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Top 40 Business Tips #2: Innovate

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Australians, it seems, are not great innovators. Could that be because we’re the lucky country in the midst of a minerals boom?

That’s what Martin Duursma from Citrix Labs reckons. He says we don’t see the need to stick our neck out when we have such a comfortable lifestyle. The problem is compounded when, if we are successful, we become the subject of the tall poppy syndrome. Not surprisingly he suggests we need a cultural shift to enable great ideas to flourish.

That cultural shift can start in your business now. Perhaps you could start a revolution.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Michael Enright says Australian is often nothing more than the local sales office of big multinational companies. These companies are not looking to Australia for innovative thinking, even though you’d have thought our education system and skilled migrant program should be capable of coming up with great ideas.

The issue is many companies simply do not have an innovative culture. Nigel Collin reckons many companies have the capability to come to creative solutions, they just need to drive cultural change and build the processes to support it.

Yvonne Adele reckons even when companies decide to become innovative, they go about it the wrong way. It often involves brainstorming sessions, where good ideas can be shouted down, inhibiting many from throwing more thoughts into the ring. So there needs to be guidelines and processes.

Naomi Simson agrees. There needs to be a way of capturing ideas — such as listening posts — then a process for working out if they are feasible.

It doesn’t sound terribly complicated, yet the whole idea of innovation is ignored by many companies. With that sort of thinking we’ll always be the local sales office of overseas corporations. That’s not very satisfying, is it!

First published on CBS News

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