Riff Sessions.

Digital in a post-pandemic world

We love to explore what our digital futures might look like.

From living a virtual existence to the end of truth or a life without trust, Something Digital relishes the chance to jump into potentially illusory realities to question the unintended consequences and implications of the technology at hand.

Little did we know that we would be thrust into our very own, real life sci-fi episode, not started by killer robots but by two unfortunate gene mutations.

Whilst this is creating multiple challenges to life as we know it, the pandemic is also showing us the inherent benefits of living in a digitally progressive society. We’re not socially distant – we’re digitally close and making the best of it.

The Riff Sessions was a series of 7 online sessions that examined our digital future in a post pandemic world. Where do the opportunities lie? How should we bridge the now and then? How will digital as we know it, change?

Summary + Recording Links

Riff 1: The Overview

  • Cat Matson, Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer, Brisbane Marketing
  • Marek Kowalkiewicz, Founding Director at QUT Centre for the Digital Economy

We kicked off the riffs with a bang with discussions ranged from tools to connect communities, through to inequality in this new digital world, in demand skills and what our new “normal” might look like.

Riff 2: The Business Perspective

  • Cat Matson, Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer, Brisbane Marketing
  • Llew Jury, Founder + Director of Advancer and Sprint

Our second riff ranged from pivoting a business to looking after your customers and tribe through to top tips to avoid during these unchartered times.

Riff 3: The Tech Perspective


  • Davey Gibian, Chief Business Officer Calypso AI + Former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow
  • Leanne Kemp, Founder and CEO of Everledger + Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur


Riff three went international with a deep and fast discussion on topics ranging from rapid deployment and tech debt, to supply chain challenges, country self sufficiency, long term remote teams, VR/AR evolution and more. 

Riff 4: The Academic Perspective

  • Dr Justine Lacey, Responsible Innovation Research Leader CSIRO
  • Prof Marek Kowalkiewicz, Founding Director at QUT Centre for the Digital Economy

A professor and a doctor walk into a Covid safe bar, sanitised their hands and sat in a suitably socially distanced manner …  

From trust in researchers to the notion of collective responsibility, true digital resilience and tracking our waste water, Riff four truly had something for everyone! 

Riff 5: A focus on the Future of Living


  • Anne Kovachevich, Australasian Foresight + Innovation Leader Arup
  • Josh Callaghan, COO, The REIQ


The goodness well and truly continued with riff 5. From remote workforces, the increasing importance of local communities and surrounding infrastructure and of course changes in public transport requirements … it was evident that the future of living is a topic that is front and centre for many at the moment.

Riff 6: A focus on Customer Trends


  • Katie James, Senior Digital Manager, flybuys
  • Kshira Saagar, Director of Data Science and Analytics, Global Fashion Group


Our sixth Riff Session turned the focus towards the customer, looking at how COVID has changed customer behaviour, what we can expect in the months (and years) ahead, opportunities that are up for grabs and how businesses can set themselves apart from the competition.


Oh and of course we discussed toilet paper + shopping trends our work wardrobes were replaced by activewear.

Riff 7: Digital Innovation vs Science


  • Dr Sarah Pearson, Deputy Director General of Innovation, Advance Queensland
  • Professor Paul Bertsch, Queensland Chief Scientist


In the midst of a global pandemic, it can be argued that these seemingly disparate industries have saved us.


And now, as we ease into our new normal, how do we leverage both digital innovation and science to drive economic resilience and future proof the road ahead.