Innovation Mission Accomplished – Insights From the Valley

27 November 2015

Article by Geoff Elliott, Joint Managing Partner – Corporate & Financial Comunications at GRACosway, and Niels Marquardt, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia

Innovation has been given plenty of currency in Australia’s political and economic narrative of late – in no small part because of the first speech from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on the night of his ascension to the nation’s top job. “The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, and that is creative,” he said.

It is something on which all sides of politics can surely agree – it’s how we create the conditions to drive this innovation that is at the heart of this renewed debate. Tax breaks for start-ups as well as incentives and new investment mandates for our $2 trillion superannuation system will surely be part of the mix.

But let’s step back. Innovation. Its etymology is important here. It is about renewal, a new and more efficient way of doings things. Innovation is at the heart of digital disruption we are witnessing – across the media industry, in the way we bank, travel, and engage with the health system. Even the way we engage as parents with our children – well, try as we might, as they remain glued to their devices.

We all know the anecdotes: from the death of the DVD store (where once DVDs themselves were an innovation) to the use of Airbnb rather than a hotel; examples of what Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction – the flip side of innovation: how the old is replaced with the new.

So it is that great civilizations either adapt, or die, and Australia and Australians have always been great adapters and adopters. Australians outstrip the world in the rapid embrace, for example, of new technologies, and over-index as citizens in the great capitals around the world in terms of roles at the top of corporations in rewarding a can-do embrace of hard work, flexibility and ability to lead the charge in new ways of thinking.

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Geoff Elliott with former US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich



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