SAP Partner Ricoh Weighs in on Innovation


Innovation not a core value for 75% of Australian organisations, yet most business leaders believe they have the skills for innovation. In a two part post we take an in dept look at innovation in Australia.

Workplace Innovation

Ricoh, a leading provider of smart workplace technology, today announced the findings of its Workplace Innovation Index, a new look into the challenges Australian organisations face with driving innovation and adapting to change.

In a survey of business leaders conducted on behalf of Ricoh by StollzNow Research, only one-quarter (25%) believe innovation is core to their business, however, a solid 40 per cent believe they must innovate for survival. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of business leaders believe they have the capability to drive innovation programs.

Australian organisations have the talent to innovate, but lack a strategic focus or sense of urgency to bring new ideas to life. While slightly more than one in four business leaders (26%) say innovation is important, they concede the organisation is tied down with a need to focus on current operations.

“In today’s rapidly changing economy, innovation is a must and should not be seen as a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘department’,” Ricoh Australia, CEO, Andy Berry says. “The research reveals significant disparities between what Australian organisations are pursuing and what is seen as important.”

“We know innovation can deliver operational improvements and new business opportunities, but we’re not elevating its strategy value, from the boardroom to front-line staff,” Berry says.

Leadership from the CEO and unit managers is vital for creating an innovative workplace and the study found an overwhelming 82 per cent of business leaders believe innovation starts with senior management.

The Research Highlighted How Australian Organisations are Managing Innovation:

  • There is a skills perception with the disconnect between opportunity and capability innovation is not core for 75 per cent of Australian businesses, yet nearly two-thirds of business leaders believe they have the capability to drive innovation programs.
  • In the fast-paced digital economy, innovation is required to fend off competition. Nearly half (40%) of Australian business leaders believe they must innovate for survival.
  • The two biggest threats to innovation are budgets and available resources (24%) and risk aversion by staff and management (22%).
  • To develop and innovation culture, there needs to be more focus on people and processes, and how technology can support this change.
  • Fewer than one third of organisations always involve staff in reviewing innovation outcomes. Hiding the benefits (or challenges) with innovation does not help foster the culture required for ongoing change.

Keeping Up with Global Change

How innovative is Australia as a nation? According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, Australia ranks down at number 20 in the list, behind much smaller economies such as Ireland and Luxembourg. We are also the first in the list to be rated with an income group ‘weakness’, with an overall score of 52.00 (68.40 is highest, 15.00 is lowest).

Despite our stable, medium-sized economy (Australia is ranked 13 for GDP) and good ideas, we still have a lot of work to do to lift our innovation prowess to stay ahead of the fast-paced global economy. Global research by IDC found 86 per cent of organisations are still “laggards” or “followers” when it comes to innovation. And only 14 per cent are above average or “leaders”.

In Australia, Ricoh’s Workplace Innovation Index scores Australian companies 68 out of 100, which is less than ideal and shows we have a long way to go to develop the digital workplace an essential building block for innovation. The index is an average of key workplace efficiency and innovation attitudes. Factors include attitudes towards innovation; processes for evaluating needs of staff; internal processes; the value of collaboration; and senior management’s vision for introducing innovation programs. While the Australian business climate is faring well, we are not exploiting innovation to its full potential.

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