There are plenty of ‘wicked problems’ in the ICT industry, but the two that top the list are the shortage in digital skills and youth unemployment, according to SAP A/NZ vice-president and general manager of global partner operations, Greg Miller.
He was speaking at a plenary session at ARN’s inaugural EDGE 2015 event in Port Douglas.
Miller defined a ‘wicked problem’ as something that is nearly impossible to solve – it’s so complex and intricate, people don’t even know where to start to solve it. Miller claimed it gets worse when they get close enough to it and it morphs and evolves, putting the person further away from it.
But to start to solve a wicked problem, Miller said a business needs empathy. He then addressed the two ‘wicked problems’ in the industry. The first, is youth unemployment in Australia.
“We’ve currently got a 20 per cent youth unemployment rate at the moment nationally and during the GFC itself that stood at 16 or 17 per cent so this rate isn’t improving. In some regions in Victoria, it is hitting 30 per cent; in some regions in Queensland, they’re high of 35 per cent. This is a real, big problem.”
The second wicked problem he addressed is the shortage in digital skills in Australia.
“Deloitte put out a report a few months ago that indicated to fuel the economy of innovation and drive a much needed digital transformation, we need another 100,000 ICT jobs in the coming 2 years – that’s a 16 per cent increase in a very short period of time,” he said.
As such, he suggested the industry should come together, take a lead role and participate in ways to solve these problems.
“It’s not the government, it’s not the universities and education sector but all of us in this room. We have a leadership role to play in it and it affects every industry in Australia,” he mentioned.
According to Miller, the solution to these problems is, each other.
Miller said SAP has been taking steps to aid in this solution process. The company has been involved with government, higher education, non-profit partners, and industry partners to bridge the gap between youth unemployment and the digital opportunities for the future.
“It’s about starting the process early, doing it often and having meaningful outcomes. If we put our brands aside and come together as an industry, the outcome of it will be for all of our benefit. If we don’t fix it, it will be our demise but the opportunity is infinite for us. My ask is to take action,” he said.