Recent Blog
Recent Blog

21 June 2018

What defines a thought leader?

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Do you have to be forward-thinking or is it more important to have a grip on current reality?

Do you have to have been in the industry for a long period of time, or can you come in as a fresh mind and unleash what you perceive to be the most important focus areas for improvement and foresee to be the most intriguing avenues to go down as an industry?

It’s the age old debate of aptitude vs attitude, cold hard facts vs intuition, inherent skills vs expertise and knowledge.

In my opinion, everyone who dares to engage and passionately immerse themselves in their industry is a thought leader.

Everyone has a different way of seeing things, and therefore, their reality is vastly different. What you consider to be insightful and thought leader worthy, may not even relate to the concepts and ways another has pieced together the puzzle of their world. We are all diverse and no one has the exact same thought process or life experience. Collaboratively, we are one heck of a force to be reckoned with!

That’s what gives me the greatest pleasure – that moment when a dynamic of people click and create an experience that will likely never happen again – those exact minds, creativity and energy in the same room, discussing the same issues and being inspired in different ways by the same content and speakers.

The collective knowledge of the room, when people dare to speak up and participate, is often far greater than that one ‘thought-leader’ on stage.

It’s when we all come together to discuss ideas that a certain hype is generated and genius is born.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Gracie Fea

Originally from NZ, Gracie worked as a Broadcast Journalist for a few years before moving to London, and then to Sydney, where she fatefully came across conference production and quickly realised it was her dream role. Getting to speak with such passionate and successful people and create an agenda so that people can see themselves in other’s experiences, really spins her wheels.


She has a hunger to hear everyone’s unique story and really thrives from creating a platform for them to share these and help move their industry forward through collaboration.



Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts Gracie Fea









NZ Government reviews use of algorithms

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As emerging technologies generate mass amounts of data, awareness is growing across the public sector of the need to ensure transparency and accountability in the use and availability of data.

May 2018 saw the NZ Government launch an assessment of how its departments are using algorithms to analyse the data of New Zealand citizens.

Whilst the first stage was forecast to be completed by August, there is no word on whether the resignation of one of its leaders- Government Chief Digital Officer, Colin MacDonald- will affect the review.

Minister for Government Digital Services Clare Curran said in a public statement, “We’re also working internationally within the Digital 7 nations to take the lead on digital rights. The government is acutely aware of the need to ensure transparency and accountability as interest grows regarding the challenges and opportunities associated with emerging technology such as artificial intelligence."

The focus of the review is to ensure data is being leveraged to its full potential to drive positive benefits for citizens.

In another move to involve citizens in data extrapolation processes, Ms Curran also recently launched an AI action plan to educate and upskill people in the use of Artificial Intelligence.

“An ethical framework will give people the tools to participate in conversations about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications in our society and economy,” Clare Curran said.

“With many other countries already focussing on the strategic development of AI, New Zealand must be at the forefront of AI adoption as we strive to compete in the global marketplace.”

It’s the government’s ambition that the report will create a platform for business, government, academia and citizens to be part of the conversation regarding AI and data usage. 

By bringing New Zealand together, it’s hoped this will enable the nation to further their goals as global digital leaders and develop the appropriate support, frameworks and expertise.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Claire Dowler

Claire is the manager of Akolade’s government and digital portfolio. She’s passionate about emerging digital trends, particularly in the public sector. In her spare time she enjoys picking up heavy things and putting them back down again and animals are her favourite kind of people. 







Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Claire Dowler









20 June 2018

OGCIO merges with Department of Premier and Cabinet: What this means for the ICT strategy for WA?

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The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO)  was established by the former Barnett government in 2015 in an effort to reduce the state’s ICT spending by $100 million over four years. Their mission is to collaborate with government agencies and industry to stabilise cost, increase value for money and minimize risk in delivery of ICT across the public sector.

Now, the OGCIO will be merging with the Department of Premier and Cabinet from the 1st of July 2018. This comes after the McGowan’s government second budget where they revealed that this merge would provide a ‘stronger mandate for the government’s digital transformation agenda and ensure that ICT performance, data sharing and cyber security are strengthened’.

This merge reinforces Western Australia’s journey to the digital future with the whole-of-government Digital WA strategy 2016-2020 aiming to have 75% of government related public transaction completed online by 2020.

The shift to digital innovation sparks the intention to build a reliable digital foundation to meet the needs of the WA government. The core themes that the strategy is focused on are:
  • Technology platforms -cheaper access to better technology across the sector
  • Digital security – trusted and appropriate security for data and transactions
  • Online self-service – easier access to more government digital services
  • ICT business management  better and more efficient management of ICT resources
  • Sourcing and innovation – improve how government finds and procures ICT services
  • People capability – identify and address gaps in workforce digital skills
  • Information and analytics – combine and use quality data to inform decision -making
  • Governance & strategic policy – direction for transparent ICT decisions in government ICT
The interim GCIO, Marion Burchell, is now focused on successfully transitioning OGCIO and shifting the existing reform agenda into the new digital focus of the Labour Government.

Now, with an increased emphasis on WA’s Digital Strategy, the public sector is more than determined to implement a whole-of-government approach to digital transformation. This merge is just another indication as to how WA is making a bold statement in their digital transformation agenda.  

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Vishi Peters 

Vishi is a Conference Producer of Akolade’s Government and Digital portfolio. She has a strong interest in current affairs and enjoys giving an educated opinion about emerging trends. She is passionate about photography, enjoys playing cricket and cooking different cuisines and expanding her knowledge of food.  








Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Vishi Peters

Increasing need for trust and transparency in the NFP sector

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There is an increasing need for improved trust and transparency among not-for-profits as sex scandals keep damaging the sector.

This comes after revelations that Oxfam UK used sex workers while on a relief mission following an earthquake in Haiti in 2010. There have also been revelations that sex workers from several aid charities have been sexually exploiting victims – including children – by exchanging food and aid for sex.

Unsurprisingly, many not-for-profits are feeling the impacts of the damaging news, not least Oxfam UK, who is expected to make £16 million cuts as a result of decreased financial support, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Oxfam UK said they were “devastated” by the scandal, adding it “means we now have less money to provide clean water, food and other support to people who need it.”

The phrase “just the tip of the iceberg” has been used to describe the sexual scandal headlines that have rocked the NFP sector, with boards on organisations everywhere put on high notice that this is fast becoming a sector-wide issue.

Organisations are needing to address transparency and accountability in order to build an evidence base. Being transparent and open with the community about finances, data and behaviour is an essential task in itself.

Controlling the message around an organisations finances, enhancing relationships with stakeholders and demonstrating good governance is crucial. Although aid organisations are under the most pressure now, all not-for-profit organisations should be prepared for scrutiny – transparency is now impossible to avoid.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Naomi Neilson

Recently graduated with a Bachelor in Communications with a major in Journalism and Public Relations, Naomi Neilson has jumped straight into the world of media and press with Third Sector. She is motivated and passionate to explore the industry and thrives on creating an interactive and social platform for Third Sectors unique readers.


In her free time she can be found either watching the footy or designing her next big art piece around sourcing stories and engaging with new people.


Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts Naomi Neilson

19 June 2018

Why the government needs to push the play button

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Digital video is one of the leading ways to drive online engagement. Website pages containing video attract more traffic, have significantly longer page visits per person, and are much more likely to be shared.

So let’s see some stats, 'cos numbers don’t lie.'

According to the latest figures, the percentage of internet users consuming video content online is about 77% in Australia. It’s a similar story in the US, UK and Canada too, and it’s predicted that by 2020, around 80% of total global internet traffic will be attributed to videos.

There are some pretty straight-forward key principles to follow when producing video content. Some of the main tips to consider are:
  • Creating a unique video that has 'wow' factor always wins the game
  • Creating shorter, more precise videos sparks more interest
  • If you’ve engaged your audience within the first 7 seconds, you’ve probably hooked them for the duration
  • Making your video mobile-friendly is crucial 
  • Always avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Creating different videos for your different online platforms is a must

About 90% of SNS users share videos, 87% of marketers utilize videos in their campaigns, and viewers believe that 95% of messages from videos are retained on their minds. About 73% of B2B organisations using videos in their marketing campaigns report positive ROI results. 

Pretty powerful stuff, right?

It all seems so logical - so why is it that the Australian Government are so behind? Why are so many Departments, organisations and agencies so slow to embrace the play button and create great video content to reach their audiences?

Well, put simply... a lot of them don’t know how. 

So, let’s take a look at some of the ones who do. Let’s see some winning examples of those who’ve really set the benchmark.

The City of Canning in Perth, Western Australia have commissioned a fantastic animated video that explains to the public the benefit of the council’s community engagement efforts. At 5-minutes in length, it is at the longer end of most digital explainer videos, however due to its well-written content and entertaining style of animation, it remains engaging and relevant throughout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=cE3q7I2Emn4 

On the other hand, Planning NSW has created an animation which visually demonstrates the planned new Macquarie University Station Precinct. The 4-minute fly-by video gives the community and other stakeholders a good idea of how the new precinct will look and feel after planned improvements are made. The video takes raw planning materials and converts them into an engaging and understandable piece of useful content. Planning NSW also has a dedicated YouTube channel containing further videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctx82qACB3c  

With everything taken into account here, I’ll round off by saying that two things are clear. 

One, there’s definitely a lot we can learn from each other. So we should start actively trying.

And two, there’s enormous potential for progress in the future. And we will get there.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Beth Hampton

I came to Australia in late 2016, having spent some time travelling through Southeast Asia and briefly living in Singapore – I was ready to embrace the lifestyle of a working Sydneysider!

I grew up in London, and completed my degree in Psychology at the University of York. I always dreamed of landing a job in the police, but figured it was worth swapping the handcuffs and late shifts for an exciting new city and a job full of fun and opportunity in a fantastic company like Akolade!
Love cooking, playing the piano, terrible British soap operas, an ice-cold G&T and exploring new places.
Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Beth Hampton












08 June 2018

10 data predictions for 2018

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With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the data industry is set to soar giving organisations the ability to leverage from data effectively.

Data powered organisations are inclined to re-think their approach to data utilisation and management if they want to extract maximum value from data and analytics. With a focus on increasing business revenue, CEOs, Chief Data Officers and Chief Information Officers are adopting new and innovative methods within their business strategy to optimise their performance.

Over the years, the data industry has seen some interesting and innovative changes however 2018 has been predicted to be the year that organisations will become increasingly dependent on their data. A Forrester Research report details 10 data predictions for 2018:

1. 25% of enterprises will supplement point-and-click analytics with conversational interfaces

2. 20% of enterprises will deploy AI to make decisions and provide real-time instructions

3. AI will erase the boundaries between structured and unstructured data-based insights

4. 33% of enterprises will take their data lakes off life support

5. 50% of enterprises will adopt a cloud-first strategy for big data analytics

6. 66% of enterprises will deploy insights centres of excellence as a remedy for organisational misalignments

7. Majority of Chief Data Officers will explore opportunities to innovate data by embedding analytics in their internal business processes and data-enabled products and services

8. Data Engineer will become a new job title in the industry

9. 80% of firms will rely on insight service providers for some portion of their insight capabilities in 2018

10. 70% of enterprises expect to implement AI over the next 12 months
The new set of data buzzwords such as: AI, IoT and Deep learning are the result of the data industry advancing. However, the digital transformation of all organisations continues to pose cyber threats. With the rise of new C-suite roles, a shared awareness will grow forcing organisations to accept that cyber security isn’t just a technological issue rather it is a business challenges that requires an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to effectively manage and minimise both internal and external threats.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Vishi Peters 

Vishi is a Conference Producer of Akolade’s Government and Digital portfolio. She has a strong interest in current affairs and enjoys giving an educated opinion about emerging trends. She is passionate about photography, enjoys playing cricket and cooking different cuisines and expanding her knowledge of food.  










Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Vishi Peters


Trends changing the future of contact centres

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As customer experience moves to the forefront of almost every organisation’s strategic view, the first point of contact for consumers is undergoing a complete transformation. As contact centres evolve to meet the needs of the tech savvy ‘Generation Now’, these are some of the trends set to change the way they operate. 

      1. Chat bots and AI replacing human contact

The rise of intelligent bots will mean faster answers to customer queries as they have the capacity to search its database for information and possible resolutions. Should the bot be unable to resolve the query it would be forwarded to a human agent.

2. Voice recognition and call routing

Artificial intelligence is also expected to transform the call routing process. The days of the classic dial tone will soon be replaced by voice recognition. These machines pick up on words or phrases in spoken language and convert them into a machine readable format. By stating their query, customers can be transferred to the appropriate department or agent.

3. A remote and agile workforce

Allowing contact centre agents to work from the comfort of their home see substantial benefits in return, such as the ability to retain high performing staff and a lower turnover. A work from home scheme can be implemented to address staffing issues, as Medibank did in 2015. The centre sometimes would only require a few agents to be present but were still required to have management whilst staff were there. Equipping a few staff to work from home resolved the issue.

4. IOT and contact centres

The rise of Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa heralds a new age of IOT and complete connectivity in which such devices can monitor and store information about themselves and their user. Imagine a world in which your home support device can troubleshoot themselves and perform the necessary updates before you’re home from work.

5. Real time data

Artificial intelligence, voice recognition and IOT are joined by a central theme: they are both driven by and produce consumer data. With such tools in place contact centres will be able to access real time information relevant not only to their customers but also to decision makers and the company strategy.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on the upcoming 2nd Contact Centre Summit by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 


Written by: Claire Dowler


Claire is the manager of Akolade’s government and digital portfolio. She’s passionate about emerging digital trends, particularly in the public sector. In her spare time she enjoys picking up heavy things and putting them back down again and animals are her favourite kind of people. 







Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts @ Claire Dowler











07 June 2018

New data laws - how will these affect Australian organisations?

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We all know data is the essence of any organisation. Data is money and where money is concerned the need to protect and leverage from this becomes a major priority.

The Federal Government announced its intention to legislate a national Consumer Data Right (CDR) late last year and now this legislation is spreading sector by sector starting with Banking.  This legislation reflects the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to create a comprehensive right to data which would allow consumers to obtain a machine-readable copy of their own digital data.  The CDR will now give customers the right to share their transactions, usage and product data with service competitors and comparison services if they wish to do so.

Recent news have indicated that the ACCC is welcoming the introduction of this general data right for all consumers and the$20 million from the Federal Budget to oversee its implementation over the next four years. The OAIC and ACCC will have separate but complementary enforcement roles in relation to this new law.



  • OAIChave primary responsibility for individual consumer complaints,
  • ACCC - will focus on ensuring the system as a whole operates as intended, including supporting competition and good consumer outcomes. They will develop rules and an accreditation scheme to ensure the implementation of the CDR and approve technical standards.
With the CDR being implemented in a sector-by-sector approach, Banking is the first sector to be designated with this. Open Banking is the application of the CDR and will be implemented in phases with the aim that major banks make data on credit cards, debit cards, deposit and transaction accounts, mortgages and remaining products be available by 2019-2020

Moving from a national scale to an international one, the European Union has enforced their General Data Protection Regulation from 25th May 2018. Even though this regulation is made effective in Europe, any organisation from any country that deals with Europe in their businesses are subject to comply with this.

However, this does beg the question; doesn’t the Privacy Act highlight the same things in the GDPR?

The answer is yes, but there are still some differences and if not understood properly can place Australian businesses in hot water. The key differences are:


  1. Compliance –the Privacy Act includes a threshold stating that business with annual revenue less than $3 million does not need to comply with it, whereas the GDPR applies to business of all sizes and revenue.
  2. “Serious harm”- Privacy Act: Notifiable Data Breach Scheme – organisations are to report data breaches to relevant parties where serious harm is possible. Whereas GDPR states all breaches must be reported.
  3. Penalties – the highest penalty for breaching Privacy Act is a fine for $2.1 million however if business breach the GDPR can be fined the highest of either €20 million; or 4% of their total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year.
Ultimately, the rise of online businesses has called for a wide-scale protection of personal data and as such it is important that Australian businesses, especially online businesses, remain up-to-date with these new laws and regulations to avoid possible penalties.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Vishi Peters 

Vishi is a Conference Producer of Akolade’s Government and Digital portfolio. She has a strong interest in current affairs and enjoys giving an educated opinion about emerging trends. She is passionate about photography, enjoys playing cricket and cooking different cuisines and expanding her knowledge of food








Follow me on LinkedIn for information regarding future Akolade events as well as future blogs posts Vishi Peters