2018 – The year of innovation on steroids

By Kathy McKenzie – Director of FIREUP Coaching


What are you doing about being innovative in your business or practise for 2018? FIREUP has seen massive changes in 2017 with me relocating to the Sunshine Coast whilst still maintaining our great team in Victoria.  Change however does not mean innovation and the challenge for all of us to be constantly think forward so that we stay current and relevant to all our clients. One of the greatest opportunities is for utilising technology far more effectively and imagining what is possible. If you have enormous wisdom and knowledge in your field you need to keep up to avoid the risk of being replaced by a creative IT literate who makes your knowledge or skills easier and cheaper to access.

Yesterday I attended a Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation workshop for start up businesses and although FIREUP is 20 years old this month (far from being a start up)  one of the business advocates in this area thought I would be interested in the presentation on the technology being used for learning at Sunshine Coast University.  To say that I found it interesting would not quite capture the emotions I felt watching Justin Riddell setting up his VR goggles and asking who would like to swim with the dolphins.  I was fascinated as he sat on the floor with his funny headset on playing with his tablet and accessing the lesson he was about to present to us.  I was not sure what he was doing but soon realised that he was introducing us to the new world of learning and education. This is the technology that will engage and educate the next generations. You put the virtual reality headsets on and you are transported to all sorts of wonderful virtual realities.  The demonstration on learning about the heart was just amazing – far more interesting than my preliminary training in nursing and far less terrifying to know that you are practising something and learning until you are confident in the real situation.

I am not sure whether I was blown away impressed or overwhelmed and terrified at how fast technology is moving.   Justin Riddell is the Interactive Media Developer and Engage Research Developer Lab Manager at Sunshine Coast University and he was just so excited to be showing us the augmented realities and talking about their Bachelor of Serious Gaming.  Now as someone who has never touched a playstation or xbox I left feeling like I needed to head straight to Brisbane and nudge my nephews out of the way and start learning (or should I say playing!)

The world of augmented reality, Microsoft HoloLens and VR Box goggles was foreign to me until yesterday. (Justin recommends the VR Box will be a huge hit in the Christmas Stocking if you want to look like a cool adult who is up with the latest in virtual reality headsets). Once you have your VR Box goggles you then download Google Cardboard which is ” a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, the platform is intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR applications.” (thanks Google).  To think I thought Zoom was cool 4 months ago!

It was interesting to hear Justin say that often he goes to schools where the students and teachers alike are wowed by the technology and didn’t even know that the tablets and smart phones they already had were capable of all of this with just the additional purchase of a pair of $15 goggles online.  My order has gone in!

Prioritising how you are going to be more innovative in the area of technology and learning how it can support your business to grow is an essential for 2018.

Our next innovation will be much greater utilisation of our Learner Management System.  We are excited that our inaugural program for the Sunshine Coast is going to be a sell out and Melbourne is not far behind and we will be taking advantage of Zoom and Zing to create greater  engagement in and out of class.

I am also off to check out the Sunshine Coast University learning labs and see what we can do to launch into virtual reality with training.

Make 2018 your year for innovating your thinking – our new course dates are out now so book early to avoid missing out.


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