Closing comment – Friday, 22 February – Google’s Leeder says Melbourne brings innovation community together

On Wednesday, we woke at the crack of dawn to join our client veski at the first RMIT Business Breakfast for 2013. The topic was innovation and the digital economy with an enlightening presentation by Google’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Nick Leeder.

The first question Nick posed was when will we stop talking about the web as something we do alongside our lives and just start talking about it as part of everything we do.

As the MD of Google in Australia and New Zealand, Nick has a front row seat to see how, as he put it, the web is “changing the way we live”. From the abundance of video content shared through YouTube to the instant collaboration facilitated by Google docs, the way we live, work and play is changing every day.

According to research Google conducted in 2010, digital’s contribution to GDP was $50 billion and Leeder says that there is no reason that shouldn’t be $70 billion by 2015.

“We want to make sure Australia is well positioned to take advantage of what comes next … There’s a social, cultural and educational shift underway and we think this is critical in making sure Australia’s well positioned on these fronts”, Nick said.

In recent months, he’s been talking about the potential for Australia to create its own Silicon Valley or a Silicon Beach as he calls it. And why do we want our very own silicon valley?

According to Nick, Silicon Valley creates an enormous pool of capability for the whole economy to draw upon. It creates the engineers and the technicians who can help businesses navigate these changes really well.

Nick provided us with lots to ponder (and Google) including:

  • Anyone can use and embrace digital as the infamous partier Corey proved
  • Productivity comes from people who are able to more efficiently communicate and use the extra time on other things
  • Australians are producing great content for channels such as YouTube with a gentle trade surplus in terms of content views
  • Infrastructure such as the NBN is a fantastic gift to this country and it’s also great to see government providing open policy settings
  • Digital is changing supply chains with Shoes of Prey being a great example

Finally he said that getting digital right and being aggressive about it is something we can give our kids!

Check out the BRW article about Nick’s fascinating presentation.

Last but not least, the Sydney-sider confessed that Melbourne has been better at bringing the digital and innovation communities together.


Jack and the c word crew


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