GE today unveiled the results of its 2016 Innovation Barometer, which explores how Australian business leaders and members of the public perceive the barriers to and opportunities for innovation in a complex global environment.
The research revealed that Australian executives (66 percent) and even more Australian informed citizens (72 percent) are optimistic about the next wave of innovation, and are excited (both 69 percent) about entering the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution'.
Few are worried that the digital revolution will have a negative impact on employment (16 percent of executives, 17 percent of citizens). More than in other countries, they share the view that the digital revolution will create new types of jobs (61 percent of executives, 69 percent of citizens), and Australian executives are confident it will improve the quality of existing jobs (51 percent).
While Australian business leaders are excited about the world's digital transformation, they are anxious that technology is evolving faster than they can adapt.
A large majority (89 percent) of Australian business executives are feeling the pressure of 'Digital Darwinism', recognising that more and more businesses risk becoming obsolete as technology evolves quicker than companies can adapt. They recognise that disruption is crucial to keeping up, yet only 32 percent feel their company is performing very well at quickly adapting and implementing emerging technologies.
Geoff Culbert, President & CEO of GE Australia, New Zealand and PNG said, 'We are living in the most disruptive era in history. Compared with the industrial revolution, the change we are experiencing today is happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale - so companies are feeling massive pressure to disrupt themselves to survive.
'It is encouraging to see that Australian business leaders are excited about entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution - more so than our global peers. They recognise the transformative power of innovation and see enormous potential to uncover new business models, new products and new markets to succeed in today's increasingly competitive world'.
Embracing new models and technologies
Australian businesses are adapting through new partnerships and investments. They are seeing an increase in financial results from collaborative initiatives (77 percent), and more businesses (74 percent) have a clear innovation strategy in place.
There has been a significant rise in the recognition of the strategic value of data and analytics among Australian executives to inform decision-making. Companies have also increased their ability to analyse data (73 percent) up from 41 percent last year, as more executives increasingly find the use of big data is a key ingredient to successful innovation (65 percent versus 40 percent in 2014).
Australian government to act as an innovation catalyst
Globally, there is a call for greater government support for innovation and this is especially true in Australia with only 17 percent wishing for the government to focus less on driving innovation in Australia (versus 30 percent globally) and 94 percent calling for government to make Australia a leading country for innovation.
Disruptive innovation: the way forward
Being disruptive is the gold standard for both executives and citizens, but remains a challenging goal for businesses to implement.
Overwhelmingly, Australian business executives (94 percent) agree that the most innovative companies not only launch new products and services but also create a new market that didn't previously exist.
As they look forward, 87 percent of Australian business executives say that the 'start-up ethos' is a paradigm to follow.
Additionally Australian business executives feel that the best practices to foster and enable reliable and radical innovation are also the most challenging to implement. These include having a clear process and structure in place to manage innovation (48 percent), and creating a connected culture where idea sharing is facilitated and contributing parties are recognised and rewarded (56 percent).
'It is clear that innovation has moved to the top of the agenda for government, business and members of the public. We are all aligned on the fact that Australia must be more innovative. Our challenge now is to move from conversation to action,' said Mr Culbert.
About the GE Global Innovation Barometer
Now in its fifth year, the research was commissioned by GE and conducted by Edelman Berland between October 13, 2015 and December 7, 2015 (prior to the announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull of the National Innovation & Science Agenda: December 7, 2015). In Australia, 106 senior business executives and 109 informed publics were interviewed. Seventy percent of the business executives surveyed are at the C-suite level. The countries included in the research are: Algeria, USA, Australia, China, Canada, South Africa, India, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Brazil, France, UAE, Mexico, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Edelman Berland is a global, full-service market insights and analytics firm that provides corporate, non-profit and government clients with strategic intelligence to make their communications and engagements with stakeholders the smartest they can be. The firm specializes in measurement, tracking and analysis in reputation, branding and communications.
About the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution - or the 'Industrial Internet' - is the next wave of innovation impacting the way the world connects and optimises machines. Through the use of sensors, advanced analytics and brilliant machines, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is profoundly transforming the way machines connect and communicate, enabling productivity and efficiency gains, anticipating maintenance before breakdowns occur and transforming today's workforce.