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‘Nice to have’ innovation core to only a quarter of Australian businesses

Wednesday, 06 February 2019
By Doris Prodanovic

StollzNow Research managing director Neil Stollznow (left) and Ricoh Australia CEO Andy Berry share Australian innovation findings.

Australian businesses have the talent to innovate, but lack strategic focus or a sense of urgency, according to a new study by Ricoh in its Workplace Innovation Index.

Conducted on behalf Ricoh by StollzNow Research, 304 business leaders were surveyed on their perception of innovation within their organisation, its challenges, and how businesses adapt to change.

The findings revealed only 25 per cent of organisations believe innovation is core to their business, yet 40 per cent of leaders believe they must innovate for their business to survive.

Presenting at a technology lunch in Sydney Ricoh Australia CEO Andy Berry said innovation should be seen as a must and not as a ‘nice to have’, with senior execs and middle management experiencing a disconnect in their perception of innovation execution and success.

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

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

Speaking to Print21 at the lunch Berry said that printing companies would benefit from a culture of innovation, which could help them to differentiate in a market that is often commoditised.

The study showed almost twice the rate of senior executives feel internal policies and processes are ‘clear and consistent’ compared to their business line manager colleagues, with 82 per cent of leaders believing innovation starts with senior management.

The findings further revealed budget and available resources, as well as risk aversion by staff and management, were the two biggest threats to an innovative workplace, while less than a third of organisations always involve staff in reviewing innovation outcomes.

Ricoh’s Workplace Innovation Index is based on key workplace efficiency and innovation attitudes, including processes for evaluating needs of staff, value of collaboration, and senior management’s vision for introducing innovation programs, with Australian companies scoring 68 out of 100 overall.

Berry said that while the Australian business climate is faring well, innovation is not being exploited to its full potential, and the culture of any large organisation cannot be shifted unless people are willing to change.

“Innovation is less about technology and more about how we as humans adapt and are able to redesign the process,” he said.

“The best thing we can do as leaders is to answer the big inevitable question: Why? The clearer we can explain why we are changing, where we are heading, or how we will get there, the more our people will trust us to lead them there,” he said.


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