Perceptions of Innovation from Australian SMEs: A Regional Perspective
This chapter describes the results of an Australian national survey undertaken in late 2011, with the specific focus of innovation in regional areas. The data reflects information from over 500 respondents from small and medium sized business across the full range of industry categories. The key themes were that innovation is well understood by regional businesses and is practiced across marketing, management and operational processes, as well as (to a lesser extent) the development of goods and services. Where is occurred, collaboration predominantly happened between businesses rather than with other entities, and the primary drivers for innovation were profit motives and the ability to be responsive to customer needs. On the other hand, barriers to innovation included the cost of development, government regulation or a lack of additional funds. As a nation, Australia benefits from regional businesses innovation through stronger productivity and profitability, better networks and links across sectors and community wellbeing. These findings suggest the need to provide support for businesses by providing additional business planning advice and developing links and networks between businesses. There is also the need for government organizations and departments, universities and economic development organizations to find ways to support and foster innovation by businesses, for example, through networking and alliance building. Further strategies for innovation include supporting population growth in regional areas and improving transport infrastructure.
KeywordsInnovation Activity Business Owner Business Operator Innovative Activity Regional Innovation
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of the staff at Roy Morgan Research for being able to access their regional business panel and assistance in the collection of data. In particular they would like to thank Ms. Anne Ballagny and Mr. Howard Seccombe.
We also thank Kate Charters (Management Solutions Queensland) for her valuable help in facilitating the survey with Roy Morgan Research, and for assistance in framing the research questions.
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