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Innovation “absolutely essential” to Australia’s economic future – expert

11 Aug 2016

Book coverA leading researcher at the Business School has warned that innovation is “absolutely essential” if Australia is to sustain its current level of economic well-being in the post mining era.

Gaia Grant, a Business School postgraduate researcher with 20 years’ experience in organisational development consulting with a number of Fortune 500 companies, has co-authored ‘The Innovation Race’ in the hope of inspiring a shift towards innovation in Australia and around the world.

“We might be tired of hearing about the ‘innovation agenda’ and the ‘ideas boom’, but up to 80% of growth typically comes from new ideas and innovation, so we have to take it seriously,” said Ms Grant.

“We can no longer rest on our laurels and rely on the resources that have kept us afloat economically for so long,” she added. “Instead we need to be coming up with new ideas and strategies that will provide sustainable alternative solutions.”

As a founder and managing director of Tirian International Consultancy, Gaia Grant has provided organisational learning and development consulting to high profile clients including Deutsche Bank, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, JP Morgan, Optus, Rolls Royce, and Visa, while also instigating the global expansion of the company.

Ms Grant says that while there is no simple formula for innovation, creating a climate that supports talent, tolerance and technology, can foster the process – and Australia is already excelling in the areas of ‘talent’ and ‘tolerance’.

“An innovation culture can be developed through education programs that focus on talent development, through building supporting diverse communities, and through ensuring we have access to the latest technologies,” said Ms Grant.

She points out that although Australia does not have a top global innovation ranking for technological development, it is seen as having the most innovation potential.

“Out of the 139 countries measured in the 2015 Global Innovation Index, Australia does the best on the specific cultural measures covered,” said Ms Grant.

“Like Singapore, which has not been able to rely on natural resources, we will need to be thinking of more creative ways to innovate,” said Ms Grant.

The ‘Innovation Race’ aims to “find practical strategies for developing an innovation culture” and focuses “on the importance of supporting sustainable and purpose-driven innovation”.

Ms Grant says her current research at the Business School into innovation paradoxes has provided a “critical foundation” for the upcoming book, co-authored by Andrew Grant.

“I am hoping I have been able to build a solid bridge between the theory behind innovation development and practical applications for business in the book,” said Ms Grant.

The Innovation Race will be launched at Sydney Dymocks on August 23. See here for more details.

For more information about the book along with associated assessments and workshops visit The Innovation Race.