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Why innovation isn’t a core value for 75% of Australian businesses

04 Feb 2019

Ricoh announced the findings of its Workplace Innovation Index, a look into the challenges Australian organisations face with driving innovation and adapting to change.

In a survey of business leaders conducted on behalf of Ricoh by StollzNow Research, only one-quarter (25%) believe innovation is core to their business, however, a solid 40% believe they must innovate for survival. 

Additionally, nearly two-thirds of business leaders believe they have the capability to drive innovation programs.

Australian organisations supposedly have the talent to innovate but lack a strategic focus or sense of urgency to bring new ideas to life.

While slightly more than one in four business leaders (26%) say innovation is important, they concede the organisation is tied down with a need to focus on current operations.

Ricoh Australia CEO Andy Berry says, “In today’s rapidly changing economy, innovation is a must and should not be seen as a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘department’.  

“The research reveals significant disparities between what Australian organisations are pursuing and what is seen as important.”

“We know innovation can deliver operational improvements and new business opportunities, but we’re not elevating its strategic value, from the boardroom to front-line staff.”

Leadership from the CEO and unit managers is vital for creating an innovative workplace and the study found an overwhelming 82% of business leaders believe innovation starts with senior management.

According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, Australia ranks down at number 20 in the list, behind much smaller economies such as Ireland and Luxembourg. Aussies are also the first in the list to be rated with an income group ‘weakness’, with an overall score of 52.00.

Despite a stable, medium-sized economy (Australia is ranked 13 for GDP) and good ideas, Australia still has a lot of work to do to lift innovation prowess to stay ahead of the fast-paced global economy.

Global research by IDC found 86% of organisations are still “laggards” or “followers” when it comes to innovation. And only 14% are above average or “leaders”.

In Australia, Ricoh’s Workplace Innovation Index scores Australian companies 68 out of 100, which is less than ideal and shows Aussies still have a way to go to develop the digital workplace – an essential building block for innovation.

The index is an average of key workplace efficiency and innovation attitudes. Factors include attitudes towards innovation; processes for evaluating needs of staff; internal processes; the value of collaboration; and senior management’s vision for introducing innovation programs.

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