QUT students join some of the world’s most forward thinking designers & innovators

The DIS Experience Night was an eye opening event on the integration of technology with the human body. The concepts which were displayed and demonstrated throughout the night gave a glimpse into what the future of human integrated technology may look like. There was an array of concepts both ready for commercial release, as well as others which were highly fictional, encouraging the audience to question life and the way society may communicate with such fused technology.

Overall, the DIS Experience Night was a great opportunity to mix wDIS nightith engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and industry experts, whilst giving an alternate view on the way we look at technology.

ACE proudly supports sponsorship of QUT students to attend these inspiring and innovative events.  Many thanks to Sean Davidson from Fold Products for sharing your thoughts about this event.

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ACE member appointed to Australian Government’s “Expert Network.”

Another victory for Team QUT!   In addition to my day job at the university, I was informed yesterday that I have been appointed as a member of the Australian Government’s “Expert Network.”  My duties in this role include providing advice on an ad hoc basis about the energy industry and emerging innovations in that sector, with the overarching objective of accelerating the commercialization of promising new energy technologies.  They promised me that this would be a minimal time commitment, so expect business-as-usual from your respective points of view.

New fund to take ideas from workshop to shopfront

Clever ideas and innovations that will improve the lives of Queensland families now have a better chance of getting to the market with the State’s new $1.5 million grant program.

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker said the Government’s Accelerate Ideas grant program aimed to encourage people from throughout Queensland and industry to work together on turning good ideas into commercial reality.

Mr Walker said the funding was aimed at Queensland individuals, businesses and university researchers who often found the leap from workshop to shopfront financially challenging.

“Grants of between $25,000 and $50,000 will be given to successful applicants who are at the point of demonstrating the commercial viability of their innovations. So, for example, they’ve developed a prototype and need support to validate their product to get it to the next stage along the commercial pipeline,” Mr Walker said. Read more

Home-grown ideas driving METS success

New research has revealed that Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Service (METS) providers might be smaller in scale than their international rivals, but they make more money from new, cutting-edge products.

QUT researchers from the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research conducted a large survey of Australian METS to build a more accurate profile of the innovation and internationalisation in the sector.

Lead researcher Dr Henri Burgers said the study revealed Aussie METS are active innovators.

“The METS sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises – 88 per cent of the firms, which are predominantly Australian-owned – 79 per cent of the firms,” Dr Burgers said.

“METS firms are active in innovation, with 90 per cent of the firms investing in R&D. This leads Read more

Game Changers – webcast link

‘In conversation with Shainiel Deo’ was the first in a series of Game Changer events held at the State Library Queensland on March 20.  Shainiel Deo, founder and CEO of Halfbrick Studios, is spearheading the new wave of casual games. Halfbrick is the creator of hit game Fruit Ninja, which has been downloaded more than 300 million times and is on more than one third of all US iPhones.  If you were unable to attend the event it can be viewed now at http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/audio-video/webcasts.

Game Changers brings innovation leaders from business, technology, and creative industries to share their insights with you.

Hear first-hand how prominent Queensland entrepreneurs and business leaders build companies, reinvent themselves generation after generation, inspire teams, and envision success. Facilitated by Ray Weekes, Chair of The CEO Instutite.

Each event will be followed by a networking function, with first drink complimentary.   To register for future Game Changer events click here

The Role of Entrepreneurship Education in Regional Development

Marcello Tonelli_China

Qīnzhōu is a municipal region in Guangxi, and one of the few areas in China expected to experience a rapid growth over the next 5 years. It is also home of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, which is set to be a new platform, new engine of growth and new highlight for China-ASEAN cooperation.

During a visit at Qinzhou University Dr. Marcello Tonelli discussed higher entrepreneurship education as a fundamental component of regional economic development strategies. A comparison of cases in Italy, Australia, and China highlighted how a dialogue between university and local businesses is a key aspect in ensuring that skills development moves hand-in-hand with the needs of local entrepreneurs and society at large. Far too often, education lags behind what the economy requires and research is confined at reporting what occurs in the industry, rather than proactively informing practice with new concepts and ideas.

Participants at the meeting acknowledged that the education system can no longer be only responsive to economic and social needs. Universities around the world are facing a crisis, where the value of degrees is rapidly declining and new generations of students consider whether self-taught subjects are in fact more up-to-date, relevant, effective, and of course cheaper than what universities can offer. If we believe that universities can still play an important role in the development of an individual as well as that of an entire region, we need to think differently. Job security is no longer ‘real’, hence individuals across all industry sectors require additional − entrepreneurial − skills that can help them embrace uncertainty, think more creatively, and continually innovate themselves (i.e. awareness of an entrepreneur’s career options). The way entrepreneurship is to be taught also needs to evolve. There is no more space for courses that are rigidly structured, teaching material has to be regularly updated, and, above all, mode of delivery has to include hands-on modules.

Many thanks to Dr. Marcello Tonelli, Collaborative Researcher with ACE, for contributing this story.

ACE GEM Research published as an opinion piece with CNN

 ACE’s recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report received media coverage with CNN last week.  Here is the opinion piece by Associate Professor Paul Steffens, deputy director of ACE:



Essentially the report outlines Australia’s impressive recent entrepreneurial performance.  The full  report can be found here: 

GEM Report

What is GEM

In 2011, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study was conducted across 54 countries. Over 140,000 adults aged between 18 and 64, including 2,000 in Australia were interviewed. GEM differs from other studies in that by surveying the adult population, it identifies entrepreneurs at the very earliest stages of new business creation.


  • Australia’s entrepreneurship rate is second only to the USA amongst developed countries
  • We estimate that 10.5% of the Australian adult population were actively engaged in starting and running new businesses in 2011. This equates to 1.48 million early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Of the estimated 1.48 million early-stage entrepreneurs:

      *   40% or 590,000 were women

      *   33% or 580,000 expected to creates at least 5 new jobs in the next 5 years

      *   11% or 170,000 expected to create 20 or more new jobs in the next 5 years

  • Australia also ranks above average for employee entrepreneurial activity in established firms. An estimated 5.0% of the adult population is engaged in developing or launching new products, a new business unit or subsidiary for their employer.
  • Australia was one of only three developed countries, together with the US and Netherlands, that ranked above average for both entrepreneurship rate and employee entrepreneurial activity
  • Australia outperforms most other developed economies on indicators of the quality and economic impact of its business start-ups, including growth aspirations, number of opportunity-driven start-ups and innovativeness
  • The vast majority of start-ups in Australia are founded based on a desire to take advantage of perceived opportunities with only 1 in 5 new ventures started through necessity –
  • While the global economic slowdown (GFC) clearly increased the level of necessity driven entrepreneurship in Australia, this increase is not as strong as that experienced in the USA.
  • Approximately 50% of the Australians believe that good opportunities exist for the establishment of new ventures, and that they possess the skills to start a business. This is well above international averages.
  • International orientation is below average for Australian early state entrepreneurs, most likely due to the geographic distance to international markets
  • Australian entrepreneurship is comparatively inclusive. For example, at 8.4% the female total entrepreneurial activity is second only to the USA.


Design Thinking Workshop with Deloittes

This interactive workshop, hosted by one of the world’s largest service firms, will explore Design Thinking and how it is used to innovate both internally and externally. 

Participants will get a practical insight into the leading-edge thinking approaches used by Deloitte to remain competitive in an evolving market, and establish themselves as one of Australia’s leading consulting firms.  

Thursday October 11 – QUT Gardens Point Campus
For more information please contact QUT Innovations Space  or Register Here


An oldie but a goodie – Paul Steffens’s paper hits SSRN top 10 list

A very old paper – in fact, dating back to my first ever publication during my PhD – seems to be making at least some impact.

The paper, “A Mathematical Model for New Product Diffusion: The Influence of Innovators and Imitators”, published in Mathematical and Computer Modelling, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 11-26, 1992. The paper proposes an alternative to the famous Bass (1969) model of diffusion, and finds some empirical support. It has made the top 10 on SSRN (Social Science Research Network) Innovation and Microeconomics.

A lesson for young scholars – I probably wasted this half decent paper in a “nothing journal”. It has only a handful of citations (15 on Google scholar).  Inexperienced, I was approached by the editor at a conference and agreed to submit.  These days, of journal ranking (even if they have officially disappeared now) and ERA, I would probably not make the same mistake.

Top Ten Lists are updated on a daily basis. Click the following link(s) to view the Top Ten list for:

IRPN: Innovation & Microeconomics (Topic) Top Ten.

Paul Steffens



Nearly Half of Innovative U.S. Startups Are Founded by ‘User Entrepreneurs,’ According to Kauffman Foundation Study

New study is first to identify characteristics of firms started by entrepreneurs who create products for their own use, then commercialize them

The Kauffman Foundation released a report today about “user entrepreneurs” – those who have created innovative products or services for their own use, then subsequently founded firms to commercialize them. The study reveals, among other things, that user entrepreneurs have founded more than 46 percent of innovative startups that have lasted five years or more, even though this group creates only 10.7 percent of U.S. startups overall.

In the first study to quantify the prevalence and characteristics of these founders, the report identifies how the firms they start compare to other U.S. startups in terms of revenue growth, job creation, R&D investment and intellectual property. The findings draw on data from the Kauffman Firm Survey longitudinal study tracking nearly 5,000 firms founded in 2004.

Read the full report at www.kauffman.org/end-user.