Local issues offer opportunities

FEW people will argue that innovation is the key to surviving in increasingly global markets.

The people of WA have long been regarded as innovative, our iso-lation forcing us to come up with simple solutions to problems which are often unique to our shores.

But WA is no longer a lonely place where news of the latest ways of doing things drifts in with passing ships.

Around the globe, scientists, designers and engineers are work-ing at a frantic pace to be the first with the answers to increasingly generic problems, with the result often worth billions of dollars to ones who win the race.

It is obvious that we have to participate in this race, albeit in our own niches, to maintain our living standards and keep our top brains at home.

Therefore, Business News chose innovation as the first topic to kick off our Business Panel, a collection of business leaders whose opinions are valued by us and our readers.

The think tank has been around for eons in one form or another. Unfortunately, the public versions of these are becoming as globalised as business itself.

If you want to know what people are thinking in Canberra, Washington, Davos or, dare I say it, Hollywood, it’s easy to find such information at hand.

Business News believes there is a big opportunity to tap into what WA opinion leaders think about our State, because there are still plenty of unique local issues and problems which world think tanks are not going to consider for us.

So we have established the Business News – Business Panel to delve into the opinions of those familiar with many different facets of WA business.

These people are busy, so we won’t be loading them up with difficult tasks and many are regular travellers so we may not see their faces every time, but we hope to bring you a Business Panel issue every six to eight weeks, with a view to stimulating debate and informing our readership.

After a year when technology and the Internet were at the forefront of investors’ minds, it seems the power of innovation has captured the minds of the public.

Those with groundbreaking ideas are no longer just eccentrics with a penchant for tinkering away in the backyard, they are people who may have cracked a code. With the right capital backing, administrative support and marketing, they can make fortunes for themselves and bring valuable dollars back to WA.

It is noticeable that the two most popular innovators chosen by our panel have developed technology-driven solutions for global markets, rather than unique WA situations.

Both Austal and ERG have emerged from small start-ups to become major players in their markets and represent a significant slice of WA’s presence on the Australian Stock Exchange.

But it is not all about companies, dollars and profits. Innovation in health, housing the public sector all contribute to our society, improving the community in which we live and how our businesses operate.

Being at the cutting edge of these sectors helps attract and retain talented people who help weave a more dynamic fabric for our society.

We welcome feedback of any form from our readers.

What we have published can most certainly be expanded upon, and we invite anyone with thoughts on who WA’s leading innovators are to send us their views.

Business News is in the business of providing information to its readers. I can’t think of a better way of doing that than identifying WA’s innovators and letting the market at large know about them.

I would like to publicly thank those who took up our invitation to be involved in the Business Panel.

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