Innovation is key to being a successful ASX company

University of Queensland researchers have contributed to a new CSIRO report that establishes a strong link between bold risk taking and the financial success of top performing ASX companies.

Thriving through innovation: Lessons from the top is based on a survey conducted by UQ’s Australian Institute for Business and Economics (AIBE) and CSIRO, which can help businesses navigate the uncertainty caused by the economic impacts from COVID-19.

AIBE researcher Dr Edgar Brea said COVID-19 had forced many businesses to rethink their products, services and business models, making innovation a necessity rather than a choice.

“To boost innovation activity in the country, businesses must be informed about the benefits of innovation, what strategies work and under what circumstances,” Dr Brea said.

“With this report, we aim to take a step in this direction.

Graphic by CSIRO showing the four innovation characteristics for successful ASX companies.

“Analysis of company data and financial performance shows there are four innovation factors that drive success – corporate entrepreneurship, innovation novelty, collaborative breadth and triple threats.

“Businesses seeking to increase their innovation efforts can focus on the four factors as a starting point.”

The report states that corporate entrepreneurship is the most important factor that exhibits risk-taking behaviour, innovative thinking and proactiveness, while innovation novelty is key to being first in the market with innovations that are new to the world or to Australia.

Collaborative breadth refers to co-creating innovations with a range of collaborators including customers and research agencies.

Triple threats involved changing products, processes and business models to capitalise on further investments in innovation.

UQ Business School Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Associate Professor Tim Kastelle said the report explained why building an innovation capacity was so important for businesses and illustrated how changing mindsets and behaviours helped enable innovation.

“Every CEO, senior leader, and board member will say that they want their organisation to be innovative, but most are unwilling to actually change the way their organisations think and act,” Dr Kastelle said.

“And without changing behaviour, there’s no change in outcomes.”

The survey involved targeting innovation decision-makers from ASX-listed companies and asking them questions about innovation practices in their organisations.

Their responses were then complemented with historical financial data and statistical models to find out the innovation factors that matter the most to top performers.

A full copy of the survey is available from the CSIRO website.