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Shift in thinking on innovation key to knowledge Based economy – research

June 22, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Australia can transform itself into a knowledge based economy but only through greater cooperation between researchers and industry and a new approach to innovation, according to a senior researcher at the University of Sydney Business School.

In late 2015, the Turnbull Government unveiled a $1.1 billion plan to fund a so called “ideas boom” designed to underpin economic growth as the mining boom waned.

However, Dr Massimo Garbuio, a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Business School, says that innovation on the scale needed to meet the government’s objectives is not possible without a shift in the way that researchers and business view innovation.

“A lot of innovation today focuses on apps or marketplaces,” says Dr Garbuio. “We need to leverage the great academic research that we have in this country and make it as well as our IP, more transparent and readily available to visionary entrepreneurs.”

Dr Garbuio is also critical of the private sector pointing out that while Australia ranks well for its commitment to research, only five percent of “active innovators” in the business sector collaborate with Australian universities.

Dr Garbuio goes on to call for new thinking around the way that entrepreneurs and established businesses approach innovation.

“There is a lot of conversation at the moment around design thinking,” he says. “Now we need to take another step towards what I call design cognition and that’s when we really think like designers. It’s a process where we are constantly looking for dots, dots that we can connect and make into innovative ideas.”

“The current problem is that when we think about business and we want to think about new products, we might use analogies and think about Uber, for example, and we say Uber is a platform and therefore, we too should become a platform,” Dr Garbuio explains. “What we should do is look at Uber value propositions, Uber resources, Uber customer segments and see how they translates into our business before coming up with a solution.”

“All too often we settle on the first idea that comes into our minds,” he adds. “We think about Uber, we use Uber. We don’t think that there are many other possibilities out there and some of them might be more interesting examples and inspirations.”

Dr Garbuio concluded by warning Australian researchers and businesses that “innovation is not about spending a couple of hours on a problem”.

“It’s something that you build over time with all your life experiences, whether it’s work or classroom related,” he said. “It is your passions, your experiences travelling, your experiences with friends. The best ideas often come unexpectedly once you have collected an exciting set of experiences in your life.

Dr Garbuio’s research is featured on the Research Highlights page of the University of Sydney Business School’s website

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