Public Interest Technology Program


Foundation Partners

Advancing public interest technology: connecting the best of tech government, academia and business.
CEDA is bringing together technologists, policy makers and business to discuss how to best manage new technologies and foster the collaborative approaches necessary to support solutions to the issues of rapid technological change.

Why now?

The pace of socially and economically important innovation and disruption continues to increase rapidly, while the breadth of new technologies –from AI, biosciences, big data, autonomous vehicles, IOT, to quantum computing – is growing day by day. How we, as a nation, approach the stewardship of new technologies will have a profound impact on Australia’s future economic and social development and therefore prosperity. 
Emerging technologies offer great opportunities, but also present risks and challenges. How do we shape or steward the development, adoption and management of emerging technologies to deliver the greatest public opportunities and benefits and mitigate potential risks and adverse impacts?
Building the right approach to the stewardship of emerging technologies must directly involve policy decision makers, who in turn must have the necessary skills and capabilities, and access to objective, high quality information and expertise.
The right balance needs to be struck through regulatory settings, policy decisions, government spending and investment to support the development, commercialisation and adoption of new technologies, while addressing potentially unintended consequences that can arise from fast-paced technological progress. These processes must reflect an appreciation of the opportunity costs associated with an extremely risk-averse approach to regulation and policy settings that are not in the public interest.
Stewardship of emerging technologies in the public interest must also involve and engage others – technologists, investors, business, academia, and the wider community – not least because experience has shown that regulation after the fact of tech development and commercialisation is a challenging proposition. Community confidence in such stewardship is critical in building broad support for the adoption and use of new technologies and data. 
Quite simply, we all must become more comfortable and confident in working together to understand and steer emerging technologies and the issues that sit around them. Doing this requires cross-sector engagement, collaboration and collective effort to:
  • understand the possibilities presented by emerging technologies;
  • build a shared commitment to advancing technology in the public interest; and
  • create the necessary capabilities, tools, frameworks, forums and institutions. 
CEDA, as an independent, trusted, cross-sectoral membership organisation is uniquely placed to play a key role in driving this stewardship agenda.

Where to start?

CEDA has initiated a program of work to drive a Public Interest Technology (PIT) discussion and agenda in Australia. Possible areas of work/investigation for CEDA include: 
  • Understanding where and how politicians and policy makers get their tech information and advice, and the tech and data capabilities of politicians and policy makers and how to strengthen these (building on the Thodey 2019 Independent Review of the Australian Public Service);
  • Developing tools and information sources to increase understanding and awareness of emerging tech and data opportunities and their policy implications (short and long term);
  • Examining whether Australia has the right institutions and institutional arrangements to facilitate objective analysis and evaluation of emerging technologies and policy/regulatory implications;
  • Increasing the focus on ethical and public purpose implications of tech and data across the development, financing and commercialisation process through education and training, mentoring, and engagement with early stage tech investors;
  • Showcasing best practice development and use of tech and data for public good;
  • Articulating the most critical economic and societal challenges that could be meaningfully progressed through better use of data (public and private); and
  • Exploring how to bring private sector data to the table in support of public purpose.

Foundation Partners

The PIT Foundation Partners have the opportunity to shape a significant agenda not only for CEDA but for the nation. The program will include a range of activities aimed at driving discussion, facilitating collaboration and guiding CEDA’s program of work in this space.

CEDA would like to thank Google, IBM and KPMG who have come on board as PIT Foundation Partners to help drive the program of work.

If you would like to explore joining the program as a Foundation Partner, please contact Mel Nelson. 

PIT Advisory Group

To address the wide-ranging opportunities and challenges new technologies pose, CEDA has brought together technologists, policy makers and business to discuss how to best manage new technologies and foster the collaborative approaches necessary to support solutions to the issues of rapid technology change.
The advisory group brings together thought leaders from a range of backgrounds to assist CEDA with developing a program of works which will include research papers, fact sheets, policy papers, digital assets (blogs, vlogs and podcasts) and events with active promotion of ideas, information and recommendations shared through social and traditional media, engagement with government and CEDA’s cross-sector membership and wider network.
PIT Advisory Group members:
  • Feyi Akindoyeni, Partner, Newgate Australia
  • Kaaren Koomen, Director, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, IBM
  • Nyk Loates, Director, U-Collaborate, KPMG
  • Narelle Luchetti, Head of Division, Digital Economy and Technology, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
  • Alex Lynch, Public Policy and Government Affairs Manager, Google
  • Andrew Stevens, Chair, Innovation and Science Australia
  • Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Enterprise), University of Technology, Sydney.
The first meeting of the Advisory Group was held in May 2020.