Is Australia’s Approach to Collaboration What Needs Changing?

November 2nd, 2015

A little known fact is that Australians make up less than 0.3% of the world’s population but we account for over 3% of the world’s scientific research output. Certainly, as described in our previous post, Australia has contributed to several ‘world first’ innovations and has a dynamic invention ecosystem. However, the problem Australia faces is converting innovation into tangible businesses.

Group of Multiethnic Busy People Working in an OfficeUltimately, Australia is at a crucial point, we have a sizable track record in invention and research, and there is $2 trillion sitting in superannuation funds that could be commissioned for developing these inventions. CSIRO Boss Dr Larry Marshall will be one of the main influence’s in converting Turnbull’s innovation agenda into a reality and believes we are an inventive nation with a lot of untapped capital. Echoing similar views to Silicon Valley’s mantra, Dr Marshall agrees that Australia needs to overcome a fear of failure and embrace the learning’s that can come from moments of downfall.

Aside from accepting failure, Dr Marshall stressed the attitude he believes needs to be altered is Australian’s approach to collaboration. Australia has the worst collaboration record in the OECD and innovation is fundamentally a team effort. According to Dr Marshall, “technology is too hard these days to be anything other than multidisciplinary.” Moreover, Australia lags behind other countries when it comes to commercialising research, aka turning it into a business, according to the World Economic Forum.

Thus, could changing our approach to collaboration assist in commercialising research? There is no denying that oligopoly structures in certain industries have fortified an inward-focused business sector that could be impeding Australia’s innovation economy.  In light of this, forging ties between universities and relevant industries with tax breaks was reported last week as a suggestion to fuel innovation and collaboration. Although the innovation statement won’t be released till next month, the broad agenda plan so far is believed to also include changes to tax, research and development incentives, university funding and the role of CSIRO.

Whether or not these incentives will shift Australia’s culture is yet to be known, however, making technology, innovation and start-ups a new pillar of the economy could certainly drive a more innovative, synergistic society. What’s your opinion, should Australian go back to one of our fundamental cultural concepts of ‘mateship’ and encourage a collaborative economy – and will further incentives change this?

It is important to note, however, that the government does already provide a generous Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive which is highly effective in aiding rising companies in promising future industries. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible for the tax credits.