Australia is experiencing the changes sweeping through much of the world.
We have a growing, aging and urbanising population, we have skills shortages in many critical technical areas, and growing vulnerabilities associated with increasing reliance on technology.
All the while digitisation and automation continue to accelerate the rate of change of so many aspects of our daily lives.
The disruption that reduced household-name companies to mere memories can now be seen in every sector of the economy.
This is set against uniquely Australian challenges of inequality between rural and urban areas, strong reliance on extractive industries, and a widening digital gap between the states.
Daily conversations focus on the need to meet the challenges, seize the opportunities, but most of all to change.
In many ways, we remain unprepared for our digitally enabled future as we struggle to imagine jobs of the future, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, ways of dealing with our changing population, and facing up to the realities of a sustainable future.
Many organisations are playing their part, yet no single organisation can take on the responsibility for Australia adjusting.
Since the adoption of the current strategy, ACS has been moving from strength to strength: raising awareness, highlighting issues for Australia, producing quality advice and responses to government, taking an active role in the start-up / scale-up community.
However, more is needed.
ACS has been undergoing its own turmoil as it moves further along the arc of its current strategy.
For ACS to continue to be successful, more needs to be done to reconnect with some of its most passionate members.
Over the last three years as Vice President for the Technical Advisory Board (TAB), I have had the pleasure of leading a concerted push to ensure the TAB was playing its role in creating value, increasing ACS relevance and developing quality outputs in support of the ACS strategy.
Tackling some of the most important areas of technological change - Data Sharing, AI, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Cyber Security and recently, Smart Cities – the TAB and the technical committees have ramped up activity and outputs.
As President, my goal is to ensure the impact of these efforts are amplified.
There will also be a renewed focus on membership, member engagement and retention.
ACS has credibility because of the ACS membership.
Ultimately, members want to be part of an organisation they respect, believe in, and that delivers value for them.
What comes next is likely to be an exciting chapter of our history – continuing to put ACS at the heart of a community focused on issues of national significance.
The prize for Australia is the opportunity to more fully shape our own future, facilitate creation of new and exciting business opportunities, to help secure and safeguard Australia against challenges of the future digital world, all while protecting the rights and the sensitive, personal information associated with each of us as individuals.
The prize for ACS is being at the heart of an important and trusted community, creating value and helping drive the significance of the Society.
After three years as the Vice President responsible for the TAB, I am strongly motivated to continue to be part of the journey with ACS.