blog As you may well be aware, there is an ongoing debate about whether Australia should seek to transition away from an economy which digs stuff up out of the ground and grows stuff in the ground, to a more knowledge-based economy along the lines of countries such as Germany and Japan. Labor wants to set up an inquiry into the issue, the Federal Government is seeking to change tax laws around employee options grants to assist, and entrepreneurs such as Freelancer chief executive Matt Barrie are constantly talking the technology sector up.
Into this dynamic comes a new 47 page book put together by independent journalist Fran Molloy for Google Australa. Dubbed ‘Australia’s Innovation Generation’ and part of the search giant’s Start with Code campaign, the book chronicles the stories of ten innovative Australian entrepreneurs, including high-fliers such as Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and entrepreneur-turned-investor Niki Scevak. The book also brings together research from PricewaterhouseCoopers and includes forewords from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Google Australia engineering chief Alan Noble. You can download the book here in PDF format, and Google Australia’s blog tells us:
“In the past, invention was possible with a can-do attitude and a healthy disregard for the impossible. But in the future, we will need to add one new ingredient to this mix – the ability to code.
Future invention and innovation across every sector will have technology and computational thinking at their heart. Computational thinking is not just a fancy way of saying “think like a computer”. It’s an approach to problem solving that sits at the heart of computer science, and can unlock huge potential across all industries. Computational thinking underpins the belief that today’s computing powers will be able to tackle a variety of problems in new ways. For example, scientists looking for cures won’t solely rely on the lab and test tube. They’ll crunch masses of data, looking for patterns and answers and applying new problem solving approaches – and that will require computational thinking!
We want to see Australia’s young people make the most of these opportunities, and combine their area of passion with coding skills to step into exciting future jobs in everything from medicine to manufacturing to movies. That’s why we’re launching a new campaign and website, Start with Code, to inspire our inventors of the future to arm themselves with coding skills today. It’s full of resources for parents, teachers, and students, to help people take their first coding steps. And we’ll add to it over time as we partner with more organisations in Australia who share our belief in Australia’s bright tech future.”
Now, usually your writer is quite suspicious of these kinds of vendor-sponsored books. Usually they’re full of vendor-specific marketing guff pitching that company’s own products, and any actual wisdom is masked by the need to make the next almighty dollar. However, as is the case with the recent history of Fujitsu Australia, this new book from Google has merit, and we recommend you check if out if you have a few moments.
It’s initiatives like this that Australia’s tech sector needs to get behind if it’s going to be taken seriously by those in power. Google’s right: The future economy will be largely based on knowledge, and not on sectors such as exploiting natural resources. It’s about time people already working in Australia’s knowledge industry started making some noise around that rather obvious fact.