EP#102: A blueprint for innovation success with Michael Schwager

On today’s Work with Purpose episode, Director General of IP Australia, Michael Schwager tells IP Australia’s innovation success story, and how the broader public sector can follow in its steps.

Did you know that 57 per cent of IP Australia’s staff rate their culture as positively supporting innovation, 18 per cent higher than the APS average? Today, we hear from with Michael Schwager, Director General of IP Australia, about pioneering innovation in the public sector in conversation with host David Pembroke.

Michael shares how IP Australia balances risk and innovation to create a culture where new ideas thrive, and failures are learning opportunities. He also offers practical advice and examples from his experiences on how public sector bodies and individuals can drive forward-thinking initiatives.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Recent innovative success stories from IP Australia
  • Strategic frameworks used to balance risk and innovation
  • Risks worth taking vs no-go areas
  • How to ensure sustainable growth and productivity in your organisation
  • Implications of artificial intelligence on intellectual property.

Show notes:

Michael Schwager

Since 2018, Michael has served as director general of IP Australia, leading a customer-focused, digital-first strategy that spurred unprecedented growth in IP rights during the pandemic and positioned IP Australia as a hub for public sector innovation.

Before this role, Michael was the chief operating officer at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and briefly served as acting chief operating officer at CSIRO. His extensive career includes managing the $3B R&D tax incentive, developing policies for med-tech, pharma-bio, and small businesses, and attracting foreign investment into Australia’s high-tech industries. He also led trade and multilateral negotiations in food, agriculture, and energy.

From 2012 to 2015, Michael was minister-counsellor (industry, science, and education) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. He previously worked as a researcher and speechwriter in Parliament House and as an auditor for a multinational accounting firm. Michael holds a bachelor of economics and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.