About Us

The Centre for Digital Business is a digital services and AI company.

We are an independent Australian international organization recognised for its expertise and achievements as a global entrepreneurial thought leader and practitioner in the field of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and innovation.

Our global public and private sector experience covers strategy; policy; design; the delivery of significant government and business transformation initiatives; international technology strategy and sales; and board and independent expert advisory roles.

We incubate projects and concepts on artificial intelligence, digital service innovation and co-design.

We take our independent thought and creativity seriously, which provides great latitude to challenge, innovate, and accelerate and challenge thinking. We believe the digital era provides society with a new approach to addressing disadvantage, and we are committed to an ethos of philanthropy and the advancement and mentoring of women and start-ups.  The Centre for Digital Business supports the Indigenous Marathon Project.

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Marie Johnson

Managing Director & Chief Digital Officer

◆AFR Top 100 Influential Women ◆

◆Co-Creator “Nadia” AI ◆

◆ Global Tech Award Winner ◆ 

◆CIO of the Year ◆


Industry Experience

  • Artificial Intelligence; co-design
  • High Tech
  • Board Advisory; Start-Up Mentor
  • Government: Revenue, Immigration, Social Services, Business & Industry, Intelligence, Payments, Digital Identity, Disability Services
  • Global Technology Strategy & Sales
  • Consulting; Financial Services


  • Bachelor of Arts: Deakin University
  • MBA:  Melbourne Business School, focussing on innovation, technology & ecommerce
  • Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellows Program
  • Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors


Marie is an internationally experienced entrepreneur recognised within the global digital community as an innovator, trusted advisor, skilful executive and thought provoking commentator. Marie explores radical innovation and questions thinking which doesn’t prepare us for the future.

She operates at the intersection of the human experience and systems thinking where co-design reveals boundless potential.  She believes that artificial intelligence is not artificial, but a creative liberating humanising power, that will truly transform the interactions between people.

Across government and internationally, Marie has delivered significant technology, innovation and digital services transformation programs across revenue, business, social services, payments, identity, immigration visa operations and disability services.

Marie is the co-creator of “Nadia” and led the global co-design and co-creation effort with people with disability to deliver “Nadia” the world’s first artificial intelligent digital human for service delivery.

Marie and Allan are now working on their next AI humanitarian effort – bringing to life the AI digital human cardiac coach.

Marie has been at the forefront of digital transformation for many years.  In 1999 Marie published an article based on her research at the Melbourne Business School, “Cyber Sector Set for Power Shift: An Electronic Revolution is About to Rock the World of Financial Services“, predicting the digital disruption of the financial sector. That same year, she led one of Australia’s first successful electronic business projects to transform payments at the State Revenue Office of Victoria.

In 2005 the US Government awarded Marie an O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business and recognized internationally) to take up the role of Microsoft Worldwide Executive Director of Public Services and eGovernment.  Microsoft noted that Marie’s egovernment “…knowledge is unique in the world and is of particular interest to Microsoft as we pursue our egovernment strategies”.

She was head-hunted back to Australia by the Australian Government as the Chief Technology Architect of the Australian Government Health and Human Services Access Card program. Of note, Marie led the concept innovation and delivery of the the BasicsCard. Subsequently at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia, Marie initiated the concept, business case and delivery of the Visa Pricing Transformation (VPT) programme – creating a differential pricing model for visas enabled by a digital platform – raising an estimated $700 million additional revenue for the Australian Government.

For many years, Marie was an invited member of the Accenture Global CIO Advisory Council; and an Independent Member of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Spectrum Programme Board.

For four and a half years, Marie was a National Board Director of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) the peak industry body for the Australian technology industry.

Marie an advisory member of the NSW Digital Government Advisory Panel; and a member of NZTech.

In 2018, Marie was introduced as one of the global community of Singularity University Exponential Medicine #XMed #DigitalVanguard.

Her efforts and achievements have been recognised internationally and in Australia.

This include the United Nations Public Service Award in the category “Application of ICT in government: egovernment” for the Business Entry Point ( which she led for 5 years; and the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Prime Minister’s Award for the concept development and delivery of the BasicsCard, an innovative payments system.

In 2006-2007, Marie was named “Innovative CIO of the Year – Australia”. In 2013, Marie was named one of Australia’s “100 Women of Influence”.

Marie is sought after internationally as a speaker and commentator on topics such as artificial intelligence, digital disruption, digital identity, and innovation.

Marie is an active supporter of cardiac health and cancer research as a donor, fundraiser and active participant. This included shaving her head (yep, bald) for the World’s Greatest Shave, and running the 2012 London Marathon which together with a team of 10 raised more than $100,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Al (Allan) Johnson

Director Health and Safety Innovation                                      

Al Johnson








Industry Experience

  • Health and Fitness Wearable and Applications Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems
  • Cardiac Health Rehabilitation
  • Cardiac Health Education
  • Personal Training and Group Fitness
  • Australian Health Sector ERP and Supply Chain
  • Hong Kong Health ERP and Systems Integration
  • SAP/ERP in Utilities, Rail, Chemicals, Mining, Aviation and Air Traffic Management
  • Bid and Project Management in Australia, USA, S.E. Asia and Middle East


  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) – UTS
  • Master of Business Capital Project Management
  • Certificate 3 Gym Instructor
  • Certificate 4 Personal Trainer
  • Heartmoves Leader
  • Kinetic Link Training Level 1
  • Schwinn Cycle Instructor


Al (Allan) Johnson is the Director Health and Safety Innovation at the Centre for Digital Business. Al’s interest in fitness started as a teenager playing rugby league, rugby union, tennis and golf, and pursuing his interest in surfing, cycling and running.

This interest continued when he joined the RAAF as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer, competing in running and touch football in particular. Whilst in the RAAF Al’s interest in health began with several roles covering occupational health and safety and industrial safety. He was also sponsored by Defence to do his Master of Business and undertook research into expert systems, the fore-runner of artificial intelligence, as part of that program.

Al began a career in management consulting after leaving the RAAF and was initially exposed to the health and safety requirements across major heavy industries as part of his work recommending and delivering ERP systems covering plant maintenance, human resources and OH&S. He became a specialist in health and hospital systems, and has worked in both Australia and Hong Kong with major hospitals and health authorities.

As part of his own health and fitness journey Al has completed several half marathons and a full marathon in his 50s, and completed numerous qualifications and short courses in the fitness sector; for example, he is a Fitness Australia Level 2 Registered Personal Trainer and qualified Schwinn Cycle Instructor. He has performed volunteer work with cardiac rehabilitation for many years and is a sought-after speaker at events such as the NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation State Conference, National Heart Foundation Conference, National Heart Foundation Ambassador Program and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Welcome to the Profession. Al has also volunteered in various neurology research programs and attended conferences on learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Al’s efforts have been recognised by organisations such as Fitness First where he was a finalist in their New You Awards in the Health Category.

All of this led to Al researching how artificial intelligence, digital applications, wearable technology and accessibility features could help with rehabilitation and secondary prevention of chronic health diseases and conditions. Looking forward, he is combining this research with his early experience in expert systems and industry and the latest developments in artificial intelligence and digital humans to develop innovative solutions for personal and community health and safety.

In addition to his volunteer activities, Al mentors young business people and has participated in fundraising activities for cancer research and disability housing, amongst others.

Our Ethos

The Centre for Digital Business believes in giving back to the community, mentoring women and start-ups, and developing emerging leaders.  Over the years, our team have been involved in activities which have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities.  We believe that a commitment to health and fitness is an essential part of personal and professional growth and resilience.

We also believe that individuals and small businesses can make a big difference and every dollar counts –this is made all the more achievable and impactful in the digital world.

The Centre for Digital Business is pleased to be a supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

Indigenous Marathon Project

About the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP):

IMP uses the marathon as a vehicle to promote healthy lifestyles to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Running is accessible to any age, ability and location and has the tremendous power to install a sense of personal accomplishment when one has pushed beyond what they thought possible.

The project annually selects a group of young Indigenous men and women to complete the New York City Marathon with just 6 months of training. This highlights the incredible natural talent that exists within this population, with the hope to one day unearth an Indigenous long distance running champion to take on the African dominance.

The project uses running to change lives. The core running squad push their physical and mental boundaries to a whole new level, and after crossing the finish line of the biggest marathon in the world they know they can achieve anything. These runners are trained to become healthy lifestyle leaders by completing a Certificate IV in Health and Leisure with a focus on Indigenous Healthy Lifestyle. This qualification is used to promote community based health and exercise initiatives including the Deadly Fun Run Series. Runners become role models within their communities and are leaders in the promotion of health and physical exercise to address the high instance of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and renal failure.

Robert De Castella is the Ditrector of the Indigenous Marathon Project.