The exact future of the global economy is uncertain, but its direction is clear: services will become more valuable, value creation will be tied to knowledge-intensive and automated processes and skills, and firms and individuals will need flexibility and resilience. In short, success in the future economy will require countries and companies to be more innovative and Australia risks being left behind.
In global rankings of economic complexity – a measure generally correlated with future economic growth – Australia’s has fallen behind countries like Uzbekistan and Botswana while its innovation ranking has fallen steadily out of the top 20 in the world. In upcoming United States Studies Centre (USSC) report The role of US innovation in securing Australia's economic future, report author and Senior Advisor Jared Mondschein offers a path forward, leveraging one of the great advantages Australia has: its strong ties with the United States. Since the end of the Second World War, Mondschein argues, no country has played or continues to play a larger role in helping develop Australia’s innovative capabilities than the United States.
What is the cost of a failure to innovate? How can Australia and the United States expand economic engagement which supports innovation? What can Australia learn from other US allies and partners who have embraced innovation?
USSC hosted a webinar event featuring former Chargé d'Affaires at the US embassy in Canberra James Carouso, Google Australia Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager Alex Lynch, Queensland Innovation Lead and Deputy Director-General Dr Sarah Pearson, and report author USSC Senior Advisor Jared Mondschein in a conversation moderated by USSC Senior Non-Resident Fellow Dr John Lee.
James Carouso has been at the forefront of economic diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific for much of his career. Prior to joining BGA, he was the senior foreign policy advisor to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. Earlier, Jim served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’ affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia. He also worked as the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, in mid-2019.
Alex Lynch manages Government Affairs and Public Policy for Google in Australia, where he is responsible for helping Australia successfully adapt as the world economy digitises, increasingly sophisticated digital tools are developed and operationalised, and the nature of work changes. Alex has a decade of experience in strategic reputation and crisis management, and prior to joining the private sector worked for the New Zealand government on matters of national security.
Sarah Pearson is the Innovation Lead and Deputy Director-General Innovation of the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation in Queensland. Sarah is a leader with global experience and skills in building innovation ecosystems. Prior to taking the lead position in Queensland’s innovation, her roles include Chief Scientist and Chief Innovation Officer at the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Founding CEO of the CBR Innovation Network, PVC Innovation at the University of Newcastle, CEO of ANU Enterprise, management consulting with McKinsey & Co in Sydney, tenured Physics academic at UNE, and global head of Open Innovation at Cadbury plc in Reading UK. Her strategic, research, and innovation skills have also been applied to board positions spanning government, venture capital, tech companies and social impact entities. She holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and is the author on eight international patents, for cancer diagnosis and novel confectionary.
Jared Mondschein is a Senior Advisor at the US Studies Centre. He works across all three United States Studies Centre research programs: Foreign Policy and Defence, Trade and Investment, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Jared's analysis has appeared in outlets including ABC, BBC, CNN, Foreign Policy, MSNBC, and Sky News as well as across major Australian mastheads. Previously, Jared was a Research Analyst at Bloomberg BNA in Washington, DC, where he focused on cross-border tax issues. Prior to joining Bloomberg BNA, Jared was a Research Associate in the Asia Studies program of the Council on Foreign Relations, an editorial assistant at Foreign Policy magazine, and an assistant editor at a policy journal in Beijing.
Dr John Lee is an adjunct professor and non-resident senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre. He is also a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC. From 2016-2018, he was senior adviser to the Australian Foreign Minister, the lead ministerial adviser for the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, and her principal adviser on Indo-Pacific strategic affairs in the lead-up to the reinstitution of the Quad in 2017.
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