Picture this: The world has ran out of water, quality agricultural soil and therefore food. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

It sounds like an unrealistic scenario, however there are early signs that signal a shift to this alarming reality.

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The future of our global food systems holds risks for sustainability, and solutions will require a whole of system approach.

While the concept of innovation is nothing new (pardon the pun), the rapidly-increasing rate of technological progress as well as the recent political narrative has led to ‘innovation’ being a key fixture on Board meeting agendas around the country.

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Innovation should be viewed with an opportunity mindset and as a strategic opportunity to gain (or maintain) a competitive advantage in the market .

Are you building an app for that?

The app is one of the most disruptive innovations of the last decade and has been pivotal to the commercial success of the smartphone and for the overall ‘mobile economy’.

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Apps tend to be most successful for processes or tasks which are completed regularly.

Will people choose to consume healthier, more balanced diets or will the epidemic of cheap foods, high in sugar, salt and fat spread?

We all know consumers drive demand, but that is only to a certain degree. Our behaviours are shaped by context and influenced by marketing. Availability of accurate information, as well as affordability and accessibility of nutritious foods, drive our actions. So yes, we as consumers have a choice, but businesses and government have an obligation to society to create the right environment to enable consumers to make the right choice.

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With the right responses from businesses and government, we could alter the course of our health and food consumption.

While business investment as a share of the economy peaked back in 2012, Australia has still managed to achieve a decent rate of economic growth despite the fact that in every year since then business investment has been falling (both as a share of GDP and in dollar terms).

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While business investment as a share of the economy peaked back in 2012, Australia has still managed to achieve a decent rate of economic growth.

For a significant part of the day I am a Director in the Deloitte Consulting business. This involves advising C-suite in the Consumer Products industry on their most complex strategic issues and transformations. It often means working from the client site and more recently substantial travel across Asia. My second job (free of charge, around the edges of the day with spill over into the weekend) is raising a 1 and 3 year old together with my wife, who works almost full time in a senior corporate role at one of the leading media companies in Australia. All of this happens whilst both our entire families live in the Netherlands.

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The role and support of Deloitte has been instrumental in this journey – first and foremost in providing the opportunity to take time off work but secondly in the form of freedom and flexibility in how, where and when I work.

Who has your (finger) print?

Thousands of years ago, the citizens of Ancient Babylon imprinted their fingerprints into clay tablets to authenticate transactions. Today the problem of authentication remains and a multiplicity of passwords have become an awkward part of everyday life. That is why the fingerprint is making a comeback.

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Over the next year we would expect the smartphone’s fingerprint reader to be used in conjunction with websites accessed by computer to authorise payments.

Delivering more jobs (particularly manufacturing jobs) might  be a key catchcry of US President Donald Trump, but it is also an important ambition for Australia in 2017 (think Prime Minister Turnbull’s election campaign focus on ‘jobs and growth’).

Our labour market enters the year at a crossroads. The unemployment rate remained relatively stable over the past year, and ended 2016 at 5.8%, a respectable result by recent standards. In part however, our unemployment rate is contained because of increasing numbers of baby boomers retiring.

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The unemployment rate might steady, but underemployment is a growing problem

After a summer of tennis and cricket, we have been reflecting on how different the current attitudes are to sport versus taxation competitiveness. 

For instance, ask an Australian about how competitive they expect our cricket, rugby union or Olympic team should be, and the possible answers range from “it would be embarrassing if we weren’t” variously: in the Top 10, competitive with Great Britain…, dominating New Zealand, to punching above our weight for our population.

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When it comes to taxation competitiveness and particularly corporate taxation, we have pretty modest goals and aims – to be a bit competitive (but not too much)

Managing costs and building profitable revenue are strategic priorities for Australian banks as they face operational challenges and increasing regulatory requirements. There is no doubt that better managing governance, supervision, resilience and technology remain critical foci for the sector.

Cost-to-income ratios for the major banks are around 45-46%, (significantly lower than some of their global peers’ 60-70%). However, resource and regulatory pressures contribute significantly to costs, with regulatory spend exceeding $1.3bn p.a. for the big four banks.

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There is no doubt that better managing governance, supervision, resilience and technology remain critical foci for the sector.