Global innovation specialist, technology entrepreneur and CEO, Dr Tom Hajdu, has been appointed as South Australia’s first Chief Advisor on innovation.

Dr Hajdu will provide strategic advice to the State Government and help South Australia capitalise on the growing digital economy.

As the State’s Chief Advisor on innovation, he will continue his already extensive collaboration with government leaders and stakeholders and support the State Government’s policies and programs in attracting national and international entrepreneurs to South Australia.

Dr Hajdu’s appointment follows his key role in helping to establish GigCity Adelaide, which brings super-fast internet to 14 innovation precincts. He was also instrumental in developing the State’s partnership with US Ignite – an important international agreement.

Premier Jay Weatherill said South Australia had a proud history of innovation that had driven economic transformation and growth but now, new opportunities were emerging through the digital economy.

“The State Government is already laying the foundations to help startups and entrepreneurs develop their ideas and access capital and affordable high-speed internet – all from a vibrant, cultural and affordable city,” he said.

“Global innovators like Dr Hajdu will continue to support the State Government’s work around innovation and ensure we take advantage of major growth opportunities in the digital economy and create the high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

“Part of his job will be to disrupt our innovation system – to introduce new ideas and new ways of thinking and utilise his international connections to grow our digital economy.”

Incoming Chief Advisor for Innovation, Dr Tom Hajdu said over the past 20 years, the internet had been an economic catalyst, enabling productivity growth, facilitating innovation and creating new jobs.

“Across gig-enabled communities in the US, we have seen recent evidence of the next wave of digital innovation. Chattanooga in Tennessee is a perfect example of how high-speed internet has been an enabler of next generation technologies,” he said.

“With GigCity, Adelaide is smashing the tyranny of distance. We now have a seat at the table to participate in global innovation, enabling the city to become a place where start-ups and entrepreneurs can start and develop new ideas and attract clients from all over the world.”

About Dr Tom Hajdu

Tom Hajdu’s career connects leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Tom received a Distinguished Talent Visa from the Australian Federal Government. In his first 18 months as a resident, Tom conceived and led a key initiative that was adopted by the South Australian Government, which saw Adelaide become Australia’s first gigabit city. In 2017, the South Australian Government appointed Tom to the role of Chief Innovator of South Australia, responsible for innovation strategy for the South Australian economy.

Tom is also CEO of Disrupter, his US-based strategic innovation company. Over several years, this company has developed a way to create deeper and more creative strategic technologies. Disrupter recently launched two companies: Umbilical, a software development company, and uNET, a new network system.

Tom co-founded tomandandy, in 1990, where he and his cofounder helped reshape the role of music in film, television and advertising industries by introducing a new process that lowered music production costs to a fraction of previous levels while improving creative quality. He has collaborated with Oliver Stone, U2 and Lou Reed to name a few, he has worked with top brands such as Microsoft and Ford, as well as in film and TV Studios and best of breed advertising agencies worldwide.

Tom has sat on award juries and has spoken, chaired or given keynote speeches at the original TED Conference, CalTech/MIT Forum, DisruptSydney, Pepperdine University’s first Disruption Conference as well as several universities worldwide about strategic innovation and is a member of Sydney University’s Digital Disruption Research Group. He received a PhD and MFA degree from Princeton University and Presidential MBA from Pepperdine University.

Innovation initiatives in South Australia

Last year, the State Government invested $4.7 million to make Adelaide the first GigCity in Australia, installing high-speed internet that is 100 times faster than the national average, across key innovation precincts including Tonsley in Adelaide’s south and the Stretton Centre at Munno Para.

South Australia continues its strong leadership in innovation across industries such as 3D printing, automation and robotics, remote sensing technologies, and digital infrastructure, creating new opportunities for jobs and improved access to global markets.

As the first international city to join US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities Program, the State Government will work closely with local universities, startup companies and creatives to develop and share cutting-edge gigabit applications with other US Ignite communities to make Adelaide part of the global “gigabit community”.