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Kate is a multi-award winning game designer, innovation facilitator and explainer of the future.
Kate combines her naturally playful and engaging nature with her academic research background to deliver talks that are fun and accessible while also having depth and rigour. Audiences walk away inspired, informed and entertained. She has spoken at top academic and industry conferences, including SXSW (Austin), NXNE (Toronto) and TEDxPerth where has also worked as a speaker coach, and has been featured on MTV, NPR and in the pages of ELLE and the Australian Financial Review. She recently completed an Australia-wide speaking tour, hosted by the Australian Computer Society, where she spoke about the importance of playfulness, compassion and diversity in preparing for the future.
Kate has written for a variety of publications in Canada and Australia, including the Conversation and Kotaku, a top game industry news site. Kate has a technology and innovation column for the WA Business News and is a regular contributor to Scitech’s Particle, where she covers everything from the future of work and education to the latest video game console. Her ability to curate and explain key trends in an accessible way are rewarded by her articles being among some of those most read and shared. Her PhD on Facebook has also been in Curtin Library’s top 10 most downloaded (of all time!) list since it was published in 2012.
Kate’s award-winning mixed and augmented reality (MR/AR) games have been played all over the world, including at the National Theatre (London), Toronto International Film Festival and IndieCade (San Francisco). She is also the Founder of Playup Perth, a social night hosted by Spacecubed (Perth’s largest coworking hub) which connects the public with the local latest games and creative innovations. Running since 2013, the event has been instrumental in building and activating WA’s games industry.
Kate has worked with a wide variety of clients from different industries, including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Deakin University, Bankwest, RAC WA, Knowledge Week and Health Canada. She also recently advised the Western Australian government on their new STEM strategy and games industry funding pilot.
Kate has won multiple international awards for her work, including WAITTA Incite’s Achiever of the Year (2015/2016); the Australian Computer Society’s Digital Disruptor Professional Achiever of the Year (2016); and one of MCV Pacific’s 30 most influential women in games for three years running. This year she was named as one of the 40 under 40 in Western Australia.
She holds a PhD from Curtin University’s Department of Internet Studies, where she is also an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, and a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s New Media Lab, where she previously taught. Kate is a Member of Professional Speakers Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors as well as an Honorary Member of the Australian Computer Society.
The future will be playful: why you need to pay attention to games
Games and playful are kind of a big deal. This year it is estimated that the games industry will be worth $140 billion USD, which is bigger than both the film and music industry combined. And this is just games for entertainment, and does not include gamification, serious games or other adjacent industries or technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality (now being called XR).
At the same time, schools are finding that children no longer know how to play. All the while organisations are struggling to innovate and foster creativity to keep up with the massive changes happening in all aspects of society and business thanks to disruptive technologies.
In this talk, I will show how understanding and leveraging games as a culture, a mindset and as a process are critical to preparing for the future. Overall, we’ll uncover why we need playfulness now more than ever.
The future of education (or, disrupting the disruption of education)
Often, disrupting educating means reducing student to teacher ratios, or replacing teachers entirely. But the most transformative and powerful experiences for students often come from mentoring and working in small groups. Based on nearly 10 years teaching adults and young adults at the graduate and undergraduate level in Canada and Australia combined with a deep understanding of new and emerging technologies, Dr. Kate will provide an overview of how technologies can best assist teachers in supporting students and enhancing educational outcomes. Overall, she will show how the future will indeed be human.
How to make the future not scary
In the 2000s, the internet and social media changed the way we work and live. Now multiple disruptive and transformative technologies are on the horizon. From virtual, augmented and mixed reality (XR) to blockchain to automation, we are in a time of accelerated change, and accelerated anxiety. Yet with change also comes the potential for a bright future. But how do we get there ensuring a positive future for all?
Kate will draw on exciting real world case studies from Australia and beyond to provide a glimpse into what the future might hold for how we live, work, learn and play. And using these case studies, Kate will show why and how diversity, playfulness and compassion are keys to a bright future.
You will learn how the aerospace industry is using mixed reality to train astronauts and how the resource sector is using virtual reality to improve safety on worksites. You'll discover how blockchain (the asset platform behind bitcoin) is being used for clean energy distribution and how citizen science, big data and algorithms are being used for drug-free, effective contraception.
Overall, Kate reminds us that we are the ones deciding our future. And we can choose to make it a good one.
Diversity as a competitive advantage
Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams are not only more effective, but also more innovative. So, improving organisational diversity is not just about doing the right thing – it can have a clear return on investment. Women are now key consumers in areas seen as male only — for example 50% of gamers are now women yet only 10% of those creating those games are actually women — diverse companies will have a huge advantage in creating products that have appeal beyond the traditional demographic. Kate will outline the why and how of supporting diversity, including a number of actionable steps you can use right away.
Think you know reality? Think again! VR/AR/MR (XR?) Explained
Pokemon Go took augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream.
PlayStation launched its very own virtual reality (VR) platform
in late 2016, making VR accessible to the masses. Microsoft’s Hololens mixes the
two, creating mixed reality (MR) experiences which overlay virtual holograms into the real
world. The next big wave of technology will see the virtual and the real, the physical and
the digital merging together. These changes will have tremendous implications for the
way we work, live, play and learn. This presentation is designed to
provide you with the fundamentals of VR/AR/MR.
• The state of play with current VR/AR/MR technologies and what’s on
• How the technology is already being used by major companies for
training and marketing
• How VR/AR is changing how we work with tools like augmented reality
• Where these technologies are headed and what is driving adoption.
• What VR/AR might mean for privacy and health.