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According to Harvard*, the Australian economy ranks 86th in the world for ‘economic complexity’. When I looked, that’s one place ahead of Iran.
What that ranking tells us is that the Australian economy relies on natural resource exports, which has been great for the last 25 years but won’t be as beneficial for the next 25.
CSIRO Chairman David Thodey speaking in the Australian Financial Review recently agrees. He goes on to say that the economy needs to diversify, using technology and innovation to boost productivity.
That makes sense, but we’ve heard this so many times before. How do we actually do this?
Like most people I don’t have all the answers, but in this debate I’m a firm believer in two things:
I’m sure we’ve all met a business owner or have had a colleague who’s complained about the lack of time to focus on “the big picture”. These people have no space for innovation.
If you’re running a business there’s no space for innovation if your head is completely in managing all your systems or you don’t have accurate reporting to know what’s going on. A lot of fast growth SME businesses for example get to the point where spreadsheets and a jumble of incompatible systems just don’t cut it anymore.
We call this point “Spaghetti Junction”. Spaghetti Junction syndrome means your head is buried in the detail of systems that can’t work together and in just trying to get a clear picture of where your business is at.
With all this going on, it means there’s no space for innovation - no space to create new products, expand into new markets or develop new and improved processes that lift productivity.
* The Harvard Centre for International Development
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