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  • https://au.linkedin.com/pub/dr-georgina-davis/52/454/511

For those who have not seen this study, last year the Queensland Government released the findings of a study within the Queensland community to obtain a greater understanding of the public’s current perceptions and attitudes towards innovation. For a copy of the report which includes regional breakdowns,

https://advance.qld.gov.au/our-vision/public-perceptions-of-innovation-report.aspx

Specifically, the objectives of the research were to establish an understanding of how the Queensland public define innovation, their views on the positive and negative impacts of innovation, their overall level of enthusiasm and interest and measure their perceptions on how well Queensland is performing as an innovative state; understanding the barriers and enablers to achieving an innovative culture. The research also aimed to identify differences across eight designated regions of the state, and between different demographic segments.

The insights from the survey were interesting if not, in many cases, unsurprising.

Firstly, the term ‘innovation’ is often felt to be very vague – people find themselves confused by the broad nature of its meaning. It means many things to many people and it can be attributed to a whole range of changes from small tweaks to huge groundbreaking advancements. Another common confusion arises from invention versus innovation – not surprising either, when you consider the confusion of companies and entrepreneurs within the role of innovation patents and the establishment of ‘inventive steps’ as opposed to an ‘innovation step’.

A handful of regional differences exist in terms of mentions of other terms, the most noteworthy being Toowoomba and Darling Downs residents who were more likely to mention ‘creativity’ (63%) or ‘invention’ (49%).

Secondly, innovation impacts can be both positive and negative but overall people think of innovation positively. There are a number of drivers to accepting innovation, particularly when it shows a clear link to lifestyle improvements. The extent to which people agree that innovation has a positive impact varies between the regions, ranging from 91% in the Darling Downs Region to 67% in the Rockhampton Region.

Other notable results included Rockhampton Region residents were more likely to mention ‘improving our lifestyles’ (64%), and Townsville Region residents were more likely to refer to innovation as ‘making things easier’ (46%).

While the large majority (88%) of people agreed that innovation is important for Queensland’s future, only 58% agreed that Queensland is currently an innovative state; clearly highlighting the difference between innovation importance and innovation performance.

Finally, Queenslanders are ready to embrace innovation, with 65% stating they want to be actively involved but most not knowing how to be involved. The residents of Outback and Far North Queensland expressed a greater desire to be actively involved in innovation compared to the Queensland average (61% strongly agree vs 37%), and believed that anyone can be an innovator (52% strongly agree).

Other regional differences included those in the Outback and Far North Queensland Region being most interested in innovation, followed by those in the Cairns Region and the Mackay and Fitzroy Region.

Perhaps most frustrating, is that half of Queenslanders have had an idea they thought had potential, but two thirds of those did not progress it; mainly because of financial constraints with the second highest answer being ‘not knowing where to start’. Clearly this shows the direction for support mechanisms to truly facilitate and support innovation by individuals as well as business. Just think where Queensland, and indeed Australia, could be if all of these ideas with potential progressed?

Although Australia retained its place (at number 18) in Bloomberg’s Innovation Index 2018 we could be pushing more, particularly in terms of the number of patents and value-add manufacturing. Interestingly, the U.S. dropped out of the top 10 in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index for the first time in the six years the gauge has been compiled, mainly because of an eight-spot slump in the post-secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates in the labour force and a decline in value-added manufacturing.