Global energy giant GE has released two reports on the state of global innovation, which conclude that the country desperately needs to strengthen its industry support and proactively engage with leading innovation programs to increase its global competitiveness.

The first report, complied by independent economics firm Milken Institute, found that Australia is ranked in the leading five of the seven major innovation indicators, and is above average in the other two.

Despite this, the Innovation Barometer report, which surveyed global business leaders, compiled by Strategy One, shows that business sentiment towards Australia as an innovation leader is low, with the country ranking 16th out of 30.

The same report also found that 86 per cent of Australian business leaders agree that innovation is the main lever to create a more competitive economy, while 85 per cent felt that innovation investment was crucial creating jobs.

The same report also found that 31 per cent of Australian respondents felt that the innovation environment had not improved over the last five years.

“Both reports highlight the importance of innovation to strengthening the Australian economy, but they are poles apart in assessment of the local commitment to research and development,” said Michael Ackland, Vice President of Strategy & Growth for GE in Australia and New Zealand.
The Milken Institute Innovation Report concluded: “Australian respondents to the GE Innovation Barometer survey were fairly negative regarding a number of areas where the nation actually performs quite well. Although Australia was spared a severe downturn, the global recession certainly played a role in these responses…. These perceptions do not completely match up with the improvement Australia has made to its innovation system”.