Australia needs to strengthen industry support and engagement with its leading innovation programs to increase competitiveness and productivity, two reports commissioned by GE, have found.

The first report by independent economics firm Milken Institute provides a global analysis of the environment by which innovation is supported in 22 countries. The second report conducted by market research firm Strategy One provides the GE Innovation Barometer, measuring business sentiment towards innovation.

The reports reveal that:

  • according to the Milken Institute Innovation Report, Australia is ranked leading in five of the seven innovation indicators and above average in the remaining two;
  • despite this, the GE Innovation Barometer survey of global business leaders shows that business sentiment towards Australia as an innovation leader is low - Australia was ranked 16th out of 30 countries; and
  • locally, the GE Innovation Barometer reveals that 31% of Australian respondents felt the innovation environment had not improved over the last five years, among the most negative response rates globally.

“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”.

Innovation is a transformation driver for national economies.

The GE Innovation Barometer survey found that 86% of Australian business leaders agree that innovation is the main lever to create a more competitive economy; 85% felt innovation investment was the best way to create jobs, and 84% felt it was the best way to create a greener economy.

More than the global average, Australian business leaders believe innovation can successfully improve Australian lives in five key areas – communications (96%), education (90%) health quality (89%), job market (89%) and the environment (87%).


The reports are available here.