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    Realising the Adaptable Workforce

    editor     |      May 8, 2008

    Justyn SturrockBy Justyn Sturrock

    The latest report from IBM highlights how ‘cracking the code for Talent' can help companies take their workforce performance to the next level.

    Today, more than ever, organisations worldwide are focusing their time and attention on maximising the value of their workforces.

    As organisations become more globally integrated, and as traditional geographic and competitive boundaries disappear, the need to identify, develop and connect talent has never been more critical.

    Every two years IBM conducts a global CEO Study where we go out and talk to over 1,000 CEOs, and each time we do this, the people agenda is always top of mind.

    In 2004, when we asked CEOs what their greatest concern was for their organisation, three primary themes emerged: growth, responsiveness and agility.

    And CEOs were almost unanimous in their belief that the greatest hurdle to addressing these themes was the capability within their organisations.

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    Online Question Time for the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, Member for Aston

    editor     |      May 6, 2008

    The first elected representative to take Question Time online is the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, who was elected to represent the Melbourne seat of Aston in the 2001 Federal election. 

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    The source of Australian innovation

    proberts     |      May 5, 2008

    Innovation comes from entrepreneurs – and rarely from science.

    There is a pervasive Australian myth that goes something like this: innovations come from brilliant scientists who pass on their discoveries to grateful businessmen and women and, eventually, the consumer. This linear progression does occur, but is a rarity compared to the real source of Australian innovation – the entrepreneur.

    The world's stock of science and technology is increasing at a rapid rate and, in fact, there is already enough of it around to fuel a number of industrial revolutions. What is in short supply are the people who can assemble technologies and ideas into a coherent business plan, raise the finance and assemble the team that can turn all these inputs into something consumers value – in short, into an innovative product or service.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottTony Abbott reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.

    At the recent 2020 summit, delegates' frustration with the dog's breakfast of divided responsibilities in health was sidetracked into proposals for a national preventive health agency funded by a tax on junk food and a new health equality commission. Keeping people healthy and giving everyone the best possible health outcomes are worthy goals, but are unlikely to be achieved by creating new bureaucracies. Avoiding discussion of today's actual problems by focusing, instead, on vague aspirations for the distant future seems to be the new government's style. Let's find something that sounds visionary, but that doesn't threaten current power structures or imply blame for current problems. That way, we can all be seen to work together.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottThe Hon. Tony Abbott MP reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.

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    A Continuing and Permanent Ideas Database – A Must!

    Robert_Pitts     |      May 3, 2008

    Australia needs a permanent, highly visible and accessible repository for ideas.

    In 1988 I wrote to the then Minister for Science, Barry Jones and advocated the concept of a centralised ideas database. I envisaged a system where members of the public could submit ideas for inventions, models for governance, infrastructure improvements, etc. via phone, fax, mail or even the newfangled "email".  

    My envisaged model was a system administered by universities who were probably the only bodies at that time with enough computing power to handle the influx of data. Since then, of course, there have been massive advances in internet technologies making such a system not only feasible but, I believe, imperative. It is sad to contemplate that there have doubtless been many creative ideas formulated by ordinary people which have withered and died for want of an avenue for expression.

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    The true nature of the Environment

    quagga     |      April 29, 2008

    How can I be as one with nature?  This blog’s questions/answers will reveal.

    How can I be as one with nature?  This blog’s questions/answers will reveal. 

    Q: What is the environment?

    A: The environment is everything (absolutely everything) that exists! ie: The Universe.

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    Aussie Innovation Community     |      April 29, 2008

    AIC logoAny innovator will know what it is like stumbling through the system, learning about the grants process, looking up relevant programs, wading through related government websites and fighting to find like-minded people. It shouldn't be that hard. A few friends in the right places can make all the difference and that's what is all about.

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    Greenhouse Challenge: Can IT deliver?

    editor     |      April 29, 2008

    Sundeep Khisty

    The world's leading analysts predict that energy costs will be eating up more than a third of IT budgets within the next five years, says Sundeep Khisty. 

    Global warming has emerged as the critical issue of the 21st Century. While governments worldwide debate the best formula to cut greenhouse gas emissions, change is inevitable.

    Most world leaders concede that global warming is the fault of human kind and that intervention is a priority.

    A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), left little doubt on the issue. Drawing on work by 2500 scientists, the UN-backed IPCC concluded that it was more than 90 per cent likely that recent warming has a predominantly human cause.

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    Australia 2020 Summit: A chance to continue the conversation

    editor     |      April 29, 2008

    Ben McDevitt

    Summits such as this should be extended beyond Australian shores to include our near neighbours, says Ben McDevitt.

    I felt honoured to be part of the 2020 Summit in Canberra.  The opportunity to share ideas with such a diverse array of people from all walks of life on critical issues affecting our nation was fantastic.  My only regret is that the time we had to actually put ideas onto the table was very limited and the opportunity to actually explore those ideas in a meaningful way was virtually non-existent. 

    I think the organisers and facilitators did a great job under considerable pressure to identify key ideas emerging from each of the streams in the limited time available and I was pleasantly surprised at the wrap up session on the second day that some really innovative ideas had been generated.  Prior to attending the summit I held the view that the best we could hope for was to create opportunities for further discussion and I sense that will occur.

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    Inside the 2020 Summit: A healthy look at the future

    editor     |      April 29, 2008

    Stephen Leeder

    The twelve years from now to 2020 will be constrained by demographic imperatives, economic realities, demands of sustainability, Asian development and climate change. Within those constraints we will have choices – how wisely can we make them, asks Prof Stephen Leeder.

    In proposing a national health strategy, major points of agreement emerged quickly among the hundred delegates in the Health Strategy Stream. The 17 years less life expectancy experienced by Indigenous Australians was unacceptable, and to ensure more equitable care for people in remote socio-economically disadvantaged Australia was urgent. A more energetic approach to IT for a portable, personal medical record was proposed, essential for the decades of care for people with long-term continuing health problems such as emphysema. The continuing value of research was acknowledged.

    Chronic illness scares everyone, especially mental problems, and better linked up care is critical between public and private, health workforce and Commonwealth and States.

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    Reflections on the Australia 2020 Summit

    editor     |      April 29, 2008

    Narelle Kennedy

    The Summit was unquestionably a success in engaging the imagination, but many questions have been left unanswered, writes  Narelle Kennedy.   

    The Australia 2020 summit with its catch cry of ‘Thinking Big' certainly had the sense of being an historic occasion.

    Led by the Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, it was a new collaboration, opening up the corridors of power to captains of industry, indigenous leaders, community activists, quiet achievers from rural communities, celebrities, youth, world class scholars, past and present political leaders and today's working journalists and politicians.

    The tone was about wider dialogue and fresh ideas – not through oratory and speechmaking, but by getting down to business with new solutions to the big issues affecting Australia.

    Working side by side and sharing the task, there was a sense of collegiality, passionate and robust questioning and distilling the essence of the new ideas that emerged and testing them. Not always harmoniously, and with many questions still left unanswered.

    The end products from each of the ten streams were pulled together, using typical processes of our management consultant facilitators, and summarised in an interim report presented to the Prime Minister. The full report – with more nuanced ideas and background thinking – is still to come.