Home' InDaily : May 7th 2010 Contents 'L et s not kid ourselves -- we re not
very good at it." David Simmons,
Chairman of innovate sa and former
managing director of Hills Industries
pulled no punches when addressing business
executives and interstate media on the subject
of innovation in South Australia.
Warming up the group of 40 or so before they
headed off on a bus tour taking in seven SA
success stories, Mr Simmons wasn t going to
gild the lily.
"Sometimes we look at the successes in
innovation and convince ourselves that we are
on top of it," Mr Simmons said.
"But when you look at what s happening
around the world, we re not in the top
He pointed to a recent series of special
reports in authoritative journal The Economist
as an example of how emerging markets
overseas are having an impact with their
innovative approach to new and old business.
As the report stated; "Developing countries
are becoming hotbeds of business innovation in
much the same way as Japan did from the 1950s
They are coming up with new products and
services that are dramatically cheaper than
their Western equivalents. They are reinvent-
ing systems of production and distribution,
and they are experimenting with entirely new
"All the elements of modern business, from
supply-chain management to recruitment and
retention, are being re-jigged or reinvented in
one emerging market or another."
Examples of the mismatch in production
capacities and cost comparisons would become
even more evident later in the morning when
the tour group heard from companies who
work in the global economy.
But David Simmons does see a way forward
for the state s economy and he had some hard
messages for governments.
"One of the biggest problems we have is
State and Federal Government inefficiency in
delivering federal programs," he said.
"Over the years, governments have tinkered
with ways to create a catalyst for business and
innovation, but often it creates a hurdle.
"Eighteen months ago, a decision was made
that we hope can change that."
The decision he referred to was the move
to take about 20 public servants out of the
old Department of Trade and Economic
Development and put them into a corporate
environment in "innovate sa".
David Simmons was appointed chairman.
"The old method of trying to pick winners
wasn t working -- in fact it almost always
failed," he said.
"And the concept of trying to deliver a
private sector generator within a public sector
organisation just didn t work.
Innovate sa s chairman
David Simmons with
chief executive Greg
Boundy at their new
Continued Page 12
Advantage SA's recent
showcase for interstate
media and local business
executives was delivered
with some hype and a
genuine dose of reality.
By Kevin Naughton
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