Innovation expert to lead post-COVID recovery hub for Victorian SMEs

Media release

08 March 2022

Deakin University will help drive post-COVID business recovery in Victoria with international innovation expert Dr Gjoko Muratovski leading the launch of a $6.4 million Deakin Digital Futures Hub.

More than 98 per cent of Victorian businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and this is where the Hub is focusing its support, giving access to expertise and technology typically only available to larger organisations.

Dr Muratovski said Deakin's Digital Futures Hub was a unique and ambitious undertaking to open pathways for SMEs to work with the University's global experts in business strategy, IT, AI, cyber security, and disruptive innovation.

"Deakin Digital Futures Hub aims to become a catalyst for disruptive innovation. This is a specific kind of innovation that is ideally suited for SMEs, aiming to reimagine their industry sectors by envisioning new markets for their offerings," he said.

"Companies that pursue disruptive innovation do so by developing new products and services for overlooked or underserved market segments. By supporting this, we hope to not only lead a process of economic recovery post-COVID, but to also lead a new form of economic development in Victoria and its regions."

The Deakin Digital Futures Hub has been made possible thanks to a $2 million contribution from the Victorian Government via the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF). It includes the development of a $6.4 million Hub at the Deakin's Burwood campus.

The Hub will launch its first series of 'Lunch & Learn' sessions on March 24 with a free two-hour virtual session for Victorian SMEs, specifically targeting regional businesses. Participants will also have the option to join a free problem-solving innovation masterclass on March 25, in-person at Deakin's Burwood Campus in Melbourne.

Businesses that work with the Deakin Digital Futures Hub will have access to health checks conducted by Deakin's Faculty of Business and Law, the School of Information Technology, and partner organisations. The Hub's expert team will assist SMEs to identify new product opportunities, funding, cash flow and efficiency improvements, as well as potential new markets.

Dr Muratovski joins Deakin as an award-winning design researcher and innovation consultant with over 20 years of global experience working and collaborating with leading universities, Fortune 500 companies and government. This includes the US Federal Government, NASA, International Space Station, UNESCO, the World Health Organization, the UN Association of Australia, Ford, General Motors, BMW Group, Facebook, and Amazon.

He has been an invited member of the Yale Higher Education Leadership Summit, Oxford Digital Leaders Network, Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, and the Forbes Councils.

Dr Muratovski said Deakin Digital Futures Hub would bring together state-of-the-art ‘'Industry 4.0' capabilities developed by Deakin researchers.

"While these technologies are typically only accessible to large organisations, Deakin can now bring them to small and medium-sized enterprises – not only in the metropolitan area but also in regional Victoria," he said.

Lunch & Learn Session

Digital Futures Hub virtual Lunch & Learn sessions will be held on March 24, April 7 and April 28, 12:00pm – 2:00pm.

Innovation Masterclass

The Innovation Masterclass will take place at the Burwood Campus on March 25, 10:00am – 4:00pm.

For both events, participation is free, and bookings are essential.  Please register your interest here.

For further information visit Digital Futures Hub | Deakin

Media contact:
Luke D’Emanuele
Communication Coordinator
P: +61 (0)415451244

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