Lack of “innovation culture” needs to be addressed: industry report

A culture shift is needed across research, industry and policy, Australia’s new innovation boss told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference yesterday.

Releasing the annual Australian Innovation System report, Innovation Australia chairman Bill Ferris said Australia’s research breakthroughs were among the best in the world, but he could not make “a similar boast about our ability to commercialise and get our fair share of the world's marketplace for this intellectual property and inventiveness."

…We are now at risk of squandering opportunities created by our highly credentialed R&D [research and development] platforms.”

The research. published by the Department of Industry, found that 75 per cent of Australian businesses were siloed or had no innovation culture, and cited an “inward-looking tendency” in this.

The report also highlighted the importance of start-ups to jobs growth, finding that between 2006 and 2011, 1.44 million full-time equivalent jobs were created by start-ups, while other firms shed over 400,000 positions.

There was also a reminder of Australia’s struggle to create a thriving venture capital environment, and investment in this area had not returned to pre-GFC levels.

“While Australia is performing slightly above the OECD median for later-stage investment, early-stage investments at 0.007 per cent of GDP are just half the OECD median,” the report noted.

The country's risk-averse culture will be a theme addressed in next month's innovation agenda, to be released by the federal government.

According to a statement from industry minister Chris Pyne, raising capital will be one pillar of the agenda, along with improving talents and skills and the commercisatioon of research.