh, Managing Director of Intel Australia/NZ; and Dr Ian Oppermann, CEO and Chief Data Scientist at NSW Data Analytics Centre.

Guests were introduced to the amusing concept of HIPPOs by keynote speaker Professor Andrew McAfee from MIT.

“In most organisations, a lot of the decisions are made by HIPPOs – have we heard this term? This is actually my new favourite business acronym. It stands for Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. And it is honestly how most business decisions get made.”

McAfee explained that when an important decision is needed, everyone looks to the HIPPO for which route to take. The HIPPO, he says, will consider research and numbers, then make a combined decision based on his experience, gut, and deep intuition.

“The HIPPO has a mortal enemy in the business world. It’s the geek. One thing about geeks, they go where the evidence takes them. The hard homework for a geek is to get their personal judgement, intuition, beliefs and biases out of the equation and just try very hard to listen to the data, and to go where the data is taking them.”

The keynote brought Reimagination to end, and was followed by the ACS Digital Disruptor Awards recognising ICT excellence by Australian individuals, business, and universities.

Panel on entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation, featuring (left to right) the Hon Philip Dalidakis MP, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade; Tim Power, CEO and Founder of Inquisitive; Bridget Loudon, CEO of Expert 360; Michael Dunworth, CEO of Snapcard; Andrew Johnson, CEO of ACS