Andrew Hodgkinson closing remarks - video transcript

Defence Innovation Hub Industry Update

Andrew Hodgkinson: Thanks very much, Jonathan. And thanks very much for all your assistance during the day with keeping things on track. And also I’d like to thank the rest of the team from my team and the staff here who’ve managed to keep the presenters on track, who set the day, up organised the catering, and ensured that this facility and the support is at the best for today. So thanks very much to the team for that.

The first thing I really want to say to this group is to thank you very much to those of you who’ve managed to stay for the whole day. I won’t keep you for too much longer. So today, I’ve done a little bit of talking, and you’ve also heard from a number of others from across defence, from within my team, and from the CDIC as well. And I hope that has been informative and that you’ve learned something about the way the hub and the broader innovation system works.

I’ve also done quite a lot of listening today. So in between sessions, I’ve spoken to industry reps, including industry reps from ACT, Brisbane, Melbourne. I’ve spoken to people from universities. I’ve even spoken to someone from a bank, which I suppose this gives you a sense of the diversity of stakeholders that have attended today. And I’ve also spoken to a number of people from across defence who’ve attended as well, and I’ve also listened to what you’ve had to say during the Q&A sessions. I want to thank you for all your input today.

So what I’ve heard has certainly confirmed that some of the priorities that we’ve identified around improving communication and improving timeliness are important to you. It’s clear that those are issues we need to continue to focus on, and we will do that. I’ve also heard some quite interesting issues and really open questions come up throughout the sessions in relation to the way the innovation system works that are going to continue to need further consideration over time-- things like what is the level of risk appetite of the innovation system and the innovation hub? How much risk should we be prepared to take on?

And the level of tension between ideas around accepting failure, the fast to fail principle, and some of the comments chief of air force made around. It may not be a bad thing if we actually don’t get capabilities through the process. The benefit may be in the experimentation versus the desire to introduce capability into service and being able to point to some clear, specific deliverables for the ADF.

What can we do more to effectively transition capabilities into service to bring them from that phase three or four stage and in the hub terminology actually through into service? Is there more that needs to be done in that area? What else can be done to facilitate linkages between the innovation hub and DSTG’s next-generation tech fund and to ensure that those two mechanisms work together in a more seamless way?

What is the right balance for the hub between open solicitation and targeted solicitation focused on specific capability needs? How does industry gain timely attention of very busy capability managers? And what more can be done to effectively facilitate partnerships across industry players to support improved ability to resolve questions to meet defence requirements? So I don’t have complete answers to these questions. But I can assure you that all these issues and the others that were raised today are things that we are consciously thinking about as we look at the system and how we can drive further continuous improvement through the system in order to get the most value from the hub in the way that it works.

As chief of Air Force said this morning, in many ways, we’re at the beginning of the innovation journey. And I think one thing that everyone who’s been here today has agreed on is that innovation is critical to Australia’s Defence capability needs. As we’ve heard, the International Security environment has become much more challenging. And to succeed, the ADF needs to seek innovative and disruptive solutions to give it a capability edge in what chief of army described as accelerated warfare. I see this as a collective challenge.

And the only way that we can meet this collective challenge is through strengthening partnerships with industry while maturing this partnership between Defence and the innovation system and industry faces many challenges, such as navigating multiple policy objectives, government procurement, and assessment processes. For some small and medium companies, there’s the urgency of actual economic survival to throw into the mix. And there are also differences of perspective.

But we need to make this work. And I hope that you will agree, from what you’ve seen today, the Defence is serious about innovation and serious about making this partnership with you work. Thank you.

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