Innovation ‘Blocked’ in Australian Businesses

Victoria, Australia – ‘Innovation efforts by Australian business are being blocked’ said Andrew McLellan of AMCRC today. He went on to explain that this is the unintentional effect of businesses not fully understanding the innovation barriers they face. They do not plan how to get round them or drive through them. This is serious, because innovation is a key to modern businesses prospering. No business can stand still – it has to advance or it will see profits decline.

‘Thinking small is a common barrier that limits growth and inhibits a drive to innovate’, said McLellan. He said that every business should be regularly revising its business model, and continuously improving it.

Too many companies are failing to exploit opportunities to easily expand their product ranges with obvious extensions – for example office suppliers extending their ranges to include print services or print design. That is a classic example of a business sector which could so easily be delivering much more to its customers. Innovation can be executed in so many ways, and service extension is a classic approach, provided always that it ‘close to the core’ and does appear to customers as loss of focus.

Innovating business processes is essential too. Social media is everywhere, and older businesses which fail to innovate in this area are storing up future problems – they will no longer engage with their changed markets in which social media is as normal as electric light. Facebook and Twitter have more than 1.2 billion users between them – many of whom are themselves businesses.

‘B2B or B2C – whether your customers are consumers or businesses – you have to engage with them using social media’ said McLellan. ‘You are not only locking in existing customers, but opening up access to a wider market base too.’

Innovative ideas are too often dismissed before they gain any traction, and this is one barrier to innovation that is easily dealt with. ‘Give every idea a chance of birth’ is a phrase to remember. Good ideas are hard to come by, but can transform a business. No matter how trivial an idea might at first seem, treat it with respect and evaluate it, remembering that more than one brain should be involved. For every 25 ideas which are analyzed, a business should be looking to develop or implement 1 or 2.

Finally, a failure to see cost cutting as an area for innovation reduces opportunities for profit improvement. Every area of a business’s products, processes and operations should be open to innovation – limited vision is a barrier too, and it is one that management does not always see.

For more information about Innovation Services please visit our website.

Andrew McLellan
Commercialisation Manager
Advanced Manufacturing Co-Operative Research Centre (AMCRC)
Level 2, 24 Wakefield St
Hawthorn 3122, Vic.
Phone: 03 9214 4780
Email: Andrew.Mclellan@amcrc.com.au