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Australia’s innovation hot spots revealed

17 June 2016 |Innovation

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.

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