Report: Business must think like startups and embrace innovation

New Commbank research shows need for mid-size businesses to think more like start-ups when it comes to innovation

Innovation is valued more by smaller Australian businesses than larger ones, according a recent Commonwealth Bank research report.

The Commonwealth Bank Business and Innovation Study found a lack of ideas, time and resources are the key roadblocks to business innovation. Meanwhile, one in four mid-size businesses say they don’t have the data required to make strategic business decisions.

The majority of Australian businesses surveyed said innovation is critical to the future of the Australian economy (70 per cent). However, close to one in 10 declared innovation is not important to the success of their business.

Commonwealth Bank's group executive of business and private banking, Adam Bennett, said the findings show a need for mid-size businesses to think more like startups when it comes to innovation.

“Innovation starts with asking questions about how to do things simpler and more efficiently," he said. “While business owners often think of innovation as involving the use of technology, more often it involves thinking critically to better understand business challenges and opportunities.”

The survey also found 80 per cent of businesses expect their partners such as their bank to provide them with innovative thinking and tools. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of businesses with a turnover of less than $1 million cited innovation as critical to the Australian economy. This figure decreased as business size grows, landing at 65 per cent for businesses with a turnover of more than $25m.

“These findings show an interesting change in priorities from small to medium enterprises,” Bennett added. “It is vital that as businesses grow, they continue to think like a start-up or the small challenger that they once were. This means constantly questioning the norm, and reflecting on how they can better meet the needs of their customers and even be a disruptive force in their industry.”

The lack of access to data proved to be a significant roadblock. Approximately 30 per cent of businesses with a turnover of $1m-$5m and 37 per cent of businesses with a turnover of $6m-$25m said they don’t have the data required to plan ahead or support strategic business decisions. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of all businesses surveyed said they cannot afford to access the data and insights they need to better run their business.

Almost half of Australian businesses believe coming up with innovative ideas is one of the biggest challenges to innovation, while more than one-third said it is having the time to look at their business with ‘fresh eyes’.

When asked what stifles business innovation, most respondents cited a lack of resources (43 per cent), followed by a partner that is ‘all talk, no action’ or that doesn’t understand their business (both 30 per cent).

“Australian businesses know they need to be innovative but are unsure of where to turn,” Bennett said. “Innovation usually involves a form of partnership and advice. Our view on innovation extends beyond the use of technology, to asking informed questions to better understand customer needs and using data and insights to help businesses deliver truly innovative solutions for long-term success.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Innovation is valued more by smaller Australian businesses than larger ones, according a recent Commonwealth Bank research report found.

According to the report, a lack of ideas, time and resources are the key roadblocks to business innovation. Meanwhile one in four mid-size businesses say they don’t have the data required to make strategic business decisions.

The majority, 70 per cent, of Australian businesses surveyed said innovation is critical to the future of the Australian economy. However, close to one-in-ten declared that innovation is not important to the success of their business.

Commonwealth Bank's group executive of business and private banking, Adam Bennett, said the findings show a need for mid-size businesses to think more like start-ups when it comes to innovation.

“Innovation starts with asking questions about how to do things simpler and more efficiently," he said. "While business owners often think of innovation as involving the use of technology, more often it involves thinking critically to better understand business challenges and opportunities.”

The survey also found that 80 per cent of businesses expect their partners such as their bank to provide them with innovative thinking and tools. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of businesses with a turnover of less than $1 million (m) cited innovation as critical to the Australian economy. This figure decreased as business size grows, landing at 65 per cent for businesses with a turnover of more than $25m.

“These findings show an interesting change in priorities from small to medium enterprises," Bennett added. "It is vital that as businesses grow, they continue to think like a start-up or the small challenger that they once were. This means constantly questioning the norm, and reflecting on how they can better meet the needs of their customers and even be a disruptive force in their industry.”

The report also showed an emerging trend of a lack of access to data as a significant concern. Approximately 30 per cent of businesses with a turnover of $1m-$5m and 37 per cent of businesses with a turnover of $6m-$25m said they don’t have the data required to plan ahead or support strategic business decisions Meanwhile fifteen per cent of all businesses surveyed said they cannot afford to access the data and insights they need to better run their business.

Almost half of Australian businesses believe coming up with innovative ideas is one of the biggest challenges to innovation, whilst more than one-third said it is having the time to look at their business with ‘fresh eyes’.When asked what stifles business innovation, most respondents cited a lack of resources (43 per cent), followed by a partner that is ‘all talk, no action’ or that doesn’t understand their business (both 30 per cent).

“Australian businesses know they need to be innovative but are unsure of where to turn,” Bennett said. “Innovation usually involves a form of partnership and advice. Our view on innovation extends beyond the use of technology, to asking informed questions to better understand customer needs and using data and insights to help businesses deliver truly innovative solutions for long-term success.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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