A national purpose and A space agency

I recently had the privilege and joy to speak at Global Access Partners 7th Annual Economic Summit showcasing Spaces of Australian Innovation.

I spoke on the topic of mindsets conducive to innovation and creativity, a transcript of my talk can be read here.

The audience was a balanced cohort of representatives from local and federal government, big, medium and small business, social enterprises, academia, venture capital organisations, start ups and not for profits. The topics varied across the different types of spaces of innovation, including outer Space.

I was so interested to hear Andrea Boyd, an Australian Engineer stationed at the European Space Agency (ESA), talk about Australia’s history of not fully participating in the Space industry—evidenced by us not having our own space agency, though we’ve had three opportunities to set one up. Her talk preceded mine and a delegate later stated quite eloquently, and I’m paraphrasing, “We’ve heard about outer space and we’ve heard about inner space. Perhaps the latter requires just as much attention as the former.”

What struck me about the day was the eagerness expressed to talk about such topics as mindset, purpose and intention at the national level. I proposed that we needed a mindset revolution to change our thinking to support what we needed to do as a nation regarding innovation. This was to think deliberately and meaningfully about who we want to be as a people, and what we want our nation to stand for.

Melis speaking at lectern

A sole focus on creating economic prosperity is not enough. We should be striving for something greater than that. We should be creating a sense of purpose equal to those created by leaders who have gone down in history for uniting a nation around a clear intention.

Later in the day, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin the CEO from BlueChilli, spoke about the need for a vision for Australia—so encouraging to hear others talk about similar outcomes. Obviously we need one, and without one, all our decisions about innovation, the policies, the infrastructure, even the culture will be aimless. With a sense of purpose, we will know in which direction we should be heading with our decisions around innovation and be more effective when making them.

My proposition is that absolutely everything we do has a net positive impact on planet, people and animals. That we just choose to do this because we know it is the right thing to do, and this choice will drive purposeful innovation through every industry, every sector and every business. It would be truly extraordinary.

Anyone who did anything worth talking about 100 years after they did it had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, were in a position where they could have significant influence with their actions and had commitment and conviction to get there.

We have people in positions of significant influence but we don’t have a clear vision of what we want to achieve and their commitment and conviction is focussed on disparate, unconnected things.

We can do this, I know we can. We’ve just got to choose to do it.


Photo of Melis courtesy of Global Access Partners