Innovation Lecture

Innovation in Australia

The Warren Centre’s Innovation Lecture Series puts successful Australian innovators in the public spotlight, showcasing innovation across the engineering universe. We are privileged to present an exemplary selection of Australian achievers and to recognise great individual accomplishments in innovation.

Upcoming lectures

We will announce a break-out innovator-entrepreneur for our 2019 Innovation Lecture to deliver one of our best lectures yet. Stay tuned. Our speaker will be announced in the coming weeks; details will be released shortly. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our current events and projects.

Past lectures

You can view highlights from our Innovation Lectures on our Vimeo channel, or see below for more information on all topics:

Delivering the Future

2018 - James Chin Moody

Our 2018 Innovation Lecture, Delivering the Future with James Chin Moody, focused on how the world is experiencing non-linear change. We need to meld creativity and engineering excellence, and focus on the applications and the domain rather than solely the technical skills. The choice used to be between analytical vs creative – but these days it’s not an or, it’s an and. So how are we going to train the next generation of engineers to embrace this future?

Shaping Tomorrow: Robots, 3D Printing and Virtual Reality

2017 - Professor Andrew Harris

Our 2017 Innovation Lecture, Shaping Tomorrow: Robots, 3D printing and virtual reality was presented by Professor Andrew Harris of the University of Sydney and Laing O’Rourke. Andrew addressed the questions of where Australia’s engineering and construction capability is among massive technological change, and what it will take for us to be globally competitive.

Engineering A Better World

2016 - Marita Cheng

Our 2016 Innovation Lecture was presented in September 2016 by Marita Cheng, founder of Robogals, 2Mar and Aipoly, and former Young Australian of the Year. Marita discussed her experiences in the Australian tech world as an entrepreneur, engineer, and humanitarian – and considered how we can bring together business and engineering to develop technology solutions that change people’s lives

Robotics, Automation and Intelligent Operations

2015 - Professor Salah Sukkarieh

Professor Sukkarieh’s keynote lecture, “Robotics, Automation and Intelligent Operations”, was a fascinating in-depth exploration of robotics and autonomous systems. The lecture demonstrates the vast array of current applications of autonomous systems and how machine learning will radically change our future.

Beyond Earth

2014 - Enrico Palermo, VP Operations, The Spaceship Company/Virgin Galactic

The lecture was presented by Enrico Palermo, a young and dynamic Australian engineer responsible for running spaceship development activities for Virgin Galactic. Enrico talked about his journey from Perth to the Mojave Desert via University of Western Australia and the International Space University, and the future of space travel.



Alex, who was one of The Warren Centre’s Innovation Heroes in 2012 for his contribution to innovation in information and communications technology, is Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist. His career spans innovation, science and technology, research and development, commercial start-ups and education. In August 2013 Alex was awarded the Pearcey Foundation’s 2013 Trevor Pearcey Medal for lifetime achievement and contribution to ICT in Australia.

Innovation in Motion: Conquering the Global Automotive Industry

2012 - Ric Tamba, Senior Vice President Car Transmissions Global, AVL

The Bugatti Veyron (world’s fastest car) and the Ferrari 458 Italia (world’s sexiest car) have at least one thing in common. Any idea? … they’re both dependent on Australian made technology. In 2012, the inventor himself, Ric Tamba (Senior Vice President Car Transmissions Global, AVL), an inspirational Australian innovator, told his electrifying story of high tech cars, the global automotive industry, technology innovation and Australia’s opportunities for competing on the global stage. Ric has inspired and encouraged us all, from young creative minds to older wizened types.

Making MAPTEK: Innovation in the Mining Industry

2011 - Dr Bob Johnson, Founder & Chairman MAPTEK

Dr Bob Johnson, Founder and Chairman of Maptek, spoke on the inception and growth of this extraordinarily successful mining software company. Highlights will include the history of Maptek and its crucial role in the rescue of the Chilean Miners in 2010.

The Robots Are Coming! The Robotics Revolution in Australian Industry

2010 - Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte FRS, Research Director, Australian Centre for Field Robotics

What do the words “Autonomous Systems” conjure up in your minds? How about “Field Robotics”, “Mechatronics” and “Artificial Intelligence”? Are you thinking of humanoid machines with super powers or car productions lines full of welding robots? To our Innovation Hero and this year's Innovation Lecturer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, these words embrace a world-leading centre of excellence spread across three Sydney-based universities which is<br /> bringing science-fiction into practical reality.

From Australia to the World: The Story of Google Maps & Google Wave

2009 - Dr Lars Rasmussen, Google

With more than a billion users, Google Maps has become for many the search function of choice to find virtually anything. In 2009, we welcomed Dr Lars Rasmussen of Google for our keynote address. It began as a fledgling idea from brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen in the immediate aftermath of the dot-com crash. They came to Sydney for one last shot at development, and connected with local Sydney engineer Noel Gordon, a colleague and friend of Lars. Noel brought in another Aussie, programing expert Stephen Mar, and the four established Where 2 Technologies.

Nearly 20 Years of Innovation with The Warren Centre

2008: The Art and Practice of Engineering in a Digital World. Tristram Carfrae, Structural Design Engineer & ARUP Fellow


2007: Technology Magic – Spitting Chips and Global Success. Dr Chris Nicol, Chief Technology Officer (Embedded Systems), NICTA


2006: Childhood Dreams Made Real. Don Fry AO, Owner and Chairman, AIMTEK


2005: Where’s Waldo?… Tenix’s Global Search for Innovative Solutions. Paul Salteri, Managing Director, Tenix Pty Limited

2004: Our Time (Zone) is Coming. Dr Keith Williams AM, CEO Proteome Systems Ltd


2003: The Money or The Box – Lessons from Looksmart. Evan Thornley, Chair, Looksmart Ltd


2002: Why Is It So Difficult to Develop Great Ideas and Inventions in Australia: Australians Can Make It. Dr Jim Fox, Managing Director, Vision Systems Limited


2001: Building an Innovative Global Enterprise from Australia. Peter Fogarty, CEO, ERG Group


2000: Managing the Innovative Global Enterprise. Catherine Livingstone, Managing Director, Cochlear Limited

1999: Value Creation Through Innovation Denis Hanley


1998: Transnational Strategies to Drive Point of Sale Technology Innovation. John Wood, Managing Director, Keycorp


1997: The Practical Nature of Innovation in Australian Large Businesses. Jerry Ellis, Chairman-elect, BHP Co Ltd


1996: Technology and Innovation in the America’s Cup Challenge and for Australia. John Bertrand AM

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