​CBA dishes out advice on innovation

Bank-sponsored research finds lack of data, time and resources, and business partners who are “all talk, no action” are roadblocks to innovation

Innovation is valued more by smaller organisations and one in four mid-sized business say they don’t have the data required to make strategic business decisions.

These were key findings of the Commonwealth Bank’s (CBA) Business and Innovation Study released on Monday morning.

Lack of data emerged as a significant concern with 37 per cent of businesses surveyed with a turnover between $6 million and $25 million indicating they don’t have the data required to plan ahead or support strategic business decisions.

CBA’s group executive, business and private banking, Adam Bennett, said the findings show a need for mid-sized 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. 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.

“These findings show an interesting change in priorities from small to medium enterprises. It is vital that as businesses grow, they continue to think like a startup 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,” Bennett said.

Almost half (43 per cent of respondents) said lack of resources was stifling innovation across their business, followed by a partner that is ‘all talk, no action’ or doesn’t understand their business (both 30 per cent).

Cost is holding many back with 15 per cent of respondents saying they can’t afford to access the data and insights they need to better run their businesses.

Finally, the majority (70 per cent) of respondents said innovation is critical to the future of the Australia and economy and surprisingly, 7 per cent have declared that innovation is not important to the success of their business.

Australian businesses know they need to innovative but are unsure where to turn, Bennett said.

“Innovation usually involve 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.”

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