Telstra chief names Israel as epicentre of world innovation

March 4, 2014 by Henry Benjamin
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David Thodey, the CEO of telco giant Telstra told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney that Israel is “the epicentre of world innovation”.

David Thodey

David Thodey               Photo:  Henry Benjamin

Thodey focused a great deal of his address on the digitalisation of business and questioned why Australia was lagging behind Israel in business innovation, asking “why can Israel do it and Australia doesn’t?” He said that “minerals and agriculture are not enough” adding Netanyahu’s statement that “the world belongs to those who innovate.”

Talking about the big picture, David Thodey said the digital age is creating global competitors and that “Israel is the epicentre of world innovation”.

He spent some time quoting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whom he recently heard speak. He said that Netanyahu prefers to have Israel called “the innovation nation” rather than the “start up nation” adding that there are at least ten major digital Israel companies which Telstra “depends upon” on a daily basis .

Thodey said that “we need to take note of the co-operation between research, tertiary education and the private sector partnership and embrace “the culture of knowledge and learning and the celebration of education”.

According to Thodey, Netanyahu was very articulate in talking about “innovation entrepreneurship and the digital future”.

Speaking about Telstra’s advancement technologically, Thodey said that the company services over a million customers each day but the digital content is about 10% although transactions had increased from 26% to 44% in the last couple of years. The Telstra chief added that it costs $15 to produce one bill when not done electronically.

New technology on the horizon would allow Telstra customers to see the location of  a technician booked for a service call.

Asking if Australia could become an innovation nation, Thodey said: “If we don’t we will get left behind. We don’t celebrate science and mathematics.”

Telstra is using its eyesore building on Paddington’s Oxford St in Sydney as an atelier for start-up companies and has given 19 developing firms $40,000 and the benefit of its knowledge and resources to start-up the start-ups.





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