A call to arms: Collaborate, innovate and prosper

Ai Group is particularly aware of the need to boost the innovation performance of Australian businesses, so it was great to work closely with the Australian Technology Network (ATN) in sponsoring a report launched this week: Collaborate, Innovate and Prosper: How to Support Australia’s Competitiveness and Prosperity through Targeted Policy Solutions.

There is plenty of research pointing to the benefits of innovation. Relative to their less innovative counterparts, innovative businesses tend to be more productive and more competitive. This equates to greater export success, happier staff, faster annual rates of growth and ultimately more profit.  Conversely, the market position of a business that is not innovating is more likely to be being steadily eroded.

There is ample scope for Australia to improve its innovation performance. It will require action on many fronts and the combined efforts of many people in business, government and academia. As the Minister for Industry and Science, Ian Macfarlane, has commented: “Australia’s future depends on the commitment of all of us to work together…our research institutions and the business sector must collaborate. We must translate our ideas and research into real goods and services, technologies and life improvements. And we must do it on a scale not attempted before”.

We support the view that Australia’s innovation performance can be enhanced by boosting collaboration. In today’s ultra-competitive and face-paced business environment, innovativeness, and ultimately business competitiveness, is based on the ability to harness global knowledge flows. A company’s competitiveness is hugely dependent on the depth and quality of its networks and interactions. 

However, there is no doubt about it: collaborative innovation and particularly research-industry collaboration is not Australia’s strong suit.

The need to boost collaboration is acknowledged by the Government and is supported by its actions. The Industry Growth Centres initiative is seeking to harness the power of collaborative innovation; additional funding has been allocated to building ‘Research Connections’ through the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program and the Government has actively sought advice to build stronger ties between researchers and businesses. We were delighted that Mr Macfarlane agreed to launch our report this week.

The report puts forward for discussion five recommendations to establish stronger connections between the business and research sectors. These recommendations are practical strategies and policy suggestions that should be discussed by governments, universities and businesses and lead to action to enhance collaborative innovation in Australia.

What do you think of the report’s recommendations? Have your say below. 

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Peter Burn
Head of Influence and Policy at Ai Group, Peter is responsible for policy development on a wide range of issues relevant to members. He also represents Ai Group on various Advisory Councils and as a Director at Standards Australia and AustralianSuper. Previously Director – Policy at the Business Council of Australia, Peter also held academic positions in Economics Departments at the University of Queensland and the University of Newcastle after starting his career at the Commonwealth Treasury.


  1. AvatarStephen Falkiner

    We are an AIG Member and we are interested in the content of this blog but could not download the report or other information. Could a revised link please be sent out to us.

    1. Graham TurnerGraham Turner

      Apologies Stephen. This report has now been made available on the Ai Group website at: http://www.aigroup.com.au/portal/site/aig/policy/reports/
      We have also replaced the broken links above, which now direct readers to the report.


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