Barriers to innovation

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed two in five Australian businesses reported barriers to innovation in a Business Characteristics Survey undertaken in a 12 month reference period.

The Survey was divided into two categories of innovation: innovating businesses that introduced at least one type of innovation during the reference period and innovation-active businesses that undertook any innovative activity irrespective of whether the innovation was introduced, still in development or abandoned during the reference period.

The most commonly identified barrier to innovative activity (ability to develop or introduce new goods, services, processes or methods) for all businesses was lack of access to additional funds (18 per cent).

Across the employment size ranges, innovation-active businesses with 5-19 persons employed had the highest proportion of businesses that reported any of the listed barriers to innovation (58 per cent). Innovation-active businesses with 20-199 persons employed reported lack of skilled persons in any location (28 per cent). The most commonly reported barrier for innovation-active businesses with 5-19 persons employed was lack of access to additional funds (29 per cent).

Mining had the highest proportion of innovation-active businesses that reported lack of access to additional funds (41 per cent), while Financial and insurance services had the lowest proportion of innovation-active businesses reporting this as a barrier (10 per cent).

In terms of the underlying drivers of innovation; almost two-thirds of innovative-active businesses conducted innovation for profit related reasons and over a third of innovation-active businesses reported undertaking innovation to be at the cutting edge of industry.

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