Australia risks a hit to the economy if the country’s biggest organisations don’t improve their “weak” approach to innovation, three of the country’s technology leaders have warned.
At the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s ‘smart disruption’ lunch in Sydney today, ANZ Bank’s Maile Carnegie, Australia Post’s head of trusted ecommerce solutions Andrew Walduck, and Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan lamented the country’s inability to scale innovative ideas.
“Australia is very good at knowledge creation,” Carnegie, the former head of Google A/NZ, said.
“What we’re very weak at is knowledge transfer and knowledge application … and we’re going to have to address that.
“We are getting increasingly trade exposed, so we’re going to have to figure out how to make sure our large companies and our start-ups thrive.”
Carnegie said fast-growing companies account for less than one percent of total exports in Australia, way behind Israel and the US which boast figures in the mid-to-high teens.
Carnegie joined ANZ Bank as its head of digital banking last year, following three years at the top of Google’s local operations, to help the bank “digitally transform”.
“This is where we are the most vulnerable: our large companies are not innovating enough, and we don’t have a rich enough pool of start-ups to be able to offset what happens when the large companies [don’t deliver],” Carnegie said.
“If some of these elephants don’t start dancing, the economy – because we’ve been so weak in high-growth start-ups – [will be] in a tricky place.”