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Australia’s innovation hot spots revealed


17/06/2016

The way we look at and measure innovation in Australia has been revolutionised thanks to a partnership between Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

The RAI's new report [In]Sight – Innovation: Spreading the Ideas Boom moves our understanding of innovation beyond the traditional view of research and development (R&D) tied to smart guys in white coats.

The work brings savvy business people into the spotlight by measuring the Business Dynamo in 624 local and regional profiles, reflected in an update of the innovation theme in the RAI's database [In]Sight: Australia's Regional Competitiveness Index.

"This work builds on traditional measures of innovation. It confirms regional Australia's active entrepreneurial culture by focusing on Business Dynamo indicators, including trademarks and business entries, which haven't previously been connected," said the Regional Australia Institute CEO, Mr Jack Archer.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Regional and Rural Affairs Strategist, Ms Lauren Andrews said the Bank's experience with regional people is that they are very innovative, with a strong track record of solving problems and finding new and better ways to do things.

"Being able to identify innovation activity, especially in regional areas, is very important to the Bank, as it means we can play a more hands on role in transforming great ideas into businesses
which drive economic growth.

"We do this through our business banking services and agribusiness offering, but also through our Community Bank® network, which has returned more than $148 million to ensure innovation is possible at a grassroots level in more than 300 Australian communities," said Ms Andrews.

[In]Sight – Innovation paints a clear picture of how regional Australia is performing, with four key groups emerging:

  • Innovation Leaders: strong performers across all innovation measures, including places like Hobart (Tas), Palerang and Yass Valley (NSW/ACT), Toodyay (WA) and Darwin (NT).
  • Old Engineering Centres: strong in R&D and Science measures, but weaker in Business Dynamo, including mining areas such as Whyalla (SA), Mt Isa (Qld), Muswellbrook and Singleton (NSW), Karratha and Pilbara (WA).
  • Lifestyle Business Hubs: strong in Business Dynamo, but limited R&D capacity, including lifestyle destinations such as Byron (NSW), Surf Coast and Hepburn (Vic), Gold and Sunshine Coasts (Qld) and regional entrepreneurial centres like Griffith (NSW) and Ballarat (Vic).
  • Innovation Laggers: below average capacity in both facets of innovation, including low population agricultural areas, remote LGAs and populated industrial areas such as Burnie and Glenorchy (Tas), Port Pirie (SA) and Broken Hill (NSW).

The RAI CEO, Mr Jack Archer said [In]Sight – Innovation provides a much clearer view of Australia's innovation capacity.

"The challenge now is to rebalance support for innovation in regions to develop the Business Dynamo, so that new approaches are recognised and regional innovation has the chance to thrive," said Mr Archer.

To view updated innovation rankings across Australia's 564 Local Government Areas and 60 regions, visit [In]Sight: Australia's Regional Competitiveness Index http://www.regionalaustralia.org.au/insight/

Find out more about what this new measure has u