Are we the lucky or the clever country?

I find myself on a board with people such as David Thodey, Anna Bligh and Graeme Samuel. And, intriguingly, we are the new board of Clever Corp, a fictitious corporation invented by hypothetical luminary Geoffrey Robertson.

For more than an hour, Geoffrey weaves his questions around corporate governance, ethics and growths in a new world of business. I listen intently never sure when he will turn to me – asking me questions designed to lead me into a place I don’t want to go. I’m pleased with my answers and relieved when the event comes to an end.

Once off the stage, the panellists share a meal with Geoffrey and we laugh about the experience: challenging for us all. I understand that the event was taped – and if it is available for public consumption I will ensure I publish it here.

The Telstra CIO forum coincided with the launch of the third Clever Australia research. For the first time the report focused on more than productivity. It outlined what are the drivers of growth. Telstra coined the term ‘Growth Champions’. The research report said that only 5% of Australian businesses fall into the realm of Growth Champions; that is businesses which have achieved substantial productive improvements and enjoyed substantial growth beyond their industry norms.

Growth Champions focus on growth – it is at the centre of everything they do. They are completely customer-centric and listen deeply to what customers are saying. They collaborate with employees, understanding that employee engagement is critical to their growth aspirations. You can download the full report at

This is the background brief to the panellists, which is interesting in itself:

  • The ITC landscape and digital universe is getting increasingly complex.
  • There is still concern about the volatility and uncertainty surrounding global markets.
  • While CFOs will be taking prudent action to manage finances, 75% view IT as a source of competitive differentiation.
  • When discussing the provision of ITC services, there’s now an increasing focus on innovation and return to growth.
  • When asked about their top concerns, 67% of IT decision-makers in top Asia Pacific companies said, ‘increasing expectations from customers’.
  • And 59% said, ‘the accelerating rate of technological change and its effect on product/service life-cycles’.
  • The four pillars of growth were identified as cloud, mobile, social and big data.
  • Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015.
  • In a typical week, 71% of smartphone users will browse the internet.
  • 75% will use a search engine and 31% will watch a video.
  • 26% of mobile consumers have made a purchase on their smartphone.

What do you think – will we keep playing off the ‘lucky country’ or are we morphing into the ‘clever country’?


The Clever Corp board

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.


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