By Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor Michael Powell

The opening of the Griffith Business School’s new building on the Gold Coast represents a milestone in a remarkable journey of transformation and growth.

On one hand it is exciting to celebrate the official opening and all the opportunities and inspiration it will bring to our students and our academic staff.

On the other it is worth noting this building represents a new era for business education, business research and business growth on the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast is an emerging city now with an increasingly formidable education sector and the role Griffith University has played in that makes us immensely proud.

For many years, the city has been working hard to diversify its economy. The important pillars of development, property and tourism are dynamic industries to be involved in and the Gold Coast has prospered over the decades on the back of them.

But in tougher times they are overly exposed to powerful external forces which can leave the local economy brittle.

Education has evolved and grown to become a fourth economic pillar for the Gold Coast. Indeed, an Ernst & Young analysis showed Griffith alone contributes almost 3 per cent of the city’s economy, with 4908 direct jobs and more than 2000 indirect jobs, with a total economic contribution of $585.8 million a year.

It really is a big business now.

And becoming a big business should be the goal of many smaller and mediumsized enterprises on the Coast. This is a clear pathway to greater diversity and security from fickle economic cycles. Rather than importing new industries or big events, the Gold Coast needs to grow its existing base.

The smaller IT firms, design enterprises, the light manufacturers, the service industries — if they all grew by a few percent a year, very soon the city would have a rich tapestry of wealth, creativity, and opportunity.

The cornerstone to this diverse growth will be innovation; specifically innovation by design.

The Gold Coast proudly marches to a different beat and this independent thinking has led to great innovation. It is also an approach that is at the heart of what Griffith believes, teaches and practises.

We have seen great Gold Coast businesses emerge, grow and prosper on the back of innovative design.

It is great to see Griffith graduates at the forefront of this new era.