AB Foundation - White Papers

Urban informatics: research and insights for libraries, cultural industries and innovation systems

Urban informatics focuses on the use and impacts of digital media technology in urban environments. It is a dynamic and cross-disciplinary area of inquiry that encapsulates social media, ubiquitous computing, mobile applications and location-based services. This paper's insights suggest the emergence of a new economic force with the potential for driving innovation, wealth and prosperity through technological advances, digital media and online networks that affect patterns of social and economic development. It explores the intersections between people, place and technology, and their implications for creativity, innovation and engagement; and examines how the key learnings  can be used to position creative and cultural institutions to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these changing social and technological developments.

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Inside the Innovation Matrix

This collection of expert papers exposes the transformative power of innovation in business by exposing the hidden intricacies of individuals, their networks and their interactions – the human dimensions of innovation.

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Global Connections: a study of multinational companies in Sydney

This report presents an overview of Sydney’s competitiveness, the position of the Sydney office within the strategies of foreign multinationals, and the forces that support and hinder Sydney’s competitiveness as a global city.

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Borders Blurred: The changing nature of trade in a globalised world

This study discovered a new model of exporting behaviour and firm performance among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which focuses on where in the world the market opportunities lie and where the opportunities to capture value in Australia lie.

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No simple solutions: How sectoral innovation systems can be transformed

These key findings of the Australian Innovations System Project are concerned with change in the factors that drive and support innovation. They focus on the influences of business behaviour and industrial dynamics through case studies from computer games, dairy products, mineral exploration, motor vehicles, oil and gas engineering services,photovoltaics, and the wine sectors.

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A New Angle on Regional Infrastructure: Commentary on regional infrastructure. New economic developm

This paper identifies a vital new ingredient for economic opportunities termed " knowledge infrastructure" . Through knowledge infrastructure – like industry clusters, incubators and technology parks, business and education linkages, alliances between SMEs and multinationals and connections between research bodies and business enterprises – regions can become hubs for new and revitalised industries with high growth paths and global reach.

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Alternative Futures: Scenarios for Business in Australia to the year 2015

Four scenarios (First Global Nation, Sound the Retreat, Brave Old World and Green is Gold) represent four different world views for Australian business projected to the year 2015. They explore strategies that maximise our ability to generate wealth and jobs, to integrate into global markets and to contribute to a rising standard of living for the Australian community as a whole.

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Australian Innovation in Manufacturing: Results from an international survey

This in-depth survey of small and medium-sized Australian manufacturing firms found that, while there is evidence of manufacturers engaging in some innovative business practices, especially towards achieving production efficiencies, that unlike their European counterparts they generally fail to appreciate and employ innovation as a decisive competitive strategy.

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Australia's Wine Industry: Collaboration and Learning as Causes of Competitive Success

The Australian wine industry has experienced remarkable change since the mid-1980s. This report looks at the lessons for other business areas where similar international orientations need to be cultivated; the lessons for other areas where the transforming application of knowledge and innovation is essential to growth and competitive success; and whether public policy contribute to these outcomes.

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Born to be Global: A closer look at the international venturing of Australian born global firms

This report charts the experiences of Australian born global enterprises, those that have deliberately ventured overseas soon after their birth, as they extend their foreign activities beyond exporting; and considers the various ways these enterprises’ activities are contributing to the Australian economy, and how public policies might better capitalise on them.

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Changing Business Realities: The implications of e-commerce technologies for rural non-farm business

This study assesses the impact of e-commerce on inland, rural non-farm businesses. These businesses are already adapting to a range of other challenges such as changes to competition and tax regimes, continuing structural change in agriculture and, especially in inland Australia, the loss of population and services. The ‘distance-dissolving’ potential of e-commerce could be both the source of further challenge, and a unique opportunity to achieve further efficiencies and build a wider customer base.

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Commercialising Australian Biotechnology

This report makes recommendations regarding both institutional policy and organisational strategy that would further the commercialisation of Australian biotechnology research. It found that the Australian biotechnology sector was not yet successful and struggled to achieve a consistently positive image among investors, overseas partners, and consumers. And the sector is hampered by inconsistent and incomplete government policies, persistent difficulties in capital raising, and a shortage of experienced managerial staff. 

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Encouraging knowledge-intensive industries: What Australia can draw from the industrial upgrading ex

The study finds that the key to the successful restructuring and upgrading engaged in by firms in Singapore and Taiwan lies in the institutional environment which shapes their decisions. Both countries have fashioned a set of institutions which drive firms in these economies towards an outward, export orientation and towards endless technological upgrading -- rather than allowing firms to take the easy option of competing on the basis of cost minimisation.

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Friend or Foe? Leveraging foreign multinationals in the Australian economy

This study shows both advantages and disadvantages of foreign multinational operations here. Although working with foreign multinationals may not be easy, many SMEs have used these relationships to enter global markets and build domestic capacity with long term benefits. Australian firms, working alone, through industry associations or with the help of governments, should seriously assess how they can work with foreign multinationals in order to increase their skills, and create long term benefits internationally.

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Innovation and the Knowledge Economy in Australia

Innovation is a key issue for both corporate managers and public policymakers because it jointly determines the business performance of firms and the path of economic development.
The argument presented in this paper is that business challenges and policy issues intersect.
It explores how innovation happens, the importance of innovation for growth, and some key challenges for Australia.

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Jobs and Investment Strategies: The Challenges for Policy-Makers

Regional economies have long been crucial elements of every traditional nation-state. This paper makes the case that State government in federated settings has become a more important centre of policy-making in recent times and has acquired a proprietary interest in mounting new public policy initiatives in an era of escalating joblessness. While there is still controversy about which type of government intervention is most appropriate, there is much more agreement about the large benefits  from planned intervention in support of tightly focused regional economic development policies.

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Knowledge Economy Opportunities for Australian Firms in the Asia-Pacific Region

This paper looks at the emerging opportunities for Australian firms in the Asia-Pacific region in the next decade. It highlights two interrelated trends of unrealised opportunities 1. the shift towards the knowledge economy, characterised by not only more sophisticated production technologies and skills, but also a greater role for knowhow, market and customer intelligence and strong working relationships and alliances with partners and stakeholders; and 2. the growing role of international production networks and the distribution of different elements of production around the globe.

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Knowledge Management in the New Business Environment

The central question addressed by this report is what is the role of knowledge and knowledge management for Australian organisations in the contemporary business environment? A secondary question concerns the role of leadership in effectively establishing and sustaining good knowledge management practices.

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Knowledge Management in the New Business Environment: Supplementary Report Case Studies

The case studies are divided into two areas: Large organisations and Small and medium sized enterprises. Large organisations' case studies report on eight large Australian organisations:  Accenture, Wyeth Australia, Kimberly-Clark Australia, Corporate Express, PA Consulting Group, Business Services Group – Roads and Traffic Authority, Baryon Pty Ltd and GPC Electronics, and AMP Henderson Global Investors. (The case study selection rationale and method are described in Chapter 1 of the main report "Knowledge Management in the New Business Environment.") Small and medium sized enterprise case studies report on Jones Condon Chartered Accountants Insolvency Practitioners, The ARMS Group, TECRA International; Planit, ComLearnCo, Stoneworld, Frontline Business Services and Prowess Development.

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National Innovation Systems: Finland, Sweden and Australia compared. Learnings for Australia.

National innovation systems can be broadly defined as all economic, political and other social institutions affecting learning, searching and exploring activities. This includes a nation’s universities and research bodies, financial system, its monetary policies, and internal organisation of private firms. The way all these work together to influence the development and utilisation of new knowledge and learning defines a nation’s innovation system. This paper analyses the national innovation systems of Finland, Sweden and Australia and, identifies potential policy options for improving Australia’s innovation capacity.

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Selling Solutions: Emerging Patterns of Product-Service Linkage in the Australian Economy

This study looks at various ways in which firms link products and services, and shows how many firms in both manufacturing and service industries are 'packaging' products and services. It looks at the strategies of a broad spectrum of enterprises, including manufacturers of a range of old and new economy products; project-based firms, such as those in engineering and construction whose work proceeds project by project, mixing products and services; contract manufacturers; and telecommunications ‘bundlers’. Though from very different past practices all had developed new and specific strategies to seek competitive advantage through linking products and services.

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Success Factors in Australian Industries: Levers for Fostering & Sustaining Growth Industries - a Sy

This report re-examines a series of earlier industry research studies sponsored by the Australian Stock Exchange, plus a study of the Australian wine industry by the Australian Business Foundation. The objective of this report was to probe beyond the first level of discovery achieved in earlier industry research studies and discover new insights. The industries studied were selected because each had, in a relatively short period of time, been transformed from being modestly successful and domestically based, to being world class, globally competitive and export based. They have all become major contributors to the Australian economy and a significant component of Australian capital markets.

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Sustainable Development and Business Success: Reaching beyond the Rhetoric to Superior Performance

Accounting for sustainable development activities usually comprises checklists of practices that a firm is engaged in and these fall short of measuring any connection with the firm’s business strategy and purpose. Firms often act from a fear of doing nothing, or purely for purephilanthropic efforts. In most industries, sustainable development efforts have proceeded in fits and starts. Many initiatives, some expensive, have not lasted nor provided any benefits.  The lack of clarity in terms of what a firm should do is holding many businesses back from a substantial engagement in sustainable development practices. Until now, there has not been a clear path or set of guidelines, particularly at a strategic level, to guide businesses forward.

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The Contribution of Services and Other Sectors to Australian Productivity Growth 1980-2004

This report analyses productivity growth acceleration between 1980-1992 and 1992-2004 reveals that nearly all of the post-1992 acceleration can be attributed to the performance of just three services sectors: financial intermediation, wholesale trade and other business activities not elsewhere classified. The remaining sectoral contributions effectively cancel each other out. Mining and quarrying which had played a positive role in labour
productivity growth within each of the periods, nonetheless played a negative role in terms of productivity growth acceleration between periods.

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The Development of Australia's Innovation Strategy: Can the Public Sector System Assess new Policy F

This paper is a retrospective analysis of the Innovation Summit held in 2000, its lead up and its aftermath, and deliberates on two important questions: How well did the Australian policy system cope with the task of evaluating a new policy paradigm and what governance capacities are required to recognise, assess and, if necessary, adopt new policy paradigms of strategies?

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The Reality of Innovation Unzipped: An investigation in Middle Market Australia

This paper capture the experiences and opinions of representative middle market companies around the opportunities and the challenges for innovation-led growth in Australian business, and ascertain how these companies are achieving competitive results from investment in innovation. One characteristic all businesses in this eclectic sector share is that they are a fast growth group looking for ways to accelerate and then sustain that growth. The companies in the study clearly believed that innovation will energise business growth; and when implemented well, they believe that innovation will be a driving force to achieve profit and sustain value. 

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1999: Innovation in Australian Businesses

This report, with its focus on manufacturing, provides a brief overview of key indicators of innovation including innovation propensities and expenditure; R&D expenditure and employment; training and skills; venture capital; machinery and equipment investment; industry structure; and trade patterns.

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The High Road Or The Low Road? Alternatives for Australia's Future

This study is structured as a three-part report. Part One presents the findings of a review of contemporary economic and business organisation literature describing the key hallmarks that seem to be associated with high growth and successful economic development. Part Two assesses the shape, structure and dynamics of Australian industry against the characteristics for successful economic development derived from the earlier literature review. Part Three builds on the findings in Parts One and Two and indicates some directions for public policy which all concerned with economic growth in Australia should consider urgently. At the heart of this study’s findings is a concern for innovation and the evaluation of the national capacity to innovate.

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Winning Companies and Jobs: How High Growth and Knowledge–Intensive Industries Create Jobs

This study draws out, from a reasonably broadly based survey of companies operating in high growth and knowledge–intensive industries, a better understanding of the potential these industries have to grow and provide high quality sustainable jobs. The study is intended to provide an input into the development of a policy environment which can maximise the creation of sustainable jobs in more modern, high value–added industries. Such a policy approach is required to meet community concerns about jobless growth and rising levels of unemployment fuelled by the tendency in the more mature parts of industry for productivity growth to outrun output growth leading to higher output but few jobs.

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