Professor Sam Bucolo
About the speaker
Our speaker today is Professor Sam Bucolo.
Sam is the co-founder and professor of the Design Innovation Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is a leading academic and practitioner in the emerging field of design led innovation, transforming the Australian Economy by embedding design capability.
He consulted widely to a number of industries, including medical devices, consumer products, telecommunications, and mining services sectors. He has also published a number of research projects responsible for a better understanding of the relationship of Design Led Innovation to business strategy and organisation value.
Sam was also the inaugural QMI Solutions Professor of Design and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology, which spanned the Creative Industries, Business, Science and Engineering faculties. He is also the convenor of the recently established Australian Design Integration network and is an executive board member of the Cumulus global network.
Sam holds a degree in Master of Applied Science, (Research) and a Doctor of Philosophy from Queensland University of Technology.
It gives me great pleasure to invite Professor Sam Bucolo to deliver the occasional address.
Chancellor Professor Vicki Sara, Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs, Dean Professor Desley Luscombe, university colleagues, guests, family and friends and all of the graduates here today, the future leaders of tomorrow. It is my pleasure and honour to be able to give this occasional address today at this very special event.
This part of the ceremony calls for a speaker to provide some final words for graduates to reflect on how far they have come during their studies and provide some insights into what will be expected of them in the years ahead.
Today, in this short address I would like to focus on how I see the broad disciples of design and architecture evolving to matching an emerging new world economy and how you as graduates have a significant responsibility to lead this change.
However before I get to this, I would like to extend my congratulations to all students who are graduating here today. Design degrees are like no other degrees in the university system. I know this first hand, being a graduate of Industrial Design some 25 years ago. I can appreciate the commitment and dedication that the studio model of design education demands. The long hours required to understand and consider each design task that you have been set during your studies is both draining and often frustrating as your lecturers and tutors challenge you to go deeper into the problem. Design definitely requires time and there are no shortcuts! Well done for coming this far.
The impact of a design approach to solving complex challenges does make a significant impact to our community. Some of you may have already seen this in the industry-based project you have been involved with in your studies.
At a macros level we know that the Creative Industries of which design and architecture is a subset has made a significant contribution to our economy. In a report undertaken last year, titled “Valuing Australia's Creative Industries”, the sector made a direct contribution to Australia’s GDP of $32.8 billion in 2011/12, much higher than may traditional industries.
Having a quality design education system will ensure that this sort of impact can be sustained and I can assure you that the education you have been provided with is at world class standard. I am often asked to judge international design awards and I am always proud to see the high number of Australians and in particular UTS alumni represented in these awards, which clearly demonstrates the quality of the education system which you have been provided.
However having a quality degree is not enough. It is how you adapt this knowledge to the challenges of our time, which determine how design is seen and valued by the broader society.
Design has always had to evolve to match the economic conditions of the day. When I had completed my undergraduate degree, I was about to enter a workforce coming out of deep recession with seemingly limited opportunities for work. To succeed, I had to adapt what I was taught and shape my own destiny. Today is no different.
We know that our Global economies has seen some of the largest economic declines in recent years which has impacted on the ability for government to maintain and grow the standard of living for many of their citizens.
In Australia we are seeing the end of the mining boom and revenues, which has flowed from this sector. Coupled with a high Australian dollar and historically low productive rates, the competiveness of many industries and sectors remains bleak. Traditional industries such as manufacturing have almost halved, which has been a traditional employer of design related services.
This may all seem very pessimistic and challenging as your start out in your professional lives.
However I would like to offer an alternative perspective and one which sees many opportunities for design to flourish. In my work on enabling business and leaders to prepare for the massive disruption they face, by getting firms to redesign their business model, I am seeing great demand for design services in non-traditional industries such as telecommunications, finance, health, agriculture and tourism.
What business leaders lack is an ability to re-image their business in this changing and complex economic landscape. They are often unable to deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity to take a fresh perspective for their business or organisation.
However your design education has prepared you to deal with addressing these types of challenges and situations. You have unique qualities of framing problems, prototyping ideas and envisaging entire new futures and this approach to solving societal and business challenges will be in demand as sectors adapt to remain relevant and sustainable to ensure a better society for all.
The Chief Scientist Ian Chubb and BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott summed it up when they spoke about a future Australian economy being underpinned by people, ideas and innovation … this needs to start by ensuring students have the world’s best literacy, numeracy skills and STEM education … as well as so called “soft skills” like adaptability, design thinking and problem solving.
Your design education will play a significant role in shaping future industries as it will allow you to bring the required mindset, which is lacking in many of the business and political leaders, to tackle to the complex challenges of our time.
This future is here now! There are no defined pathway or job descriptions for this new role other than being connected into the problems of today. I can assure you it will be uncertain and unclear, but your education has provided you with the ability to manage this. It also will be more than just knowledge and skills that will be expected of you, but the ability to adapt, evolve and lead to ensure we all continue to prosper and grow.
You have been privileged to be provided with a great education and I wish you every success is realising your potential to shape our future. I am sure you will make parents, family and university proud.
Congratulations on your graduation.