News & Analysis

Data61 outlines plans for 2016, looking to stack the odds in favour of Australian entrepreneurs

- January 20, 2016 2 MIN READ

Data61, Australia’s largest data innovation group, has announced its key plans for 2016, outlining a strong focus on supporting the entrepreneur ecosystem and strengthening product management. To do this, the organisation today announced a new program called D61+, aiming to solve problems for startups and help them to create new technology industries.

Adrian Turner, CEO of Data61, today said the organisation will be focusing on four key areas of data R&D including: pragmatic training, government, startups, and academia. He said collaboration with each sector will create a porous network with a good pipeline of talent that will allow Australia to build new technology based industries that will have a global impact.

“Australia’s track record in creating new technology based industries is lagging behind,” said Turner.

The new program will begin with an event to be held on March 30 called D61+Live, where the organisation will be turned inside out to expose all the working programs and capability that will make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business and engage.

Through this Turner wants Data61 to be thought of differently in terms of its relationship with, and functions in regards to, CSIRO and NICTA. He said Data61 will combine aspects of both NICTA and CSIRO, locking arms to align Australia’s startup ecosystem.

Turner explained that the prime model for NICTA and the CSIRO’s digital productivity was money and talent in the top, which is not what the country needs right now.

Data61 instead will look to utilise pragmatic marketing and training programs that have come straight from Silicon Valley, which Turner views as the best product management training in the world.

“For us to succeed as a country we need to be global in mindset. In that sense we’re creating inside of Data61 a product management function, which hasn’t existed inside NICTA or CSIRO yet,” said Turner.

The product management function will provide a global context to understand the markets to inform entrepreneurs where there is an opportunity to create a new industry, while the organisation’s various collaborations will help create bigger pools of talent.

In support for academia Data61 has signed agreements with 22 universities to provide transparency and increase the levels of engagement with students.

This new level of engagement will provide students with real world problems to solve and in turn make them more employable at the end of their PhD program. In terms of the entrepreneur ecosystem, Data61 aims to de-risk across the market and help startups build the right team.

To incentivise entrepreneurs to be collaborating risk takers, Data61 has signed memorandums of understanding with several incubators including Fishburners, BlueChilli, Stone & Chalk, Inspire9, AngelCube, Pollenizer, Unearthed, Bright Arena, ATP Innovations, River City Labs, York Butter Factory, and CBR Innovations Network.

The organisation’s outline for 2016 comes just a month after the Federal Government announced it would restore much of the funding originally cut from the CSIRO’s budget by the Abbott Government, with $75 million allocated to Data61.

Image: Adrian Turner. Source: CSIRO