SYDNEY, August 24, 2015: Corporate giants including ANZ, Scentre Group, Blackmores and IAG have been announced as key participants at this week’s SWITCH Festival, a three-day innovation tournament to be held in Sydney this week, from August 27th to 29th.
Bringing together forward-thinking corporate decision makers with entrepreneurs, start-ups, government and university students, SWITCH is an inter-industry tournament that aims to address the urgent need for innovation within Australian companies, as they work to defend against the disruption occurring in every sector. Best of all, proceeds from the event go to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
The intensive three day SWITCH Festival begins with Transformation Day on August 27th, where participants will learn about the core principles of collaboration, industry disruption, rapid experimentation, and how to value and monetise IP; before forming multi-disciplinary teams that will compete to “solve” real industry challenges on days two and three – the Inter-Industry Tournament. The challenges will be set by ANZ, Blackmores, Scentre Group, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and respected design thinkers, Matt and Gail Taylor - founders of MG Taylor and Tomorrow Makers.
At the end of the final day, teams will present their commercial solutions to a panel of judges, representative across industry sectors within the UK, USA and Australia, to select the winning solution.
“The digital disruption currently facing large companies is estimated to be bigger than the Industrial Revolution,” said Mark Zawacki, Silicon Valley disruption consultant and co-founder of SWITCH Festival. “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.
“We all sit around thinking about what the bank of the future is going to be like, while that’s hard to predict, what we do know is it will be incredibly different,” said Matt Boss, ANZ Managing Director, Products and Marketing, Australia. “This festival is a great chance for us to bring together different types of thinking from different industries and come up with some new ideas. This is also all for a fantastic cause, the kind of disruptive thinking we want to encourage about banking is even more important in the fight to cure brain cancer,” he said.
SWITCH co-founder and Cure Brain Cancer CEO, Catherine Stace, says that Australian industries are facing complex problems that require whole systems solutions. “SWITCH Festival aims to encourage collaboration with new partners to stimulate growth, create new business models and grow market share through diversification. We’re shifting focus away from idea generation alone and instead encouraging corporations to scale-up, using their existing assets and IP across industry sectors,” she said.
Nicole Stevens, Blackmores’ Head of Business Development (Australia/New Zealand), says that her team is looking forward to participating in SWITCH at a time when innovation has never been more important.
“Blackmores proudly supports Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and our team is excited to learn new skills, collaborate with other industries and disruptors alike and build commercial outcomes around some of our unique industry and business challenges,” she said.
Challenges for the Inter-Industry Tournament will not be revealed until day one of SWITCH, but will pose real-world scenarios from sectors including finance, retail, real estate, health and wellness, non-for-profit and medical research. There will also be a Blue Sky challenge utilising design thinking principles to explore bold ideas for the future.
SWITCH Festival will be held at the University of New South Wales Michael Crouch Innovation Centre and Roundhouse on August 27th – 29th, 2015. There are different ticket packages available for corporates, start-ups and entrepreneurs, and students. For more information or to register, visit www.switchfest.org.
For more information or interviews, or media passes to SWITCH, please contact:
Dani Lombard at Dani Lombard Public Relations
Ph: (02) 8094 9722 or
About Mark Zawacki
Mark Zawacki is a business strategist, board advisor, keynote speaker and angel investor. He is the Founder of two Silicon Valley-based, strategy consulting firms: 650 Labs and Milestone Group, and the co-founder of SWITCH Festival.
Mark has advised more than 300 clients across 50 countries globally, including Toyota, Telstra, Rabobank, MasterCard, Shell, Microsoft, McDonalds, Cisco and Intel, on a myriad of growth and revenue-related initiatives including innovation, business strategy, disruption, business and corporate development and organisational transformation.
In an era where industries globally are experiencing unprecedented change and upheaval thanks to digitisation and technology, Mark works with multinationals seeking to dramatically increase their capabilities to innovate and bring new high-value products and services to market. With new disruptive entrants arriving in established markets every day, Mark teaches companies how to “problem solve the Silicon Valley way”, in order to truly accelerate innovation and growth.
Mark is a frequent speaker, panelist and moderator at industry conferences globally and is currently conducting extensive research for a book project about how Silicon Valley is shifting from ‘high tech capital of the world’ to ‘industry disruption capital of the world’. Mark is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategy at the CEDIM School of Design in Mexico and an occasional guest lecturer at leading business schools globally.
About Cure Brain Cancer Foundation
Brain Cancer survival rates have barely changed in the past 30 years, despite significant increases in rates for Australians with other types of cancer. Brain cancer also costs more per person than any other cancer, yet receives only a small fraction of government research funding.
To address this, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation was founded by renowned Australian neurosurgeon, Professor Charlie Teo in 2001. With a mission to increase five-year survival for brain cancer patients to 50 percent by 2023, the Foundation works to fund brain cancer research that offers patients accelerated access to promising new treatments, while raising awareness of brain cancer. In recent years, the foundation has progressed rapidly from funding one research lab in 2012, to 23 research projects in 2015 and has established a collaborative, international and multi-disciplined brain cancer research community. In 2013, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation announced funding for the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative across Australia and co-established the Global Brain Exchange internationally with partners from the US, Europe and China.
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