Local businesses who prioritise innovation increased their sales of new products and services by 20 percent and higher, according to a 2018-2019 Regional Innovation Benchmark project completed by USC researchers for the Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Project Team (SCRIPT).
Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers and Dr Saskia de Klerk said the benchmarking project, released today, included a survey about approaches to innovation by 248 local businesses in the greater Sunshine Coast and Noosa region, and compared responses to those from a separate recent survey of 1,500 Queensland and Australian businesses.
Dr de Villiers Scheepers said comparisons were made for measures such as types of innovation, sources of ideas for innovation, the awareness and support available to regional firms, and the performance and benefits of innovation.
“Locally the data returned some impressive results, showing that nearly half of the firms in the greater Sunshine Coast area reported implementing new-to-the-firm innovations, which is comparable with other businesses in Queensland and Australia,” Dr de Villiers Scheepers said.
“It’s great to acknowledge the region is on the right path to achieving greater business growth and success due to innovative practices,” she said.
“We also found that Sunshine Coast innovators are significantly more likely to use knowledge-based sources for innovations, such as professional conferences, journals, universities or research institutes, compared to the rest of the country.”
The research also revealed that while 76 percent of local businesses were aware of available innovation support, only 25-30 percent made use of that support.
“As a region we have to be committed to continue to widen access to innovation opportunities for local small to medium enterprises,” Dr de Villiers Scheepers said.
“Working to strengthen and develop the regional innovation ecosystem on the Coast will attract new talent, and activate and integrate local talent to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Innovation activities will be measured again in 2020 and 2021 to gain long-term data insights in to the effect and consequences of regional business innovation on the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions.
The Regional Innovation Benchmark report in online at: https://digitalsunshinecoast.com.au/regional-innovation-benchmark-rib