Failure to launch: Australia, the United States and the threat of inefficient innovation

Innovation International trade Investments Australia United States of America

Executive summary

  • Innovation is critical to Australia's future. The economic and technological realities of an increasingly innovative world economy will inevitably catch up to Australia — and Australia needs to be ready. The Global Innovation Index (GII), the world's leading measurement of innovation across more than 80 indicators, shows Australia is simply not innovating enough.
  • Australia ranks 23rd in the world and the GII makes it clear Australia is an inefficient innovator. Australia puts considerable effort into the elements that foster innovation — ranking 12th in the world on inputs — but has yet to see the results, ranking 30th on outputs of innovative activities. Ultimately this considerable discrepancy leaves Australia ranked 76th in the world in innovation efficiency.
  • There is no doubt the United States, currently ranked fourth in the GII, is a world-class innovator — attracting much of the world's innovation output, including Australia's. As a close US ally in economic, military, intelligence, and diplomatic spheres, it makes sense to examine what Australia could learn from the United States.
  • From a policy perspective, Australia would benefit from: incentivising foreign venture capital firms to be based in Australia, fostering an environment that welcomes both skilled immigrants and anchor firms, increased domestic awareness of the skills shortage in the existing and future workforce, and an international campaign that raises awareness of the role Australia can play in a global innovation ecosystem.
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