Tackling the Next Frontier: Innovation Challenges for the Australian Mid-Market

Tuesday, 1 December 2015  Features

How do Australian mid-market firms innovate, what are the challenges and how can these be turned into opportunity and ultimately, competitive advantage?

These are the questions a team of UNSW Business School researchers set out to answer in phase one of a three year research project investigating drivers of innovation, performance and growth in the mid-market sector.

The Australian mid-market remains an under-recognised segment of the business community, despite contributing $435 billion to the economy, encompassing 27,500 firms and employing almost 3.2 million people in 2014.

Supported by AGSM Executive Education and GE Capital, and funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant, the research aims to examine innovation management and provide practical solutions for common challenges to enhance performance and growth across the sector.

"Innovation is vital to the competitiveness of medium-sized firms in Australia. Yet managing innovation is challenging for these firms, which often lack resources and fall back on intuitive leader decisions. We examine how leaders drive the intensity and type of innovation, and influence the impact on performance" says lead researcher, Associate Professor Steven Lui.

"Existing innovation literature is typically focused on large corporations and small entrepreneurial firms, ignoring medium-sized firms. Our investigation addresses these critical gaps in the literature" he adds.

Phase one focuses on innovation process, outcomes and challenges; finding that managers are crucial to the process and challenges lie in talent attraction and retention, funding and capital, time and resourcing as well as technology.

The resulting executive report details the findings and highlights how mid-market firms can embrace the future and address challenges to improve performance and thrive in an increasingly competitive, global environment.  

"To tackle these challenges,  firms need to invest in attracting and retaining talent,  improving leader cognition and external collaboration beyond the boundaries of the firm, as well as addressing the challenges posed by technology" Steven says.

The next phase will focus on detailed exploration of the issues uncovered in phase one with findings expected by late 2016.  The research team are seeking more mid-market firms to participate in phase two.  If you would like to find out more contact Ben Walker on +61 2 9385 5801

Read the full phase on report - Innovation in Mid-Market Firms:  The Executive Report.

AGSM Executive Education partners with mid-market firms to address challenges and build capability at individual, team and organisational levels through open and in-house short courses.   Contact our Client Engagement Team today to find out how you can leverage AGSM's expertise and world-class thought leadership.

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