Aussie Innovation: Lets Foster Failure

I recently sat down with Telstra to discuss Australian innovation. It comes at a critical time after a report by the Economist Business Unit listed Australia as 20th in the world in this field, behind far smaller countries and nowhere near the innovation superpowers that are China and India. So what can do to keep up?

I first recommended a change in thinking. Too often companies make the mistake of mentally pairing innovation with product, but we can easily innovate without a tangible result. Overseas companies often innovate in areas of sales, marketing, finance, service and customer experience.

We must also have a mental shift in the way we start the process. Don’t just talk about it, or expect it come from someone else in the company. Innovation must instead come from every individual.

With individual innovation a necessary factor in company success, company roles in innovation are equally significant. It all starts with the CEO who needs to show the rest of the company the importance of innovation. As we filter down each level of the company, other leaders are paramount in sharing ideas and supporting the innovation process.

These leaders must anticipate another necessary mental change. Plan to fail. It’s almost taboo in Australian culture, but failure is sometimes inevitable, particularly in the creative process, and mangers must learn to not only expect it, but laud it and analyse it. Don’t let your employees feel scared to fail, instead build your successes on these failures. And when there is success? Reward your employees with a vital dose of positive affirmation.

Innovation in Australia is now in the hands of everyone involved. It is up to all of us to break down the barriers that have currently held us back.

You can watch the full interview here.

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