Certainly, the Australian government has been keen on innovation, as embodied in its announcement of its National Innovation and Science Agenda in December. However, is our workforce ready for an innovation overhaul as we embark on the ‘ideas boom’ in 2016?
According to Randstad’s World of Work Report, based on 14,000 employees and employers from across Asia-Pacific, the biggest issue for the region’s businesses was the lack of talent that was required to expedite the innovation process. In fact, nearly a quarter of employers noted that a absence of skills to drive innovation will be a chief productivity challenge in the following 12 months. Hence, what can business leaders do to drive innovation capabilities within the workforce?
With this in mind, we’ve gone over 5 tips for fostering an innovative workplace below:
1. Foster Innovator’s
Indeed, Australia’s education system is one the most developed in the region and our graduates are skilled. However, graduates straight out of university generally aren’t fully formed commercial innovators. Thus, it is vital to create your own learning program or career plan within a company to swiftly up skill graduates in relevant areas.
Growth concepts such as crowdsourcing or joint partnerships allow organisations to reach talent for specific projects and short-term assignment. Crowdsourcing with freelancers, for instance, allows a company to tap into talent anywhere and anytime thanks to online media.
Employers can greatly benefit from a diverse workforce, whether it’s through gender, race or culture. Diversity unlocks innovation by creating an environment where “outside the box” ideas are heard.
4. Make Fast Evaluation of Innovative Ideas
The capability to make strategic decisions swiftly is vital to a company’s success and overall survival in an increasingly competitive marketplace. For example, after a brainstorming session leaders should choose the ideas they wish to take further quickly. Often, innovative suggestions get stuck in just the ‘idea stage’, without quick enough action.
5. Invest in Research and Development
One tangible way of expediting innovation in a company is by investing in research and development (R&D). In 2016 companies wishing to develop products, improve technology, and increase cash flow should consider adding R&D to their businesses resolution list.
Furthermore, the government currently offers a lucrative tax incentive that can assist in funding research. The R&D tax incentive offered by the federal government is obtainable to Australian corporations that are incorporated under Australian law. The incentive aims to increase Australia’s innovation, competitiveness and grow the amount of export-oriented Australian industries. In fact, the R&D Tax Incentive helped over 13,000 companies with $2.4 billion in tax funding for eligible R&D investments in 2014 – 2015. Furthermore, every dollar counts for individuals engaged in business and the R&D Tax Incentive is a crucial innovation implement that can be used to offset costs when creating a product or service.
Swanson Reed provides specialist expertise across a wide range of industries and has assisted many clients attain tax cash savings under the R&D regime. Contact one of our specialist R&D Tax consultants to find out more about the scheme.