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Media Release

Businesses want more time to innovate

Businesses want more time to innovate

Mid-size businesses1 are battling against conflicting priorities when it comes to implementing innovation, according to Commonwealth Bank research findings released today.

A key take out of the research involving Australian business decision makers was that there is a disparity between the perceived ideal amount of time required for innovation and the amount of time actually spent on it.

This was most pronounced in businesses with a turnover of between $6 and $25 million, where innovation is seen as highly relevant to business, however nearly half spend just three days or less a year either thinking about innovation or working on it. Half of these businesses said they would like to increase this time by 25 per cent or more.

Despite close to nine in ten (88 per cent) of Australian business decision makers identifying innovation as either very relevant, relevant or somewhat relevant to their business, a number of key barriers are getting in the way of innovation.

Mid-size business decision makers cited ‘conflicting priorities’ (33 per cent) as the most common roadblock to innovation, followed by ‘not knowing where to start’ (21 per cent) and needing to find ‘the right people to help’ (20 per cent).

Across all business sizes, ranging from under $1m in annual turnover to those with more than $25m, a ‘lack of time and resources’ and ‘finding the right people’ are cited as the biggest barriers to innovation, restricting the time they can dedicate to working on improving their performance and enhance the customer experience.

Claire Roberts, Executive General Manager, Local Business Banking, Commonwealth Bank, said finding time and the right skills to focus on innovation must be prioritised by businesses of all sizes in order to stay competitive.

“While it’s great to see the majority of businesses are recognising the value of innovation, it is crucial they don’t stop there. It’s not enough to simply say your business is innovative; you must also take action to foster an innovative culture and prioritise how to spend time on innovation to succeed,” Claire said.

Businesses are realising the advantages of looking externally for support in innovation. Close to half (45 per cent) of decision makers reported learning about innovation from experts. Nearly nine in ten (89 per cent) mid-size business said they see benefit in collaborating with others on innovation.

“These results reinforce the importance of the Commonwealth Bank’s actions that are helping our clients find the right time, space, collaborators and experts to help them become more innovative, and that is why we have developed our Innovation Labs,” Claire said.

“In addition to our permanent Innovation Lab in Sydney, over the last month we have hosted a Pop-up Innovation Lab in Melbourne following our Pop-up Innovation Lab held in Adelaide last year. More than 100 businesses visited the lab in Melbourne to see new technology and hear new thinking. Several companies spent time with us working on their business problems, identifying over 600 ideas and 65 unique opportunities for innovation.

“At Commonwealth Bank, we believe innovation starts with asking the right questions, thinking outside the square, and ensuring the existing operations of a business, including products and services, are being continuously optimised. We encourage business decision makers to prioritise innovation and reach out to partners to unlock new avenues for innovation and performance improvements in their business.”


A copy of the results of the study are available via contact details.

The 2016 Commonwealth Bank Innovation Study is based on a quantitative survey of 792 financial decision makers in public and private companies throughout Australia with a turnover of up to $100m, carried out between 23 March and 2 May 2016. The sample included businesses from a wide range of industries and across different turnover brands.

1 Mid-size business defined as having an annual turnover between $6 and $25 million.