World Economic Forum sees the future of advanced manufacturing in Queensland


World Economic Forum representatives have experienced Queensland’s unique spirit of open innovation firsthand on a statewide tour at the invitation of Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp.

The World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing representatives visited innovative Queensland manufacturers in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, and hosted roundtable discussions with industry and government at each location.

Craig O’Kane, Director of the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, says the World Economic Forum representatives were interested in seeing examples of Queensland’s advanced manufacturing technology on the factory floor.

“They witnessed cutting edge techniques in advanced manufacturing at the nexus of the circular economy,” Mr O’Kane said.

Highlights of the tour included visits to the $40 million Pulse Data Centre in Toowoomba and $18 million Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Brisbane, as well as a roundtable discussion on the intersection of advanced manufacturing and defence in Ipswich.

“What the World Economic Forum representatives saw all over Queensland was a concerted effort by entrepreneurs, governments, angel investors, universities and industry to embrace the technologies of the future,” Mr O’Kane said.

“Things like artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality will soon be embedded in our everyday life, and we’re working collaboratively in Queensland to stand at the forefront of that transition.”

The World Economic Forum representatives were particularly impressed by the open and collaborative nature of Queensland’s advanced manufacturing industry.

“They said they haven’t seen as strong a collaborative process as what they saw in Queensland,” Mr O’Kane said.

“It’s great for Queensland businesses to hear directly from members of the World Economic Forum that they are leaders in this space… if you look at what’s going on in Japan, Germany, Taiwan and China, they’re at the cutting edge of some very advanced technologies, but there’s not the same willingness to work together and share technology and information right across the ecosystem that you see in Queensland.”

Ms Kemp, who is the co-chairperson of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Manufacturing, will next fly the flag for Queensland at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January.

“As a global tech pioneer, Leanne Kemp is very involved in the work of the World Economic Forum,” Mr O’Kane said.

“It’s fantastic that she can use her international platform and position to sell the benefits of being an entrepreneur in Queensland to the world.”