Welcome to the eighth edition of Conversations For Our Future! In this interview series we’ll be hearing from a diverse set of voices on how we can harness the pandemic to build a new global normal. I’ll be asking each interviewee the same three questions:
- What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
- In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a society? If so, how?
- How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
My guest today is Adj. Professor Warwick Powell. Warwick responses are truly insightful - especially pertinent is his discussion of the rise in anti-Asian racism. You can read his responses below.
About Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell
Warwick began his career in academia, teaching Chinese history and European cultural history at Griffith University. He graduated with First Class Honours and is the recipient of the prestigious University Medal for Academic Excellence. Warwick was also awarded a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade scholarship to undertake postgraduate studies at People’s University, Beijing. He deferred his studies to begin work for Kevin Rudd in the Queensland Government.
He is the chairman and founder of Sister City Partners Limited, a not-for-profit investment bank focusing on developing links between regional Australia and the markets of Asia. Through this work, Warwick has experience in diverse industries including cattle and sheep production and processing, information and communication technology, infrastructure, energy, natural resources, travel and tourism and property development.
He is a director of a number of funds management companies responsible for funds established under an ASIC-approved Australian Financial Services License. He is a member of the Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness Advisory Board and was the founding Treasurer of Innovation NQ Inc., a not-for-profit innovation incubator in North Queensland. He continues to teach professional courses in areas such as innovation, creativity, regional economic development and blockchain technology with James Cook University, QUT and Edith Cowan University.
What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
Warwick: A stronger focus on decentralised control of data to build more trustworthy information ecosystems. There is a growing focus on integrating decentralised finance and its possibilities with asset backed supply chain systems.
In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a global society? If so, how?
Warwick: It already has. E-commerce and home delivery has grown, and looks set to lock in. Unnecessary social exposure will be avoided eg grocery shopping. Social interaction will be more valued as a consequence, but less about the mundane aspects of life. We have however seen patterns of behaviour that are presently anti social in other respects - and I speak particularly of the rise of prejudice and racism. Asian people have been under verbal and physical threat and assault on greater numbers now than for a long time. The racism genie has escaped and will take a long time to put back.
How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
Warwick: Through our work in decentralised supply chain information systems we aim to fuse the power of decentralised finance to empower ordinary people to participate in new aspects of economic life previously controlled solely by large scale institutions. We aim to reduce and remove rent seeking in supply chain finance and bring greater accountability, behavioural responsibility and transparency to this space. Whether it’s food systems or property or artwork, through our research and education collaborations we aim to design better systems that reward desires behaviours and “nudge” away from unacceptable or harmful / exploitative practices.