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“The answer lies in Industry 5.0: 

Purpose and how we want the world to be.”

Anchor 1

Dr Cath's Story

One of my earliest memories is from the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s.  My mum remembers me asking endless questions about how we could let something like that happen.  Mum didn’t have all the answers.  I can revisit that memory by watching the news article that was on the BBC over 30 years ago today on YouTube.

“Humans can do terrible things”

I also remember the Live Aid concerts, and the performances on the telly, chatter on the radio, and endless music sessions delivered by cassette tape.  People donating, rock stars getting angry, children asking unending questions about ‘why’ these things happen.  Even with events today we still find people fighting against the dark.

“Humans can do extraordinarily good  things”

Looking to the future now, with my two children, I wonder what their ‘Ethopian Famine’ moment will be.  Bushfires? Floods? The Bee Crisis? Climate Change? Killer Robots? And I also wonder what can be done right now to stop those terrible moments from happening.  Where and how and when can we make the choice to do extraordinarily good things? 


Industry 5.0 (the next (5th) industrial revolution) should tip the invisible hands of economics towards a purpose-driven economy, and let it be a natural transition via investors, subsidies, government policy, and media campaigns.  But Industry 5.0 won’t be able to reach its full potential unless we all care enough to act accordingly.  The future of work is already here, it is just not distributed the same way across different socio-economic, gender, nor geographical locations. 

Australia has the capability to become a lighthouse for #techforgood and other purpose-for-profit business models.


I started getting into entrepreneurship because I had identified a number of gaps between technical capability and tangible action.  We have technologies that can be applied to do some amazingly good work, but there are management, insurance, business-culture, and other human reasons why these changes are not making it to business as usual in a traditional economic model.  The start-up ecosystem is fundamental to creating and curating innovation at low risk to traditional, large business. 


A good friend of mine survived a terrible terrorist act.  When asked what advice people should be given when watching such horror unfold she said to me “look for the people helping”. And the same can be said for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) community: There are always people investigating new ways of doing things, trying to help, working on a better way.  From cancer drugs to ethical artificial intelligence, from methods of clean up for ocean plastics to using drones to monitor endangered species.  If we can focus on the good that people are doing and share it across our networks then we amplify the voices of the excellent people doing extraordinarily good things.


Interesting opportunities are emerging from the digital technology space that will help people feel like they’re actually making a difference, this should encourage others to build purpose into their business models, whilst satisfying shareholders.


My works are a long love letter to my sons.  After all, the future is theirs. 

“I just hope we leave them a good one”

Dr Cath's Bio

Associate Professor, Dr Catherine Ball is a scientific futurist, speaker,  advisor, author, founder, executive producer, executive director and company director working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education and environmental needs. Catherine also likes to create businesses and champion movements, collaborate with peers, and advise game-changers.


A sought-after voice across the start-up, futurist and tech world, Catherine works globally across a wide range of projects from creating documentaries and world leading conferences and events, to advising on the use of novel approaches (e.g. drones) across environmental and humanitarian projects. Catherine is a proponent of community engagement with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and likes to demystify emerging tech.


Having been called a ‘social architect’, Catherine likes to connect people from different backgrounds across common themes. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Catherine believes we need points of difference to truly innovate and curate the changes we want to see in the world. Working to protect the natural environment and empowering all members of society through mutual education are core aspects of the projects Catherine chooses to spend her time and energy on.


Catherine continues to support Australia as being the world leader in the advancement of ethically driven technological applications. Industry 5.0 is emerging; with society and community at the heart of how we operate and curate emerging trends and capabilities. Catherine lives in Queensland with her husband and two sons.


Catherine holds a BSc Honours (Environmental Protection) and a PhD (Spatial Ecology, Descriptive and Predictive Statistics) from the University of Newcastle- upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom.


2023 - DSc (Honoris Causa) Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2020 – Lord Mayor's Business Awards: Outstanding Micro Business Winner

2020 – Analytics Insight World’s 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics Award

2018 – Drone World UAV Congress 2018: Global UAV Award

2017 – AFR’s BOSS Magazine True Leaders Game Changers

2017 – Women in Leadership Awards – Finalist Innovation Category

2016 – Financial Review & Westpac 100 Woman of Influence

2016 – Top 25 Women in Robotics List

2016 – Courier Mail QBM Magazine: 25 Influential Movers and Shakers of Queensland

2015 – AFR’s BOSS Magazine Young Executives of the Year Winner

2015 – National Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Corporate and Private Award

2015 – Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards Winner

2015 – Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Queensland Corporate and Private Awards Winner. 

2015 – Innovator of Influence at Innovation Week 

2015 – Courier Mail Q Magazine: Queensland 50 Best and Brightest 

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