Global Leaders’ Summit 2017 -Day Two

Today is Day 2 of the 2017 Monash Global Leaders’ Summit, one in which world-leading alumni discuss and question professions of the future and global development. With enterprise a key theme, the community of international leaders will help shape, inform and influence Monash University’s future entrepreneurial roadmap across education and research to stimulate further value and positive impact, locally and internationally.    


This session is designed to showcase research excellence through presentations by esteemed Monash researchers on their work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The particular focus is on cognition and neuroscience as a frontier of research, and one where Monash has a real impact.

Marc Parlange

Facilitator: Professor Marc Parlange, Provost and Senior Vice-President

Marc is the Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University and is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. Prior to assuming his position at Monash, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of British Columbia (Canada). His research in the broad area of environmental fluid mechanics primarily relates to the measurement and simulation of air and water flows over complex terrain, with a focus on how air turbulence and atmospheric dynamics (atmospheric boundary layer flow) influence urban, agricultural and alpine environments.


Businesses have many obligations and stakeholders. Our conversations about business often centre on this diverse set of obligations without being framed by the primary responsibility of
any business; profit creation or shareholder value. This session evokes a fundamental contemporary challenge: how to create business value in a changing world. This conversation will seek to anchor any conversation about the other obligations (to workforces, national agendas, corporate social responsibility) in the creation of business value.

Facilitator: Mr Simon McKeon AO, Chancellor of Monash University, Chairman of In2Science and the Group of Eight’s Industry and Innovation Board. He is also a member of the Big Issue Advisory Board and an Australia Day Ambassador for the Victorian Government.


The business sector differs from the government and not-for-profit sectors principally because of the obligation owed to owners to generate a profit. Indeed, amidst the various duties of a corporate director, once the law of the land has been observed, the overriding responsibility is to maximise profit or otherwise to maximise value.

And so the question remains as to how best, in a dynamic world, to do this but to also balance a large number of other objectives which are clearly “good things” (such as recognising employee effort and being environmentally responsible).

There has been a traditional view in business that the way to most effectively deal with these other objectives was to “pay lip service” to them. By all means, acknowledge that they had their place but it was not the corporation’s role to be “serious” about such matters. Being serious simply eroded profit.

Some decades ago, the data emerging from the western world indicated that this was not correct. The simple fact was that across a range of different timeframes, corporations that took these environmental, social and governance issues seriously simply outperformed, in terms of returns to shareholders, those that did not.

Here in Australia, it took a little longer for the data to appear but over the past decade, we have also fallen into step with much of the rest of the world.

And so the challenge for today’s management teams is a very significant and complex one. And plainly it starts by ensuring that the goods and services that a corporation provides are of a quality and effectiveness that the community genuinely needs. But beyond that, there are a myriad of ways that management can add to shareholder value beyond crudely endeavouring to maximise revenue and minimise the cost structure.

Today’s session will weigh up what a corporation ought to be focusing on!


The final session of the Summit will provide an opportunity for the audience to understand the role Monash plays in engaging with industry and how our current partnerships are not only having a global impact, but also deriving benefit across various industries.

Ken Sloane

Facilitator: Mr Ken Sloan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise)

Ken is responsible for providing University-wide leadership and strategic support for industry engagement, commercialisation, innovation and entrepreneurship and work experience to provide a focus for the University’s Enterprise goal, outlined in the Strategic Plan, Focus Monash.

Collaborating for Innovation and Enterprise by Mr Ken Sloan.

Since the ‘60’s, Monash University has forged a path in innovation and enterprise. The University has continued to examine and challenge established paradigms to advance the key pillars of education and research. Fundamental to this has been Monash’s focus on leveraging collaboration across contrasting and unrelated disciplines: Architecture meets Chemistry, Jazz meets Physics, Neuroscience meets Sustainability. Every day Monash staff and students are engaging with industry to generate innovative solutions to social, economic, scientific and medical challenges. Such collaboration has earnt Monash a strong reputation across Australia and internationally for delivering real social and economic results on a global scale.

With rapid world progress presenting a complex and competitive future, Monash has strengthened its entrepreneurial ambition. From finding a cure to a debilitating disease, establishing world-leading expertise in 3D additive manufacturing, to an inter-disciplinary project to bring water quality and sanitation to impoverished parts of the world, the Monash focus is to connect with and make a difference to the world.