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Why Innovation Matters

Here, Innovation matters at all levels – individual, organisational and international:



Desire conquers all when it comes to innovation strategy. It is more important than financial viability or technical feasibility because, if our desire for the innovation is strong enough, it will generally find a way to manifest over time.Thanks to advancements in medical science, we are all living a little longer. According to the World Health Organisation, global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960’s. In Australia, life expectancy is now 12 years above the global average. Longer life means longer working careers and the need to reinvent ourselves (potentially multiple times) as the requisite market skill sets change. A recent study by JobsforNSW highlights the need to increase work participation in the over 65 age bracket for this reason (Jobs for the Future Report Summary). This job mobility is already evident in our younger workforce, with Bureau of Labour Statistics pointing out that the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before the age of forty.The need to adapt will be accelerated by the rise of artificial intelligence and automation. The ABC recently released a tool showing how much of your job can be automated, showing that most professions will be affected in some way (Could a Robot do your Job?).


The 2016 Australian Innovation System Report released by the Chief Economist states that innovative businesses out-perform ‘non-innovative-active’ businesses with 1.4x higher income from sales of goods or services. CEB (now Gartner) echo this reality. Their Inventor to Innovator research points to R&D companies with ‘high innovation-potential’ producing (on average) $1.4 billion of additional sales each year for each $10 billion of revenue.


In JobsforNSW’s Jobs of the Future report, high-growth small and medium enterprises that make up just 6% of NSW firms were found to create over 1 million new jobs over the past 6 years , more than offsetting jobs that larger firms shed. The success of these high-growth SME’s, also known as gazelles, is where the majority of jobs growth comes from (Jobs for the Future Report Summary).Australia fell to 23rd from 19th in the 2017 global Innovation index, scoring relatively high in Human capital and research but comparatively low in knowledge and technology outputs. (Global Innovation Index)The ability of any country to keep innovating and providing value-added offerings on the international stage may ultimately be the only form of insurance that is possible for continued economic prosperity in the face of increasing globalisation.