Innovation is both disrupting and creating opportunities for Australian businesses, Not-for-Profits, and governments. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations to innovate in ways they have never previously considered. The challenge for Australian boards now is to harness these achievements to sustain innovation as business-as-usual practice within their organisations.
In 2019, the AICD, in partnership with the University of Sydney Business School, released its report, Driving innovation: The boardroom gap. At the time, the report was the first of its kind in Australia, and one of only a handful of reports globally which examined the role of the board in driving organisational innovation.
Three years on, the world has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a range of other global forces, and this has had consequences for organisations and their approach to innovation. The AICD has partnered again with the University of Sydney Business School to produce a second edition of its study into innovation and how boards bring it into focus.
Our research results provide some cause for cautious optimism. In 2019, we found that Australian boardrooms recognised the importance of innovation but struggled to prioritise it. In 2022, we have found that some progress has been made, although more needs to be done. Necessity has been a powerful driver, with the need to survive the public health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many Australian organisations to innovate. More generally, increasing pressures from competition is forcing innovation to be a key plank of successful organisational strategy.
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