Thought Starter: Australian Innovation - fact or fiction?

14 July 2014 By Bill Jarrard

Google ‘Australian Innovation’ and what do we find? ... an ad about ‘Cool Technologies’; a Power House Museum promotion focussing on invention; an Innovation Challenge; and several links to government departments.

Yes -  it highlights the need for innovation, lists a number of inventions (the easiest type of innovation), but for the most part is historical. There is very little about what Australia is actually DOING to be more innovative.

Unfortunately that reflects my experience as well. Business leaders are in favour of innovation: everyone acknowledges we need more creativity, and most organisations and departments talk about innovation. But talking is not the same as doing and delivering. 

I think I understand the dilemma.  It isn’t that leaders don’t mean well - they truly do want to promote innovation. They just don’t know how to do it. The reason is that innovation IS simple, but NOT easy: simple to understand the concept, but much more difficult to put into practice. 

Models can show us how easy innovation is to understand, where it is needed and what is possible. And like all models, that's useful. But models don’t deliver. What a model can't show is the entrepreneurial effort needed to make it happen. 

Invention is the easy part, but it’s a combination of leadership and entrepreneurship that delivers Innovation. Are you up for the challenge?

As Leadership Victoria’s resident Imagineer, Bill Jarrard (WCLP '90) helps people and organisations Imagine the future they wish to achieve and then Engineer it into reality. Bill focuses on people and organisational development, with a particular passion for continuous improvement, creative thinking, and applied innovation.

Bill designs and delivers our new Creative Leadership Series of programs; including Leading Teams in Applied Creativity and Innovation on 12 August. Register now to take advantage of our early bird rates.

For more information call 03 9651 6590 or email