Internal barriers dampening innovation.

Most businesses are not doing enough to drive innovation according to the latest Canon Businesses Readiness Index. Conducted by GfK Australia, the report is based on surveys of more than 530 local business leaders, with a focus on attitudes and actions aimed at staying ahead of the curve. The study showed that while business recognise the importance of innovation, only 38% consider their business to be innovative and most are not doing enough to drive innovation.

While challenges vary by business size and across industries, a lack of budget is perceived as the biggest inhibitor and resistance to change also features prominently. On the flipside, highly innovative companies are distinguished by their strong culture of innovation that permeates business units and empowers individuals to drive new ideas and ways of working.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wielded both the carrot and stick in the 2018 Federal Budget, but the decision to cut tax concessions for research and development was out of step with the government’s commitment to boosting innovation. Yet for many businesses, there are problems closer to home.

The study found a range of emotional barriers that hold organisations back from implementing measures to drive innovation. For medium to large businesses, conflicting agendas and a breakdown in communication are cited as the biggest struggle for 63% of medium and 70% of large respectively. Self-doubt is a knife in the side for 49% where leaders lose faith in the value of original ideas over time.

“Bigger budgets are viewed as a magic wand but businesses are made up of real people with real emotions,” Canon Business Services director, Gavin Gomes said. “It’s telling that internal barriers play a critical role in holding businesses back from an innovative future. Leaders are responsible for delivering tangible changes that show progress is possible. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always set your business up for success,” he said.

For smaller businesses staff and budget limitations are holding them back from bringing their vision to life. They also feel less supported by government when it comes to funding, policy and access to talent.

Gomes said hiring the right people is a great place to start, and it is important to build a diverse workforce in the process.” Innovative companies prize people who show initiative and have good communication skills, across myriad backgrounds, experiences, skills and, importantly, age. They will drive meaningful change no matter how large or small an organisation is.”