Six things Australia needs to progress innovation with Industry 4.0

9 Nov 2018

When Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of Australia’s most successful tech company, Atlassian, talks about Australia’s potential in tech innovation, he compares it to our film industry. We won’t beat Silicon Valley, the billionaire says, but just as our filmmakers, actors and cinematographers are among the best in Hollywood, we can stand as equals at the cutting edge of the world’s digital economy.

But are we rising to the challenge in Australia or has economic sclerosis actually set in? You could be forgiven for thinking all the signs are pointing in the wrong direction.

Australian expenditure on research and development has fallen to less than 2.1 per cent of GDP. The OECD average is around 2.4 per cent, while Germany spends 3.0 per cent of its GDP on research and development.

Australia is a high performing creative culture – and we are currently embarked on a major industrial transformation occurring internationally known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. 

Our competitiveness, however, depends on paying close attention to a number of critical factors. Some we’re working on; others need a lot more encouragement.

These are my top six, in no particular order, to help make Australia the envy of the world. I am sure there are more – and each of these is interconnected and divisible into many sub-factors – but here’s a good start.

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