Australian organisations are “politely interested” in innovation, but the structure of our market and history makes us less innovative than our self-image would like us to believe, according to 2nd Road founder Tony Golsby-Smith.
Speaking as part of an expert panel at B&T’s DAZE of Disruption conference in Sydney, Golsby-Smith said all organisations are pretty slow when it comes to innovation.
“Most of the ones I work with talk much more about innovation than do it,” he said.
“The older organisations are, the more they put their systems into control like budgets and plans. They’re essentially built on yesterday’s assumptions.
“But when push comes to shove, it’s very hard for organisations that want the control, risk management and return-to-shareholders paradigm to systematically innovate.”
Golsby-Smith said the challenge for older firms trying to reinvent themselves is to create a new type of organisation.
“I think they need to create what I like to call the ‘dialectical organisation’ – a lot of people call it the ‘ambidextrous organisation’,” he said.
“An organisation with two completely different, contradictory business concepts – one running today’s business, and the second one actually licensed to smash it, but to do that is difficult.”
According to Golsby-Smith, commercial self-belief is the next stage that Aussie organisations need to get through in order to successfully innovate, and as a nation need to “play in areas where we can win”.
“If you look at Australia strategically, we’ve got a lot going for ourselves,” he said. “We’re not too big, and we’re not too small. We’re also at the doorstep of the largest-growing market in the world, so you just can’t look at it and say this isn’t an opportunity.
“I think Australia needs to play in areas where we can use digital and big data to innovate where other people aren’t, and then export that. Two areas for me would be agribusiness, which I think is open to disruption and big data, and social innovation.
“The world’s big problems are increasingly going to variate – health care, aged care and those kinds of things – and that’s an area that we don’t normally think of, but there’s a huge market there to innovate and digitally enable new systems of care that can be exported to Asia, and we’d be building on our strengths if we did that.”