In the contemporary period, the idea of a ‘national economy’ in Australia is continually reinforced by national discourses of competitiveness and innovation. Our past, as described by Turnbull in his idea’s boom speech, has relied too much on the mining boom and has subsequently condensed other industries. However, unless there is a leap in investment and a long-term effort to innovate in “what we are good at producing”, a downward trend in the wealth of the original country is to be feared.
Undeniably, we live in the so-called “digital age” and innovation has formed an important role in our modern society. It plays a key role for medical and environmental improvements, and by its commercialisation, the digital industry also has potential material economic impact. Thus, it is crucial to fully understand innovation’s drivers and processes – from both a socio-economic and a business perspective. Within this scope, adequacy financing the major players of this industry, the predominantly young and highly-innovative companies, is a major factor of success.
Furthermore, empirical evidence shows that start-up firms play a vital role in the advancement of the digital industry, mainly due to their function of serving as a technology transfer mechanism to bring research from the academia to the marketplace. In fact, according to PWC, the Australian tech start-up sector has the potential to contribute $109 billion, or 4% of GDP, to the Australian economy and 540,000 jobs by 2033.
However, for start-ups, commercialisation can pose a major roadblock in accelerating innovation. In fact, the commercialisation of innovation is often caricatured as the melancholic term, ‘the valley of death’. In relation to this, the 2015 Australian Innovation System Report, released last year by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, stated that Australia is exceptional when it comes to research, but the nation is still struggling to commercialise its innovations. The report was launched by Bill Ferris, chair of Innovation Australia, who noted our lack of commercialisation risked squandering opportunities created by our highly credentialed research and development (R&D) platforms.
Indeed, to gain a competitive edge on a global scale, our businesses need to fully harness emerging technology trends and embrace a culture of innovation. For instance, the 2015 Australian Innovation System Report stated that 75 percent of all Australian business have ‘siloed’ or have no innovation culture at all. Indeed, progress will always require the spark of creativity and innovation, however, it also benefits from an environment and culture that nurtures ideas.
Consequently, crossing the valley of death requires not just focusing on inventions, start-ups, and creativity but also having a holistic business focus on commercialisation and improving individual businesses market orientation. In fact, the level of market orientation found within a business and its ability to be proactive in pursuit of market opportunities has been identified as playing a significant role in enhancing new product development and overall innovation.
Are you interested in discussing innovation and commercialisation further?
Our InnovationCAFE 2016 is quickly approaching and will aim to explore the importance of innovation in Australia’s economic future. Taking place in four cities across Australia, be inspired and informed by relevant topics covering business-related areas of innovation, including:
• Productivity – Working closer with the university sector; considering an appropriate balance between access to ideas and products; innovation-led growth and investment.
• Innovation Culture – Identifying, attracting, growing, retaining and mentoring the right talent (from as early as high school).
• Commercialisation – Moving from an idea to a business.