With an economy traditionally fuelled by mining and agriculture, the Australian government has turned to innovation to drive prosperity for the years ahead.
In December 2015, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull released the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) aimed at ‘creating a modern, dynamic, 21st century economy for Australia’.
A 21st-century government has got to be as agile as the start-up businesses it seeks to inspire.
Australia is currently ranked 17th on the Global Innovation Index. Recognising that it risks falling behind when in the race to commercialise good ideas and collaborate with industry, the government has turned to the ‘Ideas Boom’ to precipitate and foster a cultural shift wherein risk-taking is embraced and failure is not feared.
What is the ‘Ideas Boom’?
Designed to inspire, the agenda encourages businesses large and small to be more innovative and better prepared to have a go at something new.
Over a four-year period, the Government will invest $1.1 billion to incentivise innovation and entrepreneurship, reward risk-taking, and promote science, mathematics and computing in schools. Specifically, this investment will focus on four key pillars:
- Culture and Capital - To help businesses embrace risk and incentivise early stage investment in startups.
- Collaborations - To increase the level of engagement between businesses, universities and research sectors to commercialise ideas and solve problems.
- Talent and skills - To build a ‘future-fit’ workforce and attract innovative global talent.
- Government as an exemplar – Government must lead by example in the way it invests in technology and data and uses it to deliver better quality services.
As the Australian Government strives to deliver new sources of growth, maintain high-wage jobs and seize the next wave of economic prosperity, it’s Agenda acknowledges that failure plays a role. Indeed, in order to foster healthy innovation ecosystems the culture must be one of risk-taking, one in which ideas are invited, interrogated and invested in. And it is here that Malcolm Turnbull has levelled an expectation at the door of government to lead by example.
So, what does mean in practice?
Culture and Capital
The latest Federal Budget committed to providing almost $3 billion of assistance to Australian companies to invest in new products, services and processes to keep them competitive in the global marketplace.
The government is offering all companies incorporated under Australian law a 45% refundable tax offset for entities that generate less than $20 million per annum and a 40% non-refundable tax offset for higher earning entities. To receive this tax offset, businesses must be engaging in Core R&D activity and spend at least $20,000 on these activities in a financial year.
Incentivising Early Investment
There is a 20% tax offset incentive for early stage angel investors. This will be available for investment in companies that:
- were incorporated during the last three income years
- are not listed on any stock exchange
- have expenditure and income of less than $1 million and $200,000 in the previous income year respectively. There’s also a capital gains tax exemption and 10% non-refundable tax offset on capital invested start-up companies for partners in a new Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership.
Industry Growth Centres
Industry Growth Centres have been created with the goal of working to unlock commercial opportunities and drive innovation. It is proposed they will do this by building links between businesses, industry organisations and the science and research sector. These links and collaborative spaces should help Australian industry to better capitalise on the R&D and scientific knowledge generated in Australia.
There are six Industry Growth Centres, who between them will receive $248 million in Australian Government funding over the four years from 2015/16 to 2018/19. Each Industry Growth Centre responds to an industry sector of competitive strength and strategic priority:
- Cyber Security
- Food and Agribusiness
- Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
- Mining Equipment, Technology and Services and
- Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
Talent and skills
Over the next four years, the government will spend $84 million ‘inspiring’ Australians in digital literacy and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). This includes money to upgrade teachers’ digital skills, provide educational apps and boost the participation of girls and women in STEM.
From November this year there will be an ‘Entrepreneur Visa’, providing a pathway to residency in Australia for people with ‘innovative ideas and financial backing’. Postgraduate researchers with a qualification in STEM subjects will also get favourable opportunities.
International Launch Pads
Australia is creating ‘landing pads’ in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and other innovation hot spots to help Australians to establish a presence and undertake entrepreneurial activity abroad.
Government as an exemplar
This is the big one as far as many are concerned. Can the Prime Minister succeed in delivering to the nation a government that is, in respect to innovation, exemplary? Policy intent is to revolutionise the public sector, exceeding the pace of change set by the private sector. Were the government to role model the cultural and technological change it advocates, ideas and innovation would become central to the way Australians operate.
New Procurement Channels
The government has introduced two new procurement channels. The Digital Market place and Cloud Services Panel will be used to make it easier for innovative small and medium businesses to vie for government work.
The government is investing $15 million to create a new Digital Marketplace for start-ups and small to medium suppliers of digital services to participate in government procurements for large-scale ICT solutions. This marketplace is due for launch in 2016.
The Department of Finance has established the Cloud Services Panel to provide Government bodies with a list of suitable solutions in relation to Cloud Services.
Procurement can be easily undertaken directly with any supplier on the panel and be used by all levels of government country-wide.
How Crowdicity is helping Australia Innovate
With the NCIS, the government promotes agility and innovation within established companies and industries to avoid being disrupted. At the same time, it promotes those young start-ups who seek to do the disrupting. In doing so, at its heart, the government acknowledges the power of an idea to change a landscape; to change the game.
It is the goal of Crowdicity to ignite ideas, and let them shine. Just as voices can only boom if they are heard, the ‘Ideas Boom’ itself relies upon ideas being given a place to be heard. Gone are the days where ‘management’ are the only ones expected to have good ideas. Companies, government departments and communities across Australia are recognising the need to create cultures of innovation. Crowdicity is the software platform being used to frame and drive those new collaborative cultures (and because we’re recognised as R&D activity, eligible businesses can claim for refundable tax offsets).
Crowdicity is working with leading companies in every industry; government, insurance, health, utilities, aviation, automotive, transport, manufacturing, financial services and more.
In Australia we are already helping government and companies in the following ways:
- Public Consultation
- Customer Co-creation
- Corporate Culture of Innovation
Organisations use us to capture ideas from employees, stakeholders, customers and partners, filter the best and take them through iterations toward innovation all within one platform. In doing so we help them increase the cohesion, collaboration and speed at which they innovate their products and processes. From an employee engagement perspective, by creating a ‘culture of innovation’, you increase your communities’ investment in, contribution towards and ownership over the success of the organisation.
If you’d like to know more about how the Crowdicity Ideas Management software can build your innovation culture we’d be delighted to give you an Request a demo , or please drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org If you’d like to learn more about some of the organisations that trust Crowdicity to power their innovation, please visit the Customers section of our website Customers