Fuelling the ideas boom

ANU students are the fuel that will drive the Federal Government's Ideas Boom, according to DR SHAYNE FLINT, PhD '06.

Whether you buy the Federal Government's self-styled Ideas Boom rhetoric or not, the fact remains that increased innovation across all disciplines and sectors of the economy will play a critical role in Australia's future.

This country's graduates will be the fuel that drives this boom.

They will not only have deep disciplinary knowledge but also a passion for doing things better, an ability to see and take advantage of exciting opportunities and the confidence to tackle real-world complexities.

Irrespective of discipline, they will practice systems and design thinking.

They will be adaptable life-long learners and will work in multidisciplinary, culturally diverse and distributed teams.

They will also be competent users of technology.

More than a decade ago, the then ANU Department of Computer Science recognised a need for a framework that allowed our students to grow and develop well beyond a simple technical focus.

In particular, we recognised a need for them to engage more deeply with industry, government and the private sector to develop broad attributes required by employers.

These attributes included the ability to work in diverse teams, to deal with uncertainty and failure and to engage effectively with and manage the expectations of stakeholders.

We established a set of courses that have third year software engineering and IT students working in small teams led by fourth year software engineers.

These teams engage with industry, government and other agencies to tackle real-world problems using software.