CSIRO and The BCA arm business leaders for resilience

07 December 2021

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) have joined forces to reveal the strategies Australian business leaders need to drive the nation’s recovery and future resilience from COVID-19.

Based on new research from CSIRO and the BCA, Unlocking the innovation potential of Australian companies covers nearly 40 key questions across six key areas to help businesses uncover the most effective habits of highly innovative companies. The report draws on interviews and case studies from executives at some of Australia’s largest and most innovative businesses, including APA Group, Atlassian, Boeing, CBA, Cochlear, Coles, Dow, Dulux Group, GE, Google, Incitec Pivot, Microsoft, NAB, Rio Tinto, Telstra, Wesfarmers and Woodside.

The report also looks at existing research on ways organisations can become ‘innovation active’. Whether a small or medium-sized enterprise or large corporate, innovation active companies are twice as likely to report increased productivity than non-innovating companies, and almost all are able to point to tangible benefits like improved customer service or increased revenue.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said Australia’s world-class science and research can supercharge Australian industries when they work together to build real-world solutions.

“Australia has the potential to lead the world in a few key markets by harnessing the power of science-driven innovation, using it to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic and embed resilience to future disruptions into their very DNA,” Dr Marshall said.

“Commercialisation is an engine that will drive us to a technology-led recovery, but innovation takes a team. To really deliver on a bold, technology-led recovery, we will need business and research driving together to win.”

BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott AO said giving businesses the right tools to innovate, collaborate and turn our world-class ideas into new jobs and industries will be crucial to securing our economic future.

“Whether it’s our world-beating miners, food producers or service exporters, Australian businesses are some of the most adaptive in the world, and our research institutions are globally respected,” Ms Westacott said.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to take a team-Australia approach to double down on our advantages, drive commercialisation and turn our ideas into jobs.

“We can’t afford to be a nation that gives away our best ideas away to be scaled up and commercialised overseas.

“By drawing on business know-how and real-world examples, this is a how-to-guide for Australian businesses to position themselves and the country for the future.”

A number of examples are highlighted in the report, which are listed below:

  • Boeing is collaborating with more than 35 Australian-based companies to commercialise uncrewed aircraft technology for the Royal Australian Air Force.
  • Cochlear is working with universities and start-ups to commercialise new implant therapies for epilepsy and sleep apnoea.
  • Woolworths and GrainCorp are co-investing in FutureFeed to commercialise a livestock feed developed by CSIRO scientists to reduce methane emissions.
  • Telstra and Microsoft are using Australia as a testing ground for telecommunications technologies to accelerate technology development and adoption.

CSIRO Futures Lead Economist Dr Katherine Wynn said while some commercialisation opportunities were specific to particular industries, there is also opportunity for investment in emerging technologies that will have wide-ranging applications.

“Government, university, and industry are co-investing to build Australia’s quantum research workforce and infrastructure, and positioning Australia as a global player in quantum computing research, which could have applications across computing, sensing and measurement, and communications,” Dr Wynn said.

The Report and the Business Innovation Matrix are available to download here.


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