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“We know that leadership is very much related to change. As the pace of change accelerates, there is naturally a greater need for effective leadership,” Harvard Business School Professor of Leadership John P Kotter famously said of the pace of change today.<br />

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Adelaide's economic advantages

In South Australia, the government has initiated long-term projects to enable the state to stay abreast of the inevitable changes in technology, economy and living standards.

Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the South Australian Government announced a plan to build the world’s biggest ion battery in South Australia. The 100MW lithium ion system will be located at the Hornsdale Wind Farm in the state’s mid-north and will be active by the end of this year.

The project will join the Lyon Group’s 100MW solar-battery facility in the Riverland in helping to stabilise South Australia’s power grid and reduce energy prices. The size and diversity of both ventures have positioned the state as a global leader in renewable energy.

The capital city of Adelaide is also poised to be the first truly Smart City in Australia, using new ultrafast broadband speeds to connect to the Internet of Things and the rest of the world.

Peter Karidis, co-founder and managing director of international Smart City consultancy Palamir, said that Adelaide’s compact size and pioneering government made it able to quickly adopt new developments in technology.

“The forward thinking Premier and Mayor are key to this opportunity now, with State and Local government alignment towards making Adelaide a test city.”

“For cities along the Eastern seaboard (of Australia), rolling out such infrastructure is difficult with huge traffic, so Adelaide’s size is actually its benefit and that means we can actually be using smart transport and infrastructure far quicker than most other cities.”

One test market being pursued is autonomous vehicles.

Adelaide has a history of involvement with innovative autonomous car research and in 2015 held the first driverless car trials in the Southern Hemisphere.

This year RDM Group, the UK company behind the LUTZ Pathfinder and Pod Zero vehicles, moved its Asia Pacific HQ to Adelaide to take advantage of the government’s $10 million Future Mobility Lab Fund for developing autonomous vehicle technologies.

RDM Group CEO David Keene said the massive demand for autonomous mobility solutions in Australia meant they wanted to ensure their technology is at the forefront of any new developments.

“Our technical office at Flinders University, within the world class Tonsley Innovation District will give us the base to develop an Australian supply chain and to explore new opportunities, with the longer-term plan to create a bespoke assembly facility in Adelaide that will supply vehicles direct to customers across the Asia-Pacific region.”

The South Australian government has also joined the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities Program to connect South Australian businesses and research organisations with American cities like Chattanooga and Charlotte, both of which have transformed their communities through building ultra-fast broadband applications.

South Australian Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher said the membership positions Adelaide as the most connected city in the Southern Hemisphere.

“This has the potential to deliver important advances in areas such as healthcare, education, public safety, and other priority areas using advanced internet applications that are not yet available on today’s commercial internet,” he said.

Marco Baccanti, the Chief Executive of Health Industries South Australia, said the $3 billion tripartite BioMed City health precinct comprising a major hospital, research centres and educational institutions is a result of a clear vision from the State Government to strengthen sustainable knowledge-intensive industries.

“Investment now means resources channelled into the state to fund some important clinical research activity for instance or some collaboration agreement between a specific therapeutic area being developed at SAHMRI and a biotech company abroad,” he said.

The long-term vision includes a more participatory form of democracy, with citizen juries helping decide pathways toward future prosperity. One aspect is the Fund My Community program that involves citizens in decision-making, a concept that was awarded the United Nations prize for Promoting Transparency, Accountability and Integrity this year.

The South Australian government has also allocated $200 million to a Future Jobs Fund to drive employment in key growth industries such as advanced manufacturing, IT, defence, biomedical research, mining, renewable resources and tourism.

Part of the fund will help Investment Attraction South Australia bring businesses from outside the state to take advantage of new opportunities in South Australia.

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