Life as a GradSchool student

The Most Innovative in the Business - The top 5 Australian companies to work for and why

Do you work for an organisation that is stuck in the past or do you dream of one day running an innovative business of your own?

GradSchool lists five of the best and most innovative Australian companies that invest in their staff by offering unbelievable benefits and perks. Read on for some ideas that could be worth bringing up with the boss at the next staff meeting…

1. Unlimited Paid Annual Leave –Inventium  

Inspired by big global businesses such as Virgin Atlantic and Netflix, Amantha Imber Founder of Melbourne-based innovation consultancy Inventium offers all staff an unlimited amount of paid annual leave.

Called ‘rebalanced leave’ Inventium employees get the standard four weeks then can top up with additional paid leave when they feel the need to ‘rebalance’. Talking to Mamamia, Amantha says, “It all comes down to trust. I trust my team to do what is right for themselves and their teams, both within and outside the company.”

2. Flexible Hours – ANZ

In our digital age of smart phones, file sharing via the cloud or Google docs, there is often no need for staff to be in a shared building for precisely eight hours per day.

In 2016 ANZ understands that it is less about how many hours you do and more about how smart you work. Their Chief Human Resources Officer Susie Babani says, “We need to be thinking about what we pay people to do, which is deliver results. Does it matter if that’s at home or at Starbucks? At 8pm or 6am? Probably not.” It should be something all companies view as “the new normal” Susie says.

3. Unique Office Environment – Airbnb

There are absolutely no uninspiring grey cubicles or drab boardrooms at the Airbnb HQ in Surry Hills. Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh says that with two of the co-founders being designers, it was inevitable that the working environment was always going to be beautiful and comfortable.

“Our new Sydney office captures what we value as a company: creativity, travel, and thoughtful design. At the core of Airbnb is the connection between people and spaces, and we have created a unique layout that inspires our employees to move around and work from where ever they want. A bean bag; secret space behind a hidden door bookshelf; or perhaps a cosy Sweden living room.”

4. Cheap Travel - Qantas

There is cheap travel and then there is super cheap travel and our number one Australian airline Qantas offers staff up to 90% discount on all airfares!

Although it is apparently hard to book staff flights at peak times in the year, just think of the money to be saved on holidays every year.

The best part is that the discounts apply to business class flights so it is not just cheap travel, but luxury travel too.

5. A $2,000 referral bonus – Atlassian

Good companies value their employees. Innovative companies not only value current employees but are also prepared to invest money in finding the perfect future team member.

While some companies might have a referral scheme that offers current employees a few hundred dollars to help them find a new staff member, software development firm Atlassian pays a hefty $2,000 for referring the right applicant for a full-time permanent job. Amazingly you don’t even have to work for them to qualify for the bonus!

Are you feeling inspired by these five innovative Australia based companies? Do you want to find out more about what it takes to become an entrepreneur or innovator in your field of work?
Why not consider studying the brand new Master of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Newcastle in 2017?  Applications close 16 January 2017.
Find out more by calling 1800 882 121.

Source information for this blog piece is thanks to Mamamia, News Ltd, The Huffington Post and Seek.

Innovation Champion: An interview with Dr Anton Kriz, Program Convenor

Business innovation and entrepreneurship are at the forefront of economic growth around the world across every single industry.
Dr Anton Kriz, program convenor and senior lecturer chats to GradSchool about his own impressive resume of global business achievements as well as leading the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to disrupt, challenge and change Australia’s economic future for the better.
GS: Hi Anton, thanks for talking to us today! Can you tell us a little about your professional background and how you came to lead the postgraduate Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program?

AK: I have had a varied working background across a number of different fields including the tourism and manufacturing sector, Australian government departments and in business at CEO and consultant level. I have a PhD on Chinese business perceptions on interpersonal trust and I have worked all over Asia but specifically in China on numerous projects, including assisting HunterNet Co-operative help its members and a 10 year Tourism Australia study on the inbound tourist market from China.

While I have been a lecturer at the university now for 15 years, I have continued to engage nationally and with local industry on strategic innovation projects designed to grow strong businesses and encourage future investment in our region.

My experience with strategic development and innovation management gives me the perfect skill set to guide students on this new and exciting masters program for 2017.

GS: Can you tell us a little about the Master of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program at the University of Newcastle and what students can expect to learn during the course?

AK: Many people consider themselves ‘entrepreneurs’ when they have a great idea but they may not have thought deeply about the execution of that idea and what happens next. This course will equip students with theoretical knowledge and real-world scenarios that they can apply to their own start-up or existing business.

The course will also help them to think creatively and yet be smart and strategic about developing and championing creative projects and ideas over time.

GS: Can you describe what you mean by disruptive innovation?

AK: Disruptive innovation is a very overused term we hear and see a lot in 2016! A disruptive innovator is usually a business that has a low-cost base that might break into a market without incumbent organisations seeing it coming. By the time they creep up it is too late.

For example, the new ‘sharing economy’ is huge and global businesses like Airbnb are turning over enormous profits in the accommodation industry yet Airbnb owns no property. Traditional hotel groups are having trouble understanding how to compete in this changed environment. This is a different style of disruption and is redefining entire industries.

GS: Is there a typical student for this course?

AK: I think this course will suit professionals already working as part of a research and development team or who are responsible for championing innovation through the enterprise as well as those who are working in the early stages of their own start up. We will definitely be extending concepts like innovation well beyond just products to processes and business models.

On the undergraduate innovation management and entrepreneurship program that began in 2016, we have a lot of passionate and highly engaged students who can’t wait to apply what they are learning to the real world. I don’t think there is a typical student but entrepreneurs are often naturally creative people who need help to manage and improve their ideas and how to execute them practically.

GS: How can businesses remain innovative in today’s fiercely competitive world?

AK: To remain innovative businesses should constantly be examining the technology they use, the way they train their staff, their human resources policies, their logistics department and marketing strategies as well as what they actually produce or the service they create for their customers.

I believe that innovative companies understand their own industry back to front, can predict what will work for their target market and are always spending time and money on research and development. They simply never stop learning about who they are and what customers want.

GS: What makes for a successful entrepreneur/innovator do you think?

AK: Having a creative thought process is certainly important as is a curious nature with an ability to plan and think strategically.

Think of someone like Steve Jobs of Apple who was clearly a creative thinker but he also worked incredibly hard to explore and exploit aspects of his company and the products they were producing. I also think that much like a successful company, a good innovator and entrepreneur needs to keep on learning and adapting.

GS: Who do you see as some of the best entrepreneurs in Australia and around the world today?

AK: Elon Musk the entrepreneur behind Tesla Motors, PayPal and Solar City is a very inspiring and wealthy inventor who wants to change the world. His goals are all about reducing energy consumption and global warming through manufacturing electric motors, solar power plants and producing cutting edge battery powered products.

We have some amazing entrepreneurs as well as innovative organisations here in Australia and plenty in the Hunter! Professor Ian Frazer is the Scottish-born Australian creator of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer prevention that is now available around the world.

Hunter based business Hedweld has proved to be successful at diversifying from pure manufacturing and mining into areas like agribusiness. From working with them I know how hard they have strived to manage their systems while enhancing their technology and championing innovation.

GS: How can the university work with local industry to be an innovative organisation?

AK: I think it is really important that a university works with local industry so that it can match talented graduates to existing capabilities. In Newcastle that includes the engineering, manufacturing and medical industries as well as an emerging creative scene.

For Newcastle to remain vibrant it needs to offer a strong mix of top-level jobs and the university must keep building on this by encouraging research, innovation and investment locally. I think the new campus opening in the city in 2018 will be hugely important for strengthening and diversifying industry and university collaboration.

GS: Entrepreneurs and innovators are going to be a huge and important part of Australia’s future economic growth. How can graduates of this program remain competitive and ensure they ‘future proof’ themselves?

AK: It is always important that students keep on learning, even after they complete a university course like this one, they need to make learning a lifelong commitment. Being engaged and connected within their own industry is important as well as practicing their skills as much as possible and seeking out appropriate mentors to help guide their career development.

Thank you Anton!

To find out more about the postgraduate qualification available in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship visit the GradSchool website or call 1800 882 121

The ‘Uberisation’ of work is driving people to co-operatives

We wanted to share this article from The Conversation as it highlights the growing importance of co-operatives in today's economy and explains why the Master of Co-operatives Management and Organisation program is more relevant than ever. 

This article was published on The Conversation where you can view original article

Street protests against popular “sharing” economy firms Uber and Airbnb have become commonplace around the world. Both these sector giants are succeeding in circumventing market regulations in many markets in areas including tax and labour law, creating concerns not just among workers but the broader public.

Direct action against these companies has not been the only response. Co-operatives and new platforms that offer workers equity or customers a “purpose” are growing in number.

One example is Canadian firm Stocksy, which brings together more than 900 photographers and redistributes 90% of profits to the artists. Loconomics adopts a similar approach. It is a co-operative owned by service professionals from massage therapists to dog walkers that operates with a strict principle of one member one vote.

These innovative co-operative startups are up against corporations with deep pockets. But they can build on the much broader worker co-operative movement, which emerged in the mid to late 19th century as a response to increasing pressure from changing market structures. At that time, bigger companies undercut quality and used unfair labour practices, particularly low pay. They also restricted attempts by workers to organise better conditions – a situation that has obvious parallels in the platform-enabled economy.

Co-operatives and mutuals can also be customer and community owned. These organisations echo the increasing interest in social entrepreneurship and corresponding business models that enable the pursuit of both social and financial returns.

For instance, Fairmondo aims to change e-commerce by creating a global online marketplace based on a federation of national co-operatives. Scaling such models in order to compete globally is of course a challenge.

Co-operatives are also emerging as popular organisational structures for social entrepreneurs. For example, Hepburn Wind Farm is a locally owned co-operative in Daylesford, Victoria, that owns and operates two wind turbines. These provide enough clean energy for more than 2,000 homes in the community.

There are about 2,000 mutual businesses and co-operatives in Australia. The top 100 of these businesses represented a turnover of A$28 billion in 2013/14, growing at a yearly rate of 14%. This demonstrates the sustainability of such models.

There are also calls for co-operatives in Australia to be allowed to more ready access to funding opportunities beyond membership, including crowdsourced equity platforms, as is occurring in other countries.

This resurgence in interest in co-operatives reflects broader developments and trends in the “social economy”. One growing trend impacting retail spending and the philanthropic sector is people turning from simply donating to a charitable cause to actively being members of purpose organisations and engaged in “purpose spending”. Examples include thankyou, new Sydney café Gratia and TOMS with their buy-one-give-one model.

Purpose spending goes further than ethical consumerism and “doing no harm”, by enabling consumers to buy from organisations with a social purpose as their main function.

Our current research with Chuffed, one of Australia’s largest civic crowdfunding platforms, points to this emerging trend in purpose spending.

Chuffed users have raised A$10 million in 3,000 campaigns across 20 countries over the past three years. One in five of these fundraisers have been “value-exchange campaigns”, where donors receive a reward/good/service in return.

It might well be that membership, crowdfunding and impact investing are not enough to provide the resources necessary to compete with giant global platforms. But in a world where the race to global market share and brand domination is key to success, mixed models hold some promise.

For instance, Juno, a recently created startup in the ride-sharing business, received its initial funding from classic investors – not workers or customers. However, its model promises fairer treatment of drivers by adopting an equity structure that will facilitate drivers’ owning 50% of the business in coming years. The result is a hybrid between the usual startup model and the member-owned model.

Though still in its infancy, Juno has signed up more then 8,500 drivers since its launch seven months ago.

Co-operatives are an organisational and financial model at the interface of major technological, business and societal trends: the sharing economy, social entrepreneurship, impact investing and social purpose spending.

Although not always living up to their ideals, co-operatives and other versions of employee ownership can offer alternatives to the “Uberisation” of work.

 - Sarah Kaine, University of Technology Sydney; Danielle Logue, University of Technology Sydney, and Emmanuel Josserand, University of Technology Sydney

Sarah Kaine, Associate Professor in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, University of Technology Sydney; Danielle Logue, Senior Lecturer in Strategy, Innovation & Organisation, University of Technology Sydney, and Emmanuel Josserand, Professor of management, University of Technology Sydney

An Alternative Pathway to Postgraduate Study

Have you pondered the idea of pursuing a university degree but stopped short because you did not meet the direct entry requirements for an undergraduate degree? We wanted to let you know that skipping undergrad and moving straight into postgraduate study is an option for you if you have the relevant professional work experience.

For example, our Graduate Certificate in Business Administration is available to applicants who can demonstrate between 1-5 years relevant work experience, coupled with previous non-university studies. See the table below for a summary:

Educational Qualification Number of years relevant industry experience
No previous educational qualifications Five
3 Year Diploma (in a related field of study) Zero
3 Year Diploma (in a non-related field of study) One
2 Year Diploma (in a related field of study) Two
2 Year Diploma (in a non-related field of study) Three
Bachelor Degree Zero

Postgraduate study is a great way to prepare yourself to move into a management or leadership role. The Graduate Certificate in Business Administration will improve your foundation skills in managerial decision making, understand effective organisational structures, study human behaviour and learn to expertly manage people. It creates a whole new dynamic and confidence, which will help you excel in the workplace as a professional, rather than a graduate or intern.

The best part? You can gain a postgraduate qualification in just 4 courses. The Graduate Certificate in Business Administration can be studied part-time or full-time and online or face-to-face, so you can study in a way that is convenient for your lifestyle and work schedule. It's also a pathway into several of our business masters programs

iSelect CEO Scott Wilson, did it! In a recent 'Meet the Boss' feature in the Sydney Morning Herald he told his story of how he moved up the career ladder from pushing trolleys at Woolworths to becoming CEO of a large corporation. He started with the Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and continued on to complete his Master of Business Administration. You can read his inspiring story here

If you think a graduate certificate might be the right next step for your career, contact us and someone from our postgraduate support team would be happy to discuss your options with you.

High Demand for Specialist Teachers

Despite the broadly publicised oversupply of teachers, recently published research from Dr Paul Weldon and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) highlights a significant undersupply of teachers in key areas at the national level, including language, geography, computing and history, and secondary maths, physics and chemistry.

One problematic result of the undersupply is a growing tendency for teachers to work outside of their areas of expertise, or in areas they are not formally qualified to teach into, usually described as working “out-of-field”.

The most recent data available is supplied by the ACER Staff in Australian School’s Survey (2013), which indicates that for secondary schools the frequency of out-of-field teaching is as high as 40% of classes in Geography, over 30% in Computing/IT and 20% for maths.

In primary schools the numbers are also high, with over 40% of teachers are working outside their area of expertise in Computing/IT, over 17% in Numeracy and 13% in Literacy.

At the state level, the NSW Department of Education highlights areas of high demand for teachers that include secondary maths, physics and special education for Kindergarten to Year 12.

As a resolution to this issue, the department is encouraging teachers and prospective teachers to enhance their “employment and career development prospects as a teacher in NSW public schools” by specialising in these high demand areas. The department is also offering a range of scholarships to encourage teachers to adopt high-demand specialisations.

To be considered, qualified teachers must study a subject area for at least one semester at a second-year tertiary level, or have trained at a tertiary level in teaching methodology in the subject concerned.

Specialisations that form part of a postgraduate coursework masters program are the main way teachers can retrain as a specialist at both primary and secondary levels, permitting a move not just into these areas of high demand, but also into the areas of management and leadership.

Head or lead teachers, curriculum developers and education administrators form a vital part of addressing these challenges that lie ahead in directing education to overcome challenges such as teacher undersupply, and the impacts it may be having on primary areas of teaching and learning, such as literacy, numeracy and digital literacies.

GradSchool at the University of Newcastle offers a range of postgraduate coursework programs with specialisations in these high-demand, forward-looking areas of primary and secondary education, including the Master of Special Education, the Master of Leadership and Management in Education, and the Master of Educational Studies where students can specialise or retrain in six key areas including maths and ICT.

If you are a teacher looking to enhance your career by becoming a specialist and a leader in the field, click here to learn more – discover what you will study and the career opportunities it can provide.

A once in a lifetime Indonesian adventure

Second-year architecture student Alexandra Dangaard joined a select group of 7 UON undergrad and masters students who travelled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia recently with UON Associate Professor Michael Chapman to learn a centuries-old craft – how to build with bamboo. Taught by bamboo masters, they worked with locals and other architecture students from Indonesia, Germany and Australia all under the guidance of six Indonesian and seven Australian architects. This was a true cross-cultural collaboration and a practical, hands-on architecture experience like no other.

What was the purpose of the AusIndoArch project?

We had two days to design a range of small bamboo structures and installations and present them to our client, to be used in an annual arts and culture festival. Each group was assigned a project to design and build. The projects varied from entry and exit gates to seating and bamboo housing proposals.

You partnered with Indonesian students and locals. What did you learn about the Indonesian way of life?

I was already reasonably familiar with Indonesian culture and language, having studied there briefly and previously majoring in Indonesian studies and language. My experience on this trip highlighted the differences between their way of life and western culture and values and how everyone can learn from each other. When we all arrived for the opening night, so many locals from nearby came and shared dinner with us. Not too many could speak English, or even Indonesian, but would rather converse in Javanese. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world - Eid Al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) was just the week before that, so the locals were extra joyous and kind to us during our time there.

Why is it important for architecture students to learn how to work with bamboo?

Bamboo is quite economic and sustainable – however, it is rarely able to be utilised  in Indonesia and other countries in South East Asia in such diverse ways - from weaving and making musical instruments; to plumbing, scaffolding, and building entire structures with it. The more interest there is in bamboo as a construction material, the more innovatively we can implement it in design and construction.

What was the most interesting experience you had as part of the trip?

A bizarre experience for me and I’m sure for the other Australian students too… one day our site became completely filled with people coming to be part of a local singing competition. The birds were judged on how loud, how melodic, or how long they could sing for. Other stand-out experiences included our nightly ‘open air’ lectures given by the master architects right next to a river – it’s so different from being in a lecture theatre that typically doesn’t have windows. Locals would sometimes sit by a fire on the other side of the river listening on. The concluding night was a party by the river – loud music, lots of people and lots of dancing, which was quite a contrast to the typical calmness of the area.

You and the students worked with bamboo masters, what does this mean?

All of the master architects that attended this trip are passionate about sustainable design. Quite a few had extensive experience with designing with bamboo in different ways, others with experience in designing in tropical climates or remote communities. I also consider the local labourers who helped construct our projects with us as bamboo masters – they had extensive experience constructing with bamboo. Their skills and knowledge were admirable and fundamental for our practical learning, especially since bamboo was a completely new material for the Australian students. I don’t think our projects would have gotten very far without them!

Is getting ‘hands-on’ vital to the architecture process?

I think it’s an absolutely integral part of studying architecture. There are so many things that you can’t simply learn in a classroom or from a textbook. Having had barely any experience building anything in my life, this practical hands-on experience was invaluable to me.

Did the trip change your perspective on architecture?

It reminded me how challenging comparatively simple design and construction can be compared to what western architecture students might be used to. It also very much demonstrated that simplicity in both technique and space can have just as much of a profound effect as the complex and modern.

What would you say to students thinking about studying architecture at UON?

We are lucky to have a design studio that is completely our own and that encourages collaboration and sharing between year groups – no other student cohorts have something like this. The teachers enable students to learn how to incorporate other interests and disciplines into their designs, encourage individuality and provide them with the tools to achieve a diverse range of career goals within architecture.

Connect with Archilife at UON.

Note: this project was a collaboration which involved students from University of Newcastle, Charles Darwin University, the University of Melbourne, Universitas 


Planning for the Future of Newcastle

The University of Newcastle’s (UON) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, and CIFAL Newcastle Director, Associate Professor Graham Brewer, attended the United Nations (UN) Habitat III Conference held in Ecuador at the end of October to discuss the role universities will play in shaping sustainable development in cities around the world. Both spoke at the conference of CIFAL leaders, focusing on Newcastle as a Univer-City and the importance of integrating urban planning with disaster risk reduction.
“By 2050 it is expected 70% of the world’s population will reside in cities, which means we need to develop innovative strategies and systems to ensure adequate housing, urban resilience, disaster risk reduction and sustainable settlements,” Associate Professor Graham Brewer said.
With that said, here is a recent opinion piece that Associate Professor Graham Brewer published in the Newcastle Herald entitled Now’s the time to build a city with a conscience.

There has been so much change in Newcastle. The city is moving forward, but what does our future city look like? Are we building a city with a conscience and a city that considers all the people who live in it?

By 2050, the world urban population is expected to nearly double, posing massive challenges for sustainable urban development. With 70 per cent of the world’s population in cities, we need to rethink how we plan for the future.

Even though Australia is only second to Antarctica in the sparseness of our population, almost 90 per cent of us live in urban areas, making us one of the most highly urbanised countries on earth. This trend towards city living will only intensify. 

On average, our houses are the largest on the planet but fewer of us can afford to buy them. Cities are complex interdependent networks of economic, social and environmental systems, all of which have to work together to achieve common good, which should be the goal of human dignity in life, but this is often lost in the modern landscape.

Every 20 years the United Nations convenes a highly influential global Habitat conference for those with an interest in human settlements – and particularly cities – and they try to answer how the world's urban centres should develop in the next two decades in order to deliver the maximum benefit to humanity.

The development of cities, while crucial to the future of humanity, is part of a larger piece, namely creating the world we want for our children and beyond. Last year, the global community unanimously committed to the 2030 Development Agenda recognising the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) as the blueprint for the future.

But, you may ask, so what? Isn't this simply a grand talkfest? UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, warned that “Globally, there is an interest in housing – but not as a human right, or an issue requiring urgent attention to assist the most vulnerable groups in cities around the world.”  In Australia three million people live in poverty and homelessness is not the rarity we would like to believe. Our cities are both the problem and, potentially, the solution. 

Ms Farha acknowledged the “steep hill ahead” noting that Habitat III was “only a first step” and “it's not conferences that make change, it is people.”

Cities, rural communities, local governments and private enterprise, along with all elements of civil society must come to share an understanding of what is necessary in order to balance enterprise with equity, individual desire with dignity for all, and an expedient present with a sustainable future.

We are the people who can shape this future, and in 2015 Newcastle was named a ‘United Nations City’ and became a UN training hub for the Asia-Pacific region for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction hosted by the University. CIFAL Newcastle has committed to a strategic plan for 2017 that will focus on awareness-raising and assistance in adopting and implementing the UN-SDGs in the Hunter. There is not a moment to lose to create the city we want, and hope to also create a city with a strong conscience.

You can read the original article here

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