Turnbull's Innovation Policy: What's in it for big business?

by Jeffrey Tobias

Yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his $1.1 billion innovation package to drive an “ideas boom” across this lucky country.

For too long, Australia has relied on its abundant natural resources to drive economic prosperity, while our trading partners have been busy nurturing the creativity, technological savvy and innovative capacities of its citizens.

Turnbull’s announcement marks a paradigm shift in our national identity and the way in which we think about the future. It’s substantial and disruptive.

The package offers huge incentives for entrepreneurs, with the provision of generous tax offsets and reforms to venture capital partnership arrangements, to boost the development of a globally competitive Australian startup ecosystem.

So what’s in it for big business? We believe there are five potential flow-on opportunities that will arise:

1. Transfer of startup culture – these days, most big businesses want to act more like small businesses and a flourishing startup culture will give corporates an opportunity to absorb agile, lean and smart ways of working.

2. A much richer talent pool – with business-savvy Australians choosing to join early stage startups over stable corporates, the country will have a robust talent pool with greater appetite for risk and step change innovation.

3. Direct equity investments – rapidly growing startups will not stay small forever, so there will be numerous opportunities for big businesses to invest in ventures that they otherwise would not have organically grown in-house.

4. New intellectual property and technologies – the package includes various initiatives to encourage sharing of intellectual property, embracing the digital age and collaboration across institutions.

5. Making the threat of disruption real – big business will need to drop their complacent belief that disruption can only come from overseas; local disruptive threats will make everyone lift their game.

For many Australians, this package will move ‘innovation’ from a mere corporate buzz-word to a legitimate part of the country’s policy agenda. The initiatives rolled-out will help to turn rhetoric into action and deliver Australia from ‘the lucky-country’ to the country that ‘makes its own luck’.

In the end, it’s all about the execution. Ideas without execution are just dreams – the challenge for all of us now is to pick up on where this innovation package leaves off, build the innovation capability and culture within our organisations, and turn these dreams into profit-making ventures.

By adopting an entrepreneurial culture within our organisations, coupled with methodologies such as Design Thinking and Lean Startup, we will become a nation of global disruptors, delivering turbo-charged value to our shareholders.

image credit: asia.nikkei.com

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Sanofi's Prescription for Innovation Success - Innovation ExcellenceJeffrey Tobias’ career in the application of information technology, strategy and innovation has spanned academia, consulting, big and small business, government, research and entrepreneurship. He is Director of The Strategy Group, delivering strategic advice on Innovation, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Ideation, Collaboration and Globalisation to corporations and governments, and is an active Angel Investor in the technology space.

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