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Last night was the announcement of the winners of the annual BRW Client Choice Awards.

Each year Beaton Consulting compiles the opinions of large professional service clients – this year 40,000 of them – who collectively select the best professional service firms in Australia. The results are announced at a gala dinner and published in BRW magazine.

The full list of winners is here. The magazine’s lead article on the awards Client choice awards: Savvy, digital, global: the face of the new professional, provides interesting insights into the state of the professions in Australia.

I gave the guest keynote at the event, with the intent of providing inspirational yet light-hearted perspectives on the awards.

My theme was “Creating Australia’s Future”, about how professional services firms are at the heart of Australia’s (and all developed countries’) future.

The core of the message I covered was that:

* Our economic history is largely about the shift from the tangible to the intangible. Despite the mining boom the sector accounts for just 8% of the Australian economy, and the weightless economy accounts for 76% – and growing – of value-add. The figures for some other developed countries are even higher.

* We are shifting to an age of excellence, in which ever-increasing expectations are driving service levels to exceptional levels. Those who do not respond to this will not survive.

* In a connected world, if you do not have world-class expertise, you are a commodity. However if you do have world-class expertise, there are unparalleled opportunities opening up to you.

* Australia is enormously well positioned to benefit from the rise of Asia, as we are gradually becoming a true Asian nation, and have exceptionally relevant expertise to share to aid the development of the region.

* As we ourselves were inspired to a path of excellence early in our careers, we must provide an example that will inspire others to their own path of excellence.

It was a fantastic night celebrating professional excellence, well supporting the optimism for the future of professional services that was at the heart of my keynote.

For the most current insights and trends in the living networks, follow @rossdawson on Twitter!

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About the Blog author

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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