ThinkTank Challenge Questions 2015

China Cultural Centre Arts and Culture

Think Tank Question:

What innovative ways can we develop to engage Australians in Chinese culture, to generate greater impact and grow a broader more diverse audience?

While the contemporary political and economic ties between our two countries continue to grow rapidly, the cultural dialogue has been lagging behind, and audiences for Chinese culture and arts in Australia are still relatively undeveloped.  As our countries grow more interconnected, there is a stronger need than ever before for Australians to understand present day China, and how its long, rich history and rapid modern development is shaping contemporary culture.

There has been over 30 years of Chinese culture and arts presented in Australia, and there are more meaningful and varied artistic collaborations happening between the two countries than ever before. Artists operating within this field are producing challenging and innovative work, but who are they speaking to?

The Arts and Culture Think-Tank may wish to begin this challenge by analysing what is currently working and what is not, and why? What platforms, structures and models of collaboration are in use, and are they working? Who is the audience for contemporary Chinese performance, visual arts, literature, film and music in Australia? What are the challenges limiting participation and how might we overcome these? In what ways can we direct the future models for audience development and cultural engagement?

What might be the new models of presenting Chinese culture to Australian audiences in the future i.e. artistic partnerships, co-productions and cross cultural collaborations, online engagement?

In 20 years’ time, if the Arts and Culture Think-Tank’s ideas are implemented, what impact will they have?

AMP Innovation for the New Retirement

Think Tank Question:

How might we harness the wisdom and skills of people living their retirement to the needs of local and global communities?


Retirement is changing. It is often no longer a point in time defined by age. Retirement is a journey that takes place over multiple years. People move in and out of different modes during this time depending on their emotional and financial needs. As they transition to retirement, people may want to prolong their working life, or may they try to shift the balance of their time to do more of the things they like doing and less of the things they don’t like doing.

There may come a time where they just really want to slow down. Although people have redefined retirement, products and services have not kept up. As part of this challenge, the Think-Tank will design solutions for connecting the “resources” available from people living in their retirement to the needs of local and global communities so that people can live their retirement exactly how they like.

Energy and Sustainable Living

Think Tank Question:

How might we help communities lead the rapid transition to energy reduction and renewable energy?    

Global demand for energy is projected to increase by a third by 2040, driven by increasing population and rising per-capita income consumption as more people move into the middle class in developing countries. At the same time, concern about the impact of carbon emissions has led many countries to look for ways to reduce fossil fuel-based energy generation.

The Energy and Sustainable Living Think-Tank’s challenge is to design products or services that promote sustainable living for a growing global population by either reducing energy consumption or promoting environmentally-sustainable energy generation.

Finsia China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Think Tank Question:

How might Australian and Chinese businesses engage and grow new opportunities provided by the Australia Free Trade Agreement?

The China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is set to be implemented later this year. It is a landmark agreement that presents unique opportunities for Australian and Chinese businesses to engage. Under the agreement, Australia has been granted unprecedented access to Chinese markets. Many of the initiatives are world firsts in China’s trade relations.

Australia has traditionally exported resources and agricultural goods to China. Indeed, much of Australia’s prosperity in the past two decades can be attributed to its relationship with China. During this time China has undergone the most significant economic expansion and shift to urbanisation in recorded history. While China is Australia’s largest trading partner, there are many under-explored avenues for forging deeper economic ties. This particularly is the case in markets for services.

To take an example: In the 2014 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index Australia’s system of compulsory superannuation was recognised as number two globally for its adequacy, sustainability and integrity. It currently holds over AUD 1.8 trillion in funds under management. One of the biggest challenges Australia faces is ensuring the continuing sustainability of its superannuation system so that it delivers adequate outcomes for Australians in retirement.

Both the Financial System Inquiry and the Intergenerational Report have considered the scope of these challenges and the reforms required to tackle them. Like Australia, China increasingly needs to consider the impacts of population ageing. Funds management, and the services needed to enhance wellbeing in retirement, are areas of recognized Australian expertise.

Of course, there are many more synergies between the two economies, and a shared history of cooperation. As part of this challenge the Think-Tank will think about the potential for ChAFTA to help both Australia and China.

Foundation for Young Australians Pathways to Work

Think Tank Question:

How might we equip young people to succeed in the future world of work, which is more uncertain and complex than ever before?

The world of work is changing and will continue to change. What will the future of work look like and what will our young people need to excel in the careers of the future?  

Australia and the Asian region will need to prepare the largest group of young people ever to enter adulthood. The young people of 2050 will need to be more confident, connected, enterprising, innovative, optimistic and generous than any generation before them.

But how do we create the pathways now to get them there? If we can imagine what the future of work will look like, we can begin to imagine what young people today need in order to be prepared and prosper in the future economies of the Asian Century.  

Future of Tourism

Think Tank Question:

How might we create sustainable tourism opportunities that disperse the benefits between both urban and regional communities?

With the major shift to increased urbanisation in both China and Australia, tourism provides a great opportunity to maintain both the economic and cultural viability of rural areas. However this needs to be achieved while ensuring a positive environmental and social impact.

With international travel becoming increasingly accessible, how might we ensure the benefits, for tourists and destinations respectively, are shared between urban and regional areas?

Practera Play

Think Tank Question

How can gamification and serious games foster global collaboration and create sustainable social impact?

Research shows that playful educational approaches to real-life situations and problems can have a substantial positive impact on establishing empathy, understanding and learning outcomes. There are two main ways to establish these approaches:

  • Serious games: Serious games are games that are created and designed for a primary purpose, instead of pure entertainment. Entertainment is used as a vehicle to convey an explicit educational purpose by simulating real problems in a playful way.
  • Gamification: Instead of creating a new game, the effect of existing experiences can be amplified by gamification. By leveraging psychological triggers of our innate motivation, gamified experiences can foster relationships, engagement and collaboration.

Both approaches fundamentally rely on 10 primary game mechanics. These mechanics address your motivation by autonomy, value and competence and hence create engagement with the situation.

How can we utilise either of the approaches to create something meaningful with a superb fun factor helping collaboration and sustainable social impact?

PwC Infrastructure

Think Tank Question:

How might Australia and China better collaborate to develop and deliver critical infrastructure?

Following the foundation of the AIIB and the World Infrastructure Foundation, to be headquartered in Sydney, there is a tremendous opportunity for member countries to collaborate to support the current and next generation of infrastructure needs across Asia.

This will ensure that they realise not only the economic growth potential but also deliver on the social value provided by infrastructure.

Swisse Health and Wellness

Think Tank Question

With the estimated rise of the middle classes around the world to a population of 3 billion, how does a preventive health approach become central to individual and family lifestyles?

The modern lifestyle is complex and in many ways the pursuit of wealth and financial security is necessary but ideally not at the expense of health or wellness. Wellness is more than just not being ill; it is being well physically, mentally and emotionally. We live at a time when modern devices, surgery and pharmaceutical developments are without doubt the best in human history, yet disease still continues to afflict more people than ever before. Many of the most prevalent diseases are lifestyle related conditions, occurring in the middle and rising classes.

UoN Innovation in Education

Think Tank Question:

How might we redesign higher education to be relevant to young people in the transition from a resource-based economy to new economies of work?

Traditionally higher education has been focused on training future employees and specialists, transferring necessary skills and knowledge to gain employment in the workforce. This is largely a result of higher education being siloed. As a knowledge base economy is highly dependent on cross disciplinary, experience and lateral thinking, entrepreneurs, inventors, businesses owners and creative industries, job creators become critical. Collaboration will be key in moving forward to a network economy.

The freelance culture is expanding, driving the need of these networks. With distribution models fracturing and innovation democratizing, students around the world struggle more with the realities of getting the best higher education as the world seems to reinvent itself daily, future proofing your education becomes critical. With information more accessible than ever before and networks becoming less tangible how will higher education remain the driving force of these new economies?

As part of this challenge, the Innovation in Education team will look for solutions for students’ future proofing building lasting networks and getting the skills and knowledge they need while understanding the cross-disciplinary world they are entering. How does higher education adapt to these needs?

UTS Entrepreneurship

Think Tank Question:

How might we foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem that creates opportunities for millennials, in particular fostering the growth of an ‘innovation community’ between Australia and China?

In a recent Millennial survey (Deloitte, 2015), 45% of Australian students said they prefer not to work for a corporate, and either start up their own business or are employed in the open workforce. Additionally, 6000 IT graduates every year from Australian Universities return to their overseas home. How might we attract alumni to launch, invest or grow their ventures in Australia, to tap into the potential of both Australia and China markets and an interconnected entrepreneurial ecosystem?

This challenge could provide insights and offer solutions on any facet of the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as improving access to early-stage investment, retaining ‘smart’ capital or fostering the growth of the ecosystem between Australia and China. If we achieve this growth, the two countries will be better able to retain the skills and innovation mindset of their graduates.

The issues this challenge aims to address are key to the growth of the entrepreneurial community in Australia and between Australia and China.

UTS is committed to supporting entrepreneurship. It sits at the heart of Australia’s leading creative and digital industries precinct, in Ultimo, Sydney, and is a key partner in Intersection: Sydney’s Digital Creative Hub, along with Microsoft and the NSW Government. Intersection has been created to connect large companies with start-ups, develop programs of events, mentoring and internships and to raise Sydney’s global profile through collaboration. UTS’s commitment to entrepreneurship has the goal of developing the talent that realise ideas that become start-up opportunities both in Australia and internationally.

Westpac Digital Disruption

Think Tank Question:

How might we transform the future of banking to meet the needs of individuals and organisations in a digital and participation economy?

In its report, Digital Disruption: Short Fuse, Big Bang? Deloitte analysed the potential impact of a new wave of technology disruption on traditional industries and concluded: “Sectors such as financial services, IT and media have some of the highest levels of total digital potential. But it’s also clear that even though these sectors have already changed considerably due to digital technologies, there is plenty more disruption ahead.”

Digital technology is introducing a new demand for how banking services are delivered. In particular, Millennial—under 30 years of age— have distinct preferences regarding financial services and digital technology. Customers will essentially choose whom they engage with for their banking needs based on a complex array of needs and perceptions - whether they choose to bank with non-traditional players is entirely up to them.

The good news is that despite new players, many people still want to deal with their bank. For example, in the Deloitte’s 2014 Mobile Consumer Survey 73% of respondents said that the institution they trust to facilitate mobile payments is their bank.

The purpose of this Think Tank is to consider the opportunities for banks in a rapidly changing world where digital players increasingly ‘disrupt’ the status quo. The digital world may be daunting but there is no doubt it provides banks with the opportunity to provide people with more choices and a better banking experience.

Westpac Global Talent

Think Tank Question:

How might corporates in Australia and China play a role in fast tracking the development of Global Talent? How might we harness global talent to become an advantage in both Australia and China competing in the international market place?

The Australian Government’s Asia White paper identified the gap in leadership positions on Australian Boards who associate as being from Asian heritage. Westpac has spoken about this issue of a Bamboo Ceiling as holding Australian companies back in the quest for greater diversity.

When considering Australia’s place in the Asia century and the facts about Asia it simply cannot be ignored - 60% of the world’s population currently lives in Asia. Moreover, Asian economies are expected to account for almost 50% of global economic output by 2025.

The global nature of today's business environment means that many organisations are looking for a competitive advantage in understanding unique markets and their customer base. Success will come from having a rich variety of skill sets, points of view, styles of leadership as well as new and innovative ideas.

At Westpac, we recognise that a diverse and inclusive workforce will help build the capability of our people to manage greater interactions and customer flows from Asia which will deliver a big component of our future growth.

Equally for China to achieve its ambition of becoming a key player in the global banking system with an international currency it has a Global Talent issue to overcome. Governance, transparency and the unrestricted free flow of capital are critical elements of the international banking system.

How will China’s future leaders leverage skills and expertise of Global Talent to successfully reform its financial sector? Given where China has come from, it is going to take the next generation of future leaders and Global Talent to get there.