With investment dropping from the mining sector a focus on innovation has emerged in Australian industry.
Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Atlassian, told Business Insider last week that one of his passionate beliefs was that “we can’t live on the back of the things we dig out of the ground forever.”
Some of Australia’s top corporates, including the major banks, have been closely aligning themselves with startups to scoop up tech developments and ensure they continue to innovate.
The Federal Government even launched its own internal “startup agency” to simplify the services it supplies. This week the NSW government announced a new financial technology (or “fintech”) hub in Sydney with major corporate sponsors including Westpac and Woolworths.
Farquhar said Australia needed a focus on innovation to ensure it doesn’t get left behind in the future.
“I think unless we advance in technology as a country we will be left behind because capturing the profits of the next century, that’s a big worry for me,” he said.
Farquhar believes industry is about to be reshaped to the cost of hardware manufacturers and miners.
“Potentially when I print 3D things from the 3D printer which sits in the basement of my apartment and we have self-driving cars and all sorts of things, it won’t be the person who is producing the plastic that makes all the money, it’ll be the person who conceived the printer and makes all the software that goes into it that makes all the money off that,” he said.
“When I can print a replacement part for my tap, or an entirely new tap, what does that mean for plumbers and retail stores that sell plumbing devices?
“A self-driving car, what does that mean for buses and taxis and truck drivers and beyond?”
Most of the disruption in the digital age has been around retail and media so far. But if Farquhar is right, the disruption is coming to a swathe of other industries too.