With today’s world changing so rapidly, creating larger and more complex problems, developing solutions requires people who can work across different fields, anticipating what’s next, then making decisions based on what might be just around the corner. With his background in engineering and deep interest in technology, management consultant Vivek Srinivasan spends his days asking the big question, ‘What is coming next and what can we do about it?’.
What impact can your job have on Australia and on the global scale?
Geopolitical, economic, environmental, social and technological trends are creating enormous opportunities and challenges for industry and society.
The challenges are complex and require many different skills and minds to come together to create solutions. While I can’t claim to solve the challenges of the future, I can help companies and whole industries make decisions around ‘future proofing’ their business.
With the help of 5000 experts in CSIRO, and the broader research community, I help industry and government understand the role that science, innovation and technology may play in the future, which helps them to ultimately make better decisions about the future.
Cyber security wasn’t even on our radar 10 years ago, but it is now, what can you tell us about that?
Think about the things you take for granted, like having electricity to power your home and having access to health services. Imagine if this was all compromised because of a cyberattack that could shut down crucial infrastructure. In seconds, your local energy company could be unable to deliver power to your home and your confidential health records, bank account details and passwords could be compromised.
It’s scary for most of us to think about but it’s great to understand all the various scenarios that could play out, because it helps industry and the government work out what sort of technology, innovation and science is needed to solve the problem.
So, what is there to look forward to in our future?
We’re working with a lot of forward-thinking leaders across industry and government, both here in Australia and overseas, to understand their vision for the future – for their company, industry and entire country. We’re looking at the role that tech, science and innovation will play.
For example, we’re looking at the manufacturing industry and trying to understand what paths it may go down in the future. One scenario could be that the industry moves more and more into 3D printing. In this scenario manufacturing would no longer be printing millions of parts hoping for a sale, but instead printing items only when we need them – meaning a huge reduction of waste and custom products for customers.
Ultimately our work aims to start conversations about what future decisions we need to be talking about today so we can use tech, science and innovation to prepare for growth or mitigate upcoming risks we might face together.