Why you must have the innovation conversation

by Ricoh Australia 08 February 2019

Need to know

  • 75% of Australian business don’t see innovation as a core value
  • Innovation is vital to managing industry disruption
  • Digital transformation to support innovation can be a phased journey

With a reputation as a country that punches above its weight, Australia tends to take an optimistic view of innovation.

While we favour ourselves as pioneers, recent research into the Australian landscape finds we’re falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to agile workplaces where innovation thrives. While 40% of Australian business leaders are aware of the need to innovate for survival, only 25% regard innovation as core to their business.

Innovate for change: How Australian organisations can transform by embracing a culture of innovation and new ways of working, offers practical insights into what needs to change to drive innovation and transform organisations.

A vision for disruption

Ricoh Managing Director Andy Berry says Australian businesses need to move fast to keep up with the global market and start with a transparent vision for change that the entire business understands.

“Strong and clear leadership is needed for innovation to be successful. You’re competing with digital-only companies, and disruption is inevitable,” he says.“Tackling that disruption head on means a long-term commitment to innovation, to the right digital technologies to support it, and a readiness to work through the discomfort change can bring for the workforce.”

From collaboration to innovation

The Australian sector is largely limited to traditional collaboration tools including collaborative meeting rooms (64%), interactive whiteboards (34%) and video conferencing (31%). Despite this use, 36% of business leaders acknowledge they aren’t using the tools in an integrated or systematic way. This lack of integration creates a fragmented working environment, where innovation is unlikely to thrive, and frustration can set in with tech that’s not up to the task of connecting across offices and countries.

Andy Berry says collaborative tools are crucial to staying relevant and competitive.

“The right digital solutions remove friction so a collaborative culture is embedded in every project and every decision – the more passive the technology, the more people can get on with their jobs.”

The journey to digital

The research shows Australian companies are lagging when it comes to implementing digital solutions. But the good news is, the journey to digital doesn’t need to involve a complete overhaul that happens overnight. It can happen in phases and still deliver value.

Australian businesses show an aversion to staff engagement on technology tools for innovation and workflow; less than half (38%) always evaluate staff needs when implementing digital solutions, and less than one third always involve staff in reviewing innovation outcomes. An inclusive approach to the benefits (or challenges) of innovation can help foster the culture required for ongoing change.

Must-read innovation research

The research offers insights and practical recommendations across:

  • Australia’s innovation climate – the two biggest threats to innovation are budgets and resources (24%) and risk aversion by staff and management (22%)
  • The innovation-to-productivity gap – a lack of consistent systems and processes holds back efficiencies
  • Workplace fragmentation – improving productive collaboration and communication when half have rated they do not have clear and consistent systems and processes or have a “patchwork of tools”
  • Focus on skills for faster transformation – transformation and innovation must be driven by the right talent
  • Developing a culture for innovation and change – without the right digital mix, innovation culture is overshadowed by legacy process.