Advance Connect : Defining the toolkit needed for 21st century industrial policy

READ > Transcript of the presentation by Andrew Liveris AO and the Q&A that followed.

Andrew N. Liveris AO, global Board Member and Advisor to Presidents Obama and Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, outlined the key elements of a new toolkit to support Australia’s economic recovery, and redefine, reset and revitalise the economy for the 21st century. 

Maria MacNamara, CEO of, introduced Andrew, noting his prior roles as former chairman and chief executive of the Dow Chemical Company, and director and executive chairman of DowDuPont. With his current board and advisory roles across IBM, Saudi Aramco, Worley, as well as electric vehicle and battery manufacturers, Australia is fortunate to have harnessed some of Andrew’s time to inform the response to Covid19 and the longer term economic changes that are necessary. 

New heights of VUCA

Andrew reflected on the privilege of serving as a Special Adviser to the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission amidst the competent handling of the pandemic by Australian leaders. The current health crisis and economic fallout has reinforced how VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) has occurred with greater frequency and intensity in the last two decades.

Compounded by the rise of money and finance as the forces driving economic growth (rather than invention and creation and development of new ideas), there is pervasive short-termism across public and private institutions. Andrew noted the impact this has had on rising inequality, anti-globalisation sentiment, and most concerningly, our inability to protect the planet from climate change, emissions and health crises such as this pandemic. 

A new toolkit needed

With dramatically weakened global institutions struggling to corral collective action to address global challenges, Andrew pointed to a shift towards purpose-driven corporations embracing a responsibility to all stakeholders, not just financial owners. These counterbalancing trends require new models of leadership, governance, regulation, and partnership between private and public sector institutions. The foundations of the 21st century toolkit will draw on the lessons of disruptive innovation, as defined by the late Clayton Christensen, particularly brave and courageous decision-making that responds rapidly to changes in the operating environment.  

A recipe to help Australia ‘make stuff’ again

In response to questions about Australia’s ability to develop sovereign capabilities, Andrew highlighted Australia’s unsung strength in invention, through the productivity of Australian universities, CSIRO and new startups in Australia. But to leverage this strength, Australia will need to overcome its fear of scaling against competitive advantage. Andrew pointed to the importance of creating the technologies of the 21st century that are not price-based, but IP and quality based, and channeling public funds through procurement to create local markets. Using digital supply chain advantages, precincts to leverage talent clusters, and special economic zones to export to global markets, Australia is well positioned to succeed in the new world order in manufacturing. 

Andrew’s observation was supported by the first hand experience of David Griffin, the CEO of Sun Cable, as he explained, “manufacturing keeps coming back as a major influence in every one of our design decisions to optimise the operation of our system to supply renewable electricity to Darwin and the ASEAN region.” 

A clear message for action

Emeritus Professor Roy Green, Chair of the Port of Newcastle, and affectionately referred to as the “high priest of manufacturing” in Australia, reiterated Andrew’s emphasis on innovation playing a defining role in the future of Australia. It will be critical to significantly raise manufacturing’s share of GDP from 6%, to in turn increase the complexity and resilience of the Australian economy.

The discussion was joined by 48 partners, supporters and members from around the globe, including Australia’s ambassador to the United States, and leaders of Australia’s innovation agencies and manufacturers. Andrew’s perspective insights in advance of the release of the National Covid-19 Commission Advisory Board’s report and recommendations for Australia’s economic recovery. 

David Robinson, Co-Founder of event partner Internet 2.0, shared his experience of rolling out internet connectivity in Papua New Guinea, and the decision to commence manufacturing in Australia. As David noted, if “Internet 2.0, a one year old cyber security startup, can quickly ramp up manufacturing capabilities, then Australia can also.” 


  • Transcript of the presentation by Andrew Liveris AO | Defining the toolkit needed for 21st century industrial policy > More

Further information

  • Andrew Liveris: Markets are mistaken, the new normal is here to stay >More
  • COVID-19’s legacy: This is how to get the Great Reset right >More
  • Roy Green on a new manufacturing regime >More
  • Make It In America – The Case for Reinventing the Economy > More
  • What VUCA Really Means for You > More
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton Christensen > More 
  • Advance Global Digital Town Hall: Building Resiliency and Seizing Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing > More
  • The future of jobs in manufacturing, energy and technology > More
  • Main Sequence Ventures: building industries > More
  • Music played while guests were gathering was by the late Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu > Bapa > Listen | Wiyathul > Listen | Mala Rrakala > Listen


  • “Thank you both for such incredible leadership!  You have laid out the true road map for Australia’s continued economic health and prosperity for generations to come!  It was an honor to watch and learn! 
  • “Thanks … and congrats on another super roundtable”
  • “Thanks for the invitation…It was very interesting and he has a fantastic vision.”
  • “Wow… wow … amazing Roundtable …. I was trying to sit still ….. he is fantastic and so glad he is having input into this country !!!!  I hope I get the chance to meet him one day ! Thanks … it was fantastic!”
  • What a great session — very inspiring, we could not be more aligned with Andrew’s comments.”
  • “Thanks for including me in this morning’s Round Table, and thanks also for the shout out!”
  • “…quite inspirational this morning. I love his vision – and hope our political leaders are as forward thinking.
  • “Congrats on this morning…That was the best presentation I have heard Andrew give – a lot of highly significant content – Please make sure the recording goes far and wide”
  • “Another fantastic roundtable. Andrew is such a breath of fresh air  in his approach, attitude and recommendations. Fingers crossed the recommendation in the toolkit are adopted into policy and programs.”
  • “It was a great privilege to participate in yesterday’s roundtable. I was nodding and smiling so much, I had a sore neck this morning! Andrew and I have a very similar take on economic development and I am optimistic that the COVID19 recovery policies will adopt the recommendations.”
  • Great event – and expertly chaired. (A lot of people doing this virtual thing during this time could learn a thing or two from you!)

This global digital roundtable was made possible with the support of our partner Internet 2.0