It is winter here in South Australia and mornings are nice, particularly for startup companies enjoying a bit of sunshine.
We just won the startup of the year, iAward. The AIIA iAwards are the premier awards program for innovation in the Australian digital economy.
It was a total surprise. South Australia, home to only 1% of startups is yet to develop a culture of supporting startups and hopefully, this award will make a difference. School systems are notoriously conservative world over and South Australia is no exception. Too many schools find our proposition of empowering kids, to connect with natural laws using their favourite devices – too much of a change. While every session we have had with kids met with outstanding engagement and success – the reaction of grown-ups has been mixed. While school leaders see the obvious benefits, the issues involved in incorporating PhoneLabs tools and approaches are too often seen as too much of a challenge. But that is changing, as we are beginning to see teachers make innovative use of our apps. We plan to run PD workshops and work with teachers to develop ways of using PhoneLabs in teaching that would be suitable for their particular school.
Our focus is not limited to schools. We are focused on the world – on creating wonderful learning experiences for every kid on this planet. Our web apps are open source and will remain that way. So will much of our learning/teaching material. We are developing a growth model that is based on monetizing only a small portion of the value we create. We have made good progress in our global reach. We have interested forward thinking educationists in the UK, US, France, Thailand, and Singapore in our fresh new approach to learning. We are likely to see the common pattern of Australian innovation being adopted elsewhere first.
I like to thank the iAward committee for taking the extraordinary step of choosing a little-known company in Adelaide for the promise of change that it can deliver.