The exact future of the global economy is uncertain, but its direction is clear: services will become more valuable, the creation of value will be tied to knowledge-intensive and automated processes and skills, and firms and individuals will need flexibility and resilience.

In short, success in the future global economy will require countries and companies to be more innovative. The march toward this scenario has been accelerated by the global pandemic. Yet while the global economy is quickly shifting, Australia, for the most part, is not.

Australia’s woes in innovation are well-documented: In global rankings of economic complexity — a measure generally correlated with future economic growth — Australia has fallen behind countries like Uzbekistan and Botswana. Australia’s research and development (R&D) spending as a percentage of global domestic product (GDP) decreased every year of the past decade. Australia’s innovation ranking has fallen steadily out of the top 20 in the world.

This report details:

  • Where the global economy is shifting and the ways in which Australia has not shifted accordingly
  • How US economic engagement has made Australia more innovative and continues to do so today
  • The steps three US allies and partners — Israel, South Korea, and Germany — have taken to become more innovative
  • Four case studies of what it looks like when US firms innovate in Australia
  • Ten policy recommendations, setting a pathway for the Australian government to foster innovation both independently and in tandem with the US government.
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