Having been rated 2nd on the 2016 Australia-wide Innovation Index last week, I just got off the phone from Give Easy’s CEO and innovation guru, Jeremy Tobias, to discuss his team’s findings.

The report highlights that innovative organisations do better, regardless of their size. How do they do this? By a mix of strategies that includes the following:

  1. They create policies that prioritise innovation
  2. They hire all age groups and reward innovative thinking
  3. They collaborate externally for the purpose of generating new ideas

But the truly innovative and interesting thing that Jeremy & I were speaking about was the notion that innovative social ventures are not enough unless they are embedded in a culture that holds innovation as a central value.

Unfortunately I don’t feel this is really the case in Australia at the moment. What we really require is innovative philanthropists and impact investors. In the business world taking a risk on a new idea is lauded, but funders of social ventures also need to actively promote innovation budgets and support ventures breaking new ground. If not, the great new solutions coming out of small start-ups will never see the light of day.

How is this going to happen? Like everything, it follows the adoption curve which begins with a small group of people that recognise the value of the new idea and then set the trend. This could be you.

If Australia is going to once again be seen as a well-spring of forward thinking and innovation we need change to come from the ground up. In order to put innovation at the centre of our collective mandala of core values we need ordinary workers to ‘get-it’. Blue-sky thinking shouldn’t be a derogatory term – it should be an aspiration.

– Jimi Wollumbin.