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  • 12 Oct 2017 14:34 | Deleted user

    We have identified that Victoria needs a voice that represents all players in emerging technologies – regardless of their business size or structure, or the industry they operate in.

    There’s a number of shared challenges that those in emerging tech that repeatedly come up in our panel discussions at The Churchill Club including:

    • Commercialisation 
    • Managing data security and privacy
    • Funding support and investment for development and implementation
    • User skepticism and unfamiliarity
    • Accessing, developing and retaining talent  

    Our role moving forward will be to assist those in emerging technologies – whether they be researching or developing, implementing into business, funding or regulating them.

    We recognise we need to be an impartial and transparent organisation, that’s not driven by commercial imperative, to assist in advancing emerging technologies and accelerating industries here in Victoria. Incorporating as a not-for-profit will assist us in realising this purpose.

    We will be hosting a pre-incorporation meeting on Thursday 26 October 2017 for Churchill Club members to agree to this proposed transition.


    We encourage you to become a financial member of the Churchill Club to support us in making this possible. 

    By becoming a member you will have a say in the running of the organisation, including the ability to vote at our upcoming Pre-Incorporation Meeting, along with a host of other member benefits.

    Above all you will be advocating for the advancement of emerging technologies that provide the most optimal solutions for us all.

  • 4 Oct 2017 14:35 | Deleted user

    Personalisation emerged as the key theme of October’s panel discussion, Applying Data to Improve the Customer Experience. It has toppled segmentation as the go-to marketing model for defining audiences, and is derived from the increasing amount of consumer data available to businesses.

    Personalisation is also challenging business - and agency - self-perceptions of customer centricity, exposing pitfalls in established processes and supplier relationships that constrain a truly customer-first approach.


    • The differences between segmentation and personalisation, and the influence of data in this transition

    • What it truly means to be customer-centric and how to obtain meaningful insights • Established structures and beliefs that may be holding businesses and agencies back

    • The role of technology

    • The ethics of personalisation - the use and application of individual data

    • The future of the workforce - what skills will be relevant? What should we be upskilling in now?


    Edward Crouch, General Manager - Lavender
    Nigel Dalton, Chief Inventor - REA Group
    Mark Chatterton, Cofounder - inGenious AI


    1. Talk to people. You don’t need to use high tech methods to capture customer data – just a room and video camera or audio recorder.

    2. When collecting customer data, do so with both purpose and empathy.

    3. Break the culture of justifying change because someone says “I think”. Empirical evidence should drive all decisions.

    4. Acquisition is no longer the focus. Customer engagement and retention is far more important.

    5. Chatbots can streamline your customer service function, freeing up your customer service team members to focus on the more difficult questions.

    6. Surprisingly, in some scenarios like health, customers will feel more comfortable confiding in a bot that won’t judge them, rather than a fellow human.

    7. Always be honest and transparent with customers if you’re using a chatbot. Never pretend it’s a human.

    8. In the Future of Work we’re going to need more Analysts to correctly identify and define problems; Data scientists and; Communicators to get buy in on new solutions from stakeholders.

    9. Don’t be creepy. Just because you have the data, doesn’t mean you need to use it.

    10. And remember… Customer research is a lot cheaper than software development!


  • 7 Sep 2017 14:39 | Deleted user

    It’s a subject that has sparked thousands of sci-fi novels and movies. It has divided academics like Noam Chomsky and Paul Saffo, and brought Tech Superstars Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg to (Twitter) blows. The Churchill Club’s panel, ‘Implementing an AI solution - what you need to know’ was a much needed reality check on the practicalities, applications, benefits, and limitations of AI solutions at present and in the near future.

    The spectrum of AI subsets and applications is influencing processes and interactions across industries - from banking to healthcare. As the technology evolves, businesses are scrambling to catch up in skills, understanding and approach.


    • What is AI? And why can that be a tricky question to answer?

    • Where can we see AI being used now and what results is it yielding?

    • Where is AI headed in the future?

    • Should you build your own AI solutions or buy ‘out of the box’?

    • Is Australia ready and skilled-up for the AI revolution?


    Jonathan Chang - Managing Director, Silverpond
    Karin Verspoor - Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne
    Soon-Ee Cheah - Data Scientist, Zendesk
    Mark Moloney - General Manager, Big Data Analytics, Telstra


    1. An ‘altruistic algorithm’ is the ultimate objective, where planning and purpose meet to understand and achieve goals.

    2. Deep Learning is inspired by the brain, but at a superficial level and while algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated it is debatable as to whether they truly understand, or simply mimic.

    3. While solutions such as Watson have made AI more accessible, a data specialist can apply specificity to ensure the solution is tailored to your market.

    4. Not all data is created equal and boxed solutions are created with a specific customer and industry in mind. A data scientist can direct the use and labelling of data, and appropriate tools based on the business’ need.

    5. Without the added value of a business’ own data and domain knowledge, you can undermine the solution and miss the opportunity to leverage your unique insights.

    6. Bias has been a well-publicised flaw of AI and demonstrate the influence humans have over AI, as the unconscious bias of data scientists present themselves in the solutions they develop

    7. Manage expectations - it will take longer than you imagine, particularly for data collection and labelling

    8. Ensure you have a good team - tech is one piece of the puzzle, but you need a good team to execute it

    9. AI does not occur in a vacuum - investors and key business stakeholders need to understand and trust the process

    10. Packaging and testing are crucial to confirm that the solution operates effectively within the context it was intended for.

    Thanks to our venue partner, Zendesk for hosting the evening.

  • 24 Jul 2017 14:40 | Deleted user

    When Gattaca was released in 1997, it was fantastical sci-fi fiction or - at best - a future that seemed beyond our lifetime. Twenty years later genome sequencing might not allow us to design individuals, but it does give us unprecedented understanding of our genetic profile. It goes a step beyond genetic testing to understand the whole cells - their structure, sequence and impact - that determine so much of who we are and, increasingly, how we live our lives.

    This technology is becoming more available at more accessible price points, raising questions around the management of this data - how it impacts individuals and society, the value of the insights it provides, and at what cost.

    We explored:

    • What genome sequencing is, and how it differs from genetic tests

    • How genome sequencing is already being used in research and health care, and how this is translating in clinical practice

    • The information that can be understood from profiles and how it can be used to alter the health and lifestyles of individuals

    • The implications of this technology for the privacy of individuals, including the burden of disclosure

    • How this technology impacts the future of health and life insurance



    1. Genomics studies your complete DNA – or the big picture, as opposed to genetics which studies individual genes

    2. Genomics research is challenging the one-size-fits-all approach to medical conditions and being translated into personalised health plans that guide diet and lifestyle so you might prevent diseases or conditions from manifesting

    3. Genome sequencing and profiling seeks to identify the driver that may lead to future conditions or diseases

    4. Profiling or sequencing should be undertaken in conjunction with the guidance of health practitioners

    5. Be aware of the burden of disclosure. Life insurers can currently require you to disclose data from any genetic profile or test you’ve undertaken.

    6. In future we may see health insurers playing a role in providing testing in order to offer preventative treatments to members that reduce their risk profile

    7. If considering undergoing sequencing or profiling, consult your GP or Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.

    8. Beware online overseas profile providers of direct-to-consumer testing which may not provide context or counselling along with the data

    9. Who you are and how you determine yourself is much more than the sum of your genes

    10. Your genes aren’t your destiny. These tests provide knowledge, and knowledge is both power and a reason for optimism

    The full report is available for download by members or by contacting us directly.

  • 30 May 2017 14:40 | Deleted user

    We’re a land abundant in food. In fact, we produce enough food today to feed around 60 million people. But that state of abundance can quickly diminish due to the very real threats of climate change and environmental factors, resource constraints and supply chain interruptions or contamination and disease.

    Global food demand is forecast to increase 60% by 2060 and as the seventh largest global exporter of food we play a critical role in contributing to global food security. Massive innovation within the sector is required to deliver on this demand, a huge component of which will come from AgTech.

    In this event we explored:

    • Food security challenges we face in Australia
    • The impact AgTech developments are having on these challenges – including improving yields, sustainable practices and nutritional value
    • How we can scale solutions to have a global impact
    • Barriers AgTech businesses are experiencing within the sector – including funding, collaboration with research institutions and access to farmers for testing and trials


    Andrew Gregor - AWB Strategy & Business Development Manager, Cargill Australia
    J. Matthew Pryor - CTO, Observant 
    Sarah Last - CTO and Cofounder, MimicTec
    Dr Markandeya Jois - Senior Lecturer at Latrobe University


    1. The key threats we face to our food security in Australia are lack of water, climate, provenance of food and the nutritional value of processed food.
    2. We need to engage primary producers as a part of the problem and encourage them to provide input, data and to engage in trials and research. The peak bodies representing farmers need to facilitate introductions to their member farmers for AgTech solution providers.
    3. A multi-disciplinary approach to food security is required. We need people from diverse backgrounds and fields thinking about food and agriculture. We need smart young people who are passionate about solving these problems.
    4. Recognition and promotions for researchers is currently based on publication of their papers, regardless of how well read these papers may be. Universities place too much focus on accountability and ROI. All this amounts to an incentive to avoid in engaging risk-taking research.
    5. AgTech solution providers often have a huge geographical challenge to overcome with most farms being at least a 2hour drive from where the technology is being developed and seasonal constraints mean there’s often only one test cycle available per year.
    6. We need new models to better match people who are good at solving problems, including that knowledge that sits inside our research institutions, with people who are good at building businesses.
    7. Traceability and provenance of food need to be demanded by consumers. As the cost of technology aiding this decreases, consumers need to voice their concerns as it’s not in the interest of major food retailers to do so.
    8. We need to encourage young people to pursue agriculture - “by going into agriculture, I will be solving our number 1 problem – how we feed the world”.
    9. We need the same level of industry and government support that the FinTech community has experienced. We need to get it on the government agenda, particularly in Victoria where Food & Fibre is our biggest export.
    10. Tell everyone you know that technology in agriculture is the most noble place you could put your money. Especially tell your super fund manager! What are you investing in that’s going to improve the sustainability of our food production systems in Australia? 

    The full report is available for download by members or by contacting us directly.

  • 28 May 2017 14:41 | Deleted user

    Last Wednesday evening I was fortunate enough to attend the 19th Annual Churchill Club (USA) Top Tech Trends event at the Hyatt Regency in sunny Santa Clara. With an impressive turnout of over 500 guests the panel certainly didn't disappoint as they debated their predictions of tech developments that will be realised in the next 5 years.




    1. Redefining Education from the How to the What
      The ability to consume educational content via different channels will both stretch both how children learn and how our children will learn. Through the mental teleportation via VR, classroom experience will shift towards democratising access to virtual travel, global historical sites and novel experiences. Traditional classrooms to will focus on community and team oriented projects. Traditional intellectual endeavors (IQ) will happen virtually and online, while the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) will be the primary focus of development through physical interaction.
      [Mike Abbott, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers]

    2. The Revival of Voice
      The multitouch screen UI finally cracked the code for smartphones. Major breakthroughs in voice will vastly broaden the compute fabric of the world.
      [Steve Jurvetson, DFJ]

    3. Preventing the Plague
      Last year, 2 million people in the US were infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In the next 5 years, we will see a rise in microbiome engineering to create therapies to fight antibiotic resistance and save lives.
      [Rebecca Lynn, Canvas Ventures]

    4. A Startup With IPO Prospects Will Start as an ICO
      Initial Coin Offerings are like the next Kickstarter – an emerging ecosystem that becomes the springboard of a new wave of startups. In the next five years, we’ll see a startup whose initial capital was funded entirely by an ICO heralded as the first ICO to IPO.[Sarah Tavel, Benchmark]

    5. Food Production will be Revolutionised Globally
      With 7 billion people on the planet and the high cost of certain foods like beef, Indoor Farming, new plant based foods are emerging. Scalability not adoption is the key 5-yr test.
      [Hans Tung, GGV Capital]

    6. Rise of DNA Applications (DA) Due to Low Cost Sequence
      The radical decrease of the cost of genomic sequencing will enable superior diagnostic tools that will trigger a dramatic shift to proactive from reactive medical treatments improving patient care and reducing health care costs. Cancer detection will be detected at the initial cancer cell development vs tumour development. Discoveries with our microbiome will revolutionise medicine as we shift from deploying a WMD, to our gut, to gardening our intestinal flora. Rise of the smart toilet! As people live longer due to the discovery of how we can maintain our telomere length, more services and advancements will be focused on enabling robust and thriving lifestyles. From novel social networks to simulated human connections in VR, ageing will be redefined.
      [Mike Abbott, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers]

    7. The Deep Edge: The Embedding of Inference Engines / Neural Nets / Tiny Brains in Everything
      Couple some local intelligence to each sensor and the internet of things becomes the sensory cortex of the planet.
      [Steve Jurvetson, DFJ]

    8. Breaking Up is Hard to Do
      Trump will bring antitrust suits against Amazon, which will lead to a significant weakening of online megastores and a rise of direct-to-consumer companies. And Trump won’t stop at Amazon…
      [Rebecca Lynn, Canvas Ventures]

    9. A Billion-Dollar Outcome will be Built on Understanding Our Microbiome
      We have millions of organisms living in and on our bodies that we’re only now starting to understand. In the next five years, a startup will emerge that will not only help us understand our own unique ecosystems, but also how to optimise it. The company that does will have a billion-dollar+ outcome.
      [Sarah Tavel, Benchmark]

    10. Retail Stores Will Become Showrooms and VR Experiences
      Offline retail will continue its steady decline as more customers move to online and toward brands with mass market appeal. Malls will become community service centers offering everything from day care to tax services.
      [Hans Tung, GGV Capital]


    You can watch the event in it's entirety on YouTube.

  • 24 Mar 2017 14:42 | Deleted user

    There are 4 key stages in any business, no matter what the size, that need to be strategised and executed correctly to reach full potential. These stages are Launch, Grow, Sustain and Scale. Too often businesses confuse Growth vs Scale and consequently pay the price in the short and long run.

    In this session with Mihir Thaker of The Missing Link we explored:

    • What it IS and IS NOT
    • Confusing Growth & Scale
    • Key Dimensions of Growth (Intangible vs Tangible)
    • Key Dimensions of Scaling (Intangible vs Tangible)
    • When & How To Scale?
    • BONUS: Framework for Growth & Scale

    View Growth vs Scaling in Business key slides

  • 7 Mar 2017 14:43 | Deleted user

    On the back of hosting the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress late last year and with transport equipment being Victoria’s second largest manufacturing industry contributing $3.8B to the local economy, we’re at the tipping point for redefining mobility for future generations and Victoria wants in, aiming to make the home of the world’s most liveable city, more liveable.

    We explored:

    • The transport technologies emerging in Victoria
    • What makes Victoria an ideal testing ground?
    • Community & end user benefits – including congestion and safety
    • Challenges faced by the sector – including regulatory and safety


    Susan Harris – CEO, ITS Australia
    Zac McClelland – Cofounder & Project Leader, VicHyper
    Dr Anna Newberry – Driver Assistance Technologies, Ford Australia
    Michael Caltabiano – CEO, ARRB


    1. Infrastructure adaptability and policy adaptability are two biggest challenges for ITS.
    2. We need to push for better data networks and not just within our capital cities in order to roll out a range of ITS technologies for Australia.
    3. Better outcomes can be obtained in the short term without changing infrastructure, simply through improved connectivity and application of data.
    4. The Victorian Government is actively looking to understand how people in inner, middle and outer Melbourne make decisions about accessing our transport system, including the human factors driving those decisions such as access, time, quality and family.
    5. The Federal Government has committed as part of updated National Policy Framework, to put together roadmap of infrastructure for connected vehicle technology within next 12 months.
    6. In Australia $20b is spent in constructing roads every year and the national road network is valued at $250b yet we only invest $63m in research. The investment in research needs to be at least $263m, otherwise next generation technologies will be left sitting at the station.
    7. Insurers want IP on driverless technology and access to demonstration opportunities to resolve the question of liability. Who is driving, what do I insure, who do I insure?
    8. A competitive advantage we have over Europe and USA is reduced complexities in getting multiple jurisdictions to agree on an outcome.
    9. Professor Hugh Bradlow, Telstra’s Chief Scientist says in 2030 he sees a driverless future.
    10. We need to envisage an adapted, connected future, not focus solely on roads. What connectivity does the community want – not what access to the road network do they want. 

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