Business shunning innovation

Business shunning innovation

The pace of innovation has stalled in Australia, official data shows, suggesting businesses have some way to go in modernising.

The percentage of businesses engaged in any form of innovative activity fell to 39.1 per cent in the 2010-11 financial year from 43.8 per cent in the corresponding period, despite politicians and bankers urging companies to boost their efficiency.

A report, produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed that just below 40 per cent of business reported engaging in ”some form of innovative activity” in 2010-11.

Sixty-six per cent of large businesses reported acting to boost efficiency and lower their costs, while only 30 per cent of companies with four employees or fewer reported the same.

Ben Flavel, an innovation consultant at Melbourne-based NeoCogs, said most small businesses saw innovation ”as an expensive and time-consuming distraction,” in part because they were so consumed with their day-to-day activities.

”This perception that you need vast resources to innovate limits idea development.”

Nearly 50 per cent of companies with five to 19 employees reported undertaking innovative activity, compared to 62 per cent of those with between 20 and 199 staff.

Wholesale trade was the most innovative of the industries, with almost 58 per cent of those businesses reporting innovative behaviour.

Only 27 per cent of construction companies reported any innovative activity in the financial year.

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