Overall 78% of Australian businesses agree that innovation is very or extremely important. Two sectors in particular stood out, 94% of Healthcare and Assistance and 84% of Education and Training sector companies agreeing that innovation is very or extremely important. How will your industry compare?
While innovation is seen as important, only 38% of Australian businesses perceive themselves as being innovative. Millennials were more likely to believe their business was innovative (58% vs 38% overall). Do they choose to work for more innovative businesses or are they driving innovation?
Customer-centricity is the key driver behind innovation, with 58% of businesses agreeing they innovate to improve the customer experience or respond to changing customer needs. Other factors include gaining a competitive advantage and improving productivity and efficiency.
One of the most dominant forces, is a lack of funding with 1 in 2 businesses agreeing budget is a key inhibitor. Other common themes include company size, bureaucracy and a lack of resource to support innovation efforts, just to name a few.
1 in 3 businesses say reluctance to change is a barrier to succeeding – the third highest after budget restrictions and limited company size. Yet while businesses are struggling with change, many aren’t doing enough to combat it with just 11% of companies investing in change management.
On average, three innovation initiatives were implemented per company surveyed. The most common initiatives were processes for gathering employee ideas, fostering an innovative culture and implementing agile ways of working. But we can do more, across these initiatives 40% of businesses have only implemented 1 program.
When it comes to innovation, small businesses were half as likely to agree that they felt supported by the government, across funding, policy, skills and talent. Only 2 in 10 small businesses agree the Australian education system is helping develop the skills required to drive innovation.
So what are the companies perceived as being more innovative doing differently? Culture is a key differentiator, with 74% of innovative businesses agreeing they have an extremely strong culture of innovation and 69% who actively work on building a culture of innovation. They also place more importance on skills such as curiosity, independent thinking, digital literacy and data science.
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