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Good cause for innovation at SWITCH FESTIVAL

SWITCH - Challenger Workshop - June 23 2015 - 19

A three-day festival is due to take place in Sydney that aims to address an urgent need for innovation in Australian business. Sound like a good cause? Well, that’s not all – all proceeds for the event will go directly to Cure Brain Cancer Australia.

SWITCH FESTIVAL will take place 27-29th of August at the University of New South Wales, hosted by Silicon Valley disruption consultant, Mark Zawacki from 650 Labs. Mr Zawacki has come together with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO, Catherine Stace, to provide a forum in which Australian businesses can work together to defend against disruption occurring in every sector.

Mr Zawacki said “the digital disruption currently facing large companies is estimated to be bigger than the Industrial Revolution.”

With a startling 40 % of the S&P 500 predicted to disappear within the next decade there’s no better time to appreciate the need for the ‘reality check’ offered by events like Switch Fest. 50 years ago, the life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years – now it is only 15.

Mr Zawacki said “industries in Australia and around the world are experiencing unprecedented change and upheaval as they are fundamentally reshaped by digitisation, technology and business model innovation.  And all the while, new and unanticipated disruptors are entering incumbent markets.”

He said that while 80 per cent of Australian business leaders see innovation as a priority, by contrast, less than half consider their business truly innovative.

Among many activities – entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs and large scale business leaders will collaborate in teams to solve real industry challenges. The teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges made up of some of the worlds most disruptive thinkers and business leaders.

Ms Stace said “nothing like this has ever been done before in Australia. SWITCH is designed to bring together a group of amazing people and provide a safe environment for rapid inter-industry experimentation and collaboration, with the sole purpose of achieving innovative and commercial outcomes in a compressed timeframe.”

Underpinning the event is the notion that no business, large or small has all the answers. Switch Fest is about cross-collaborating – big business with small business, established with start up, students with the experienced.

Key players at the upcoming SWITCH festival include ANZ, Blackmore’s, Scentre Group, IAG, Salesforce as well as the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University.

Start ups and entrepreneurs will be able to attend the event next week for a little as $250 and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.