On November 12, Telstra hosted the second annual Australian Digital Summit with a sell-out crowd of over 300 digital enthusiasts in attendance at Melbourne’s Arthur Street Auditorium.

The Australian Digital Summit was founded with five principles:

  • Accessibility – Helping the Australian business community gain access to global digital leaders
  • Support – Providing practical help and support to Australian digital start-up businesses
  • Sharing – Our own digital successes and challenges with other Australian businesses
  • Culture – Continuing our own digital journey and culture change through digital advocacy
  • Platform – Providing a platform for Australian business leaders to make the most of a digital economy

We were honoured to have three international keynote sessions headlining the event:

Globally renowned tech blogger and start-up evangelist Robert Scoble, and Forbes eCommerce go-to-man Shel Israel shared insights from their latest book ‘The Age of Context’. The book focuses on five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. These five forces include social media, mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology.

Brian Solis, the inaugural Australian Digital Summit keynote speaker, was back in Melbourne to share insights from his latest book ‘What’s the Future of Business’. Solis, a principal with Altimeter Group, believes that the future of brands depends on creating meaningful experiences.  Solis introduced the concept of Digital Darwinism – a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt.

At the Digital Summit

Tapan Bhat, Chief Product Officer with leading digital community platform provider Lithium Technologies shared examples where brands who are embracing conversations with their customers in a digital economy, are fundamentally increasing the value of the relationship through advocacy. Lithium is the provider of the platform driving Telstra’s CrowdSupport® Community – a place where over one million Australians connect with each other and the Telstra team every month.

At the Digital Summit

In addition to our keynote speakers, there were three fantastic panel sessions including a global digital leaders’ panel with our international guests, a session with Telstra digital leaders on how we are making the most of the digital economy and an honest discussion from Australian Digital Scholarship shortlisted start-up businesses Accruto, LawPath and PixC on what it is like to build their businesses from scratch.

At the Digital Summit

Several themes emerged throughout the day:

Innovation in Australia

The consensus was Australia shouldn’t try to replicate the ‘Silicon Valley’ eco-system however we should leverage the great talent, education system and ‘early adopter’ mindset to accelerate innovation.

We shared some of Telstra’s recent innovation initiatives including on Muru-D, Ventures and the Global Applications and Platforms business.

The ‘big business’ challenge

Over history, incumbents have struggled to continue their innovation journey and new economy businesses have taken the mantle. There was overall optimism that big business can still participate in innovation by acquiring or establishing start ups – creating an environment that fosters ‘disruption’ and  leading a cultural change.

Consumer technology beyond the screen

The increase of connected devices is driving an explosion in data and with this a plethora of moral and privacy questions. Throughout the day we discussed a value exchange and the consensus; ‘As long as this exchange of information leads to immediate consumer benefit, consumers will continue to share their personal information’.

An open thanks to our international guests and the 300+ of you who were able to make the event. We’ll be back with the 2014 instalment next year, in the meantime keep in touch with our digital journey on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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