Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Dateline: December 2015.

Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants the business community to become more innovative. He has set aside $1.1 Billion dollars for programs to foster innovation in our business community.

An ABC report trumpets, “The Federal Government will spend almost $1.1 billion in the next four years to promote business-based research, development and innovation. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his much-anticipated Innovation Statement in Canberra on Monday, saying he wanted to drive a so-called "ideas boom"”.

How successful will this be? Much is aimed at start ups with early stage investors in start-up businesses receiving a 20 per cent non-refundable tax offset and a capital gains tax exemption. Much of the technological breakthroughs are to be left to university research and CSIRO to discover and the new alliances and connections with business are to market and leverage the new products that result.
This Government program will set up the environment for money to be invested in new technology and new businesses, but is money all that is needed to generate innovation? It also needs a culture of innovation – something business hasn’t been good at to date. Otherwise if it had – this initiative wouldn’t be necessary.

So how does one magically make business innovative if simply adding money to the mix isn’t the answer?

Innovation can be manufactured – its a process and when followed can be created. It requires a deliberate strategy and effort to find new opportunities and uniquely be innovative. According to Alan Weiss in this book, “The Innovation Formula” there is four steps to innovation:
1.     Opportunity Search
2.     Opportunity Assessment
3.     Opportunity Development
4.     Opportunity Pursuit

Innovation “is the willingness to look at things with an open mind and to examine change in an objective, confident manner.”


For this Government initiative to be successful it will require a significant change in behaviour from existing businesses to be anywhere near as successful as the PM wants. Maybe that’s why he has loaded the new start concessions as heavily as he has – he knows the best chance of success is from those who don’t have an existing culture and mindset. It’s easier to create the mindset from scratch than it is to change an existing one. The challenge has now been laid down to existing business – change or innovation may overtake you.

© Copyright David Ogilvie 2015