The Innovation Upside of COVID-19 - Dr Pradeep Philip’s Novel Response

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05 May 2020

Pictured: MTPConnect Managing Director & CEO Dr Dan Grant, Chief Operating Officer Stuart Dignam and Deloitte Access Economics' Lead Partner Dr Pradeep Philip recording in the virtual podcast studio.

Over the last few months, as the world has seen the COVID-19 health emergency unravel, there has been dramatic social and economic change. 

In a recent podcast episode, our podcast team – Dr Dan Grant and Stuart Dignam – asked our guest, economist Dr Pradeep Philip from Deloitte Access Economics: how will Australia navigate its medical research and innovation response in a world impacted by COVID-19?

Dr Philip has had a distinguished career in public policy and health administration as a senior bureaucrat, working as Director of Policy in the Prime Minister’s office, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria and Associate Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Queensland. He was also the Founding CEO of LaunchVic - a company established by the Victorian Government to promote start-ups and entrepreneurship and he sits on the Board of the MedTech Actuator, Australia’s national medtech accelerator.

Dr Phillip adds that his past roles in public policy have informed his views on how Australia has responded to crises in the past.

“We’ve always known that crises like this were possible, this is not a Black Swan event, this is something that we’ve known about, but we just haven’t taken enough notice of,” Dr Philip added.

“A little while ago we had the global financial crisis in 2008/2009, so we’ve known that crises are around the corner, and we’ve also had regular hits around Australia like natural disasters, and these things tell us that the way we should view the world is not in narrowed siloed terms, but in a series of inter-related community factors and events to take a system view.

“If we do that then we realise that crises are a normal part of systems, but you have to think about them and have some scenarios to be ready and you hope they never eventuate.

“But what has been really good, is that we’ve seen our Chief Health Officers and senior officials around the country, who have acted pretty quickly in dealing with this pandemic.”

He says the way we tackle the pandemic is an opportunity for Australia to create a COVID-safe economy, increase research collaboration and harness new technology.

“We can make choices now, that’s one of the things that is coming out of this crisis, we have choices that we can make to re-capitalise, to re-invent, to modernise, to up-skill, so that what we have as recovery takes hold is a sharper more value-added economy in which people can flourish,” Dr Philip explained.

“Necessity can be the mother of innovation... and we are seeing that now and in a public health crisis, this is spurring on activity and innovation.

“We are seeing the ecosystem coalesce to try and solve the problems because at the end of the day that’s really where success and innovation comes from - by solving problems.

“I think the collaboration that we are starting to see with people from different parts of the economy with different expertise, whether it’s analytics or AI, are coming together to solve one of societies greatest problems right now.”

You can listen to more of Pradeep’s chat with Dan and Stuart, by subscribing to our podcast.