Industry report optimistic about Australian innovation

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Almost half of Australian businesses are innovating, according to a new industry report, which examines the strength of high-growth firms.

The Australian Innovation System Report, which was released this week by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, expresses that Australian companies tend to specialise in modifying innovations introduced by other domestic firms.

However, it goes on to explain that new-to-market innovations are not nearly as common and that Australia ranks in the bottom half of the OECD for collaboration for innovation.

Despite some decline in business dynamism, the report found that Australia’s entrepreneurial attitudes remain positive.

“Australia is in the throes of an economic transition,” said Mark Cully, the Department of Industry’s chief economist.

“The incredible mining boom of the past 15 years is nearing the end of its final phase: large increases in production volumes as new investment projects have come on stream.

“While we have avoided this time the boom-then-bust cycle of previous episodes, economic growth has been weak — reflected in four years of living standards at a standstill — held back by population ageing, faltering global trade and the lingering legacy of the global financial crisis.”

Despite this, Cully says he remains optimistic about Australia’s future as an innovative nation and is “highly capable of adapting to change”.

The report quantifies the contribution of high-growth firms to the Australian economy and assesses whether innovation plays a role in their growth.

It also brings together a range of indicators and highlights important aspects of innovation and firm growth to empower Australia’s future innovators.

“Our firms are amongst the most innovation-active in the world and our research has global impact,” Cully continued.

“From what we can see of the future — new digital technologies like 3D printing, quantum computing, blockchain and artificial intelligence — it holds enticing opportunities for our innovators and entrepreneurs to capitalise on.

“While innovation involves a multitude of players, businesses play the vital role of bringing new ideas and better ways of doing things to commercial fruition.”