6 key challenges for Australian innovation

Thursday, 16 March, 2017

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Speaking at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) Chair Bill Ferris identified the six key innovation challenges Australia must address in order to become a top-tier innovation nation.

Ferris stated that bold action is needed to harness Australia’s innovation potential in facing up to the risks and seizing the opportunities presented by the forces of globalisation, technological disruption and demographic trends that will shape Australia’s economy and society over the medium term. With this in mind, the six challenges are as follows:

  • Encouraging more Australian firms to achieve global best practice in innovative activity.
  • Getting greater economic and social benefits via more innovative procurement and service delivery performance of governments.
  • Developing an education system better able to meet the lifelong and changing needs of citizens and businesses.
  • Strengthening collaboration among our research and commercial sectors to increase innovation and commercialisation.
  • Maximising strategic international engagements to bring in the talent, knowledge and capital to fuel the innovation system.
  • Selecting high-impact projects capable of realising step-changes in Australia’s innovation outcomes out to 2030 and beyond.

According to Ferris, addressing these challenges is the best possible preparation for the technological disruption of traditional industries, an ageing population, climate change and environmental degradation, while ensuring we build on our competitive strengths.

“Our workforce will require the skills to generate, transfer and implement knowledge and ideas,” he said. “We need an integrated education and skills system that produces and supports a workforce capable of reacting and adapting to change. We want our children to have highly developed skills in the areas of logic, creativity and social interaction.”

Developing specific, actionable recommendations for dealing with all six challenges is the focus for ISA’s 2030 Strategic Plan, to be delivered to government later this year. Ferris also floated the possibilities of using high-impact large-scale projects to drive innovation.

“In developing the 2030 Strategic Plan, we hope to identify one or more major game-changing initiatives with scale that can deliver significant direct and spillover benefits to the innovation system and broader economy,” he said.

Ferris said the ISA looks forward to engaging widely over the coming months in preparing the 2030 Strategic Plan.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Maksym Yemelyanov

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