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Regional businesses lead the way in innovation

But we’re only scratching the surface

Innovation means different things to different people. Some associate innovation with technology, gadgets and science. 

At the Commonwealth Bank, innovation is really about problem solving, responding to change and turning great ideas into something tangible to grow a business. 

Our recently launched Regional Business Insights Report: Unlocking Everyday Innovation found Australian businesses based in regional areas are more innovative than their big city counterparts.

 

This is a great trend to see and, perhaps surprisingly to some, is to be expected.

We know that regional businesses are often closer to their customers and in turn better positioned to identify the early markers of change and respond to this. For farmers, innovation has always been a necessary part of life. There are so many natural variables and local and international elements at play, things can quite literally change overnight.

So adapting to customer, market and business needs is crucial. But what are the best ways to do this, and be truly innovative?

One of the ways we are seeing farmers in WA respond to current market conditions is the trend towards farmers adapting and diversifying their operations. In some regions, we’re seeing farmers move away from sole cropping programs to explore mixed farming while in other areas, we’re seeing mixed farmers looking to boost the livestock side of their operations to take advantage of strong prices.

Not only is change ongoing but the pace of change has really picked up in recent years, making it important for agribusiness and regional operators to keep pushing the boundaries and explore untapped opportunity through innovation.

Our research revealed regional and rural businesses are overestimating their efforts in innovation. Eighty-four per cent of regional businesses claimed to have implemented an innovation but when assessed against the Oslo Manual, an international standard for determining innovation, just 49 per cent were truly innovating and the rest were simply making incremental improvements.

And the reason why innovation, rather than incremental improvements, is important is because it generates greater revenue and cost savings, as our Regional Business Insights Report shows. With all this change and opportunity, the role of CBA’s regional and agribusiness bankers is about supporting our clients to become more competitive and agile.

One way we are doing this is through our 21 Day Change Challenge which borrows practices from the Bank’s Innovation Lab and makes these problem-solving strategies available to all businesses across Australia to support their growth.

Other tools available to business customers across Australia include Commonwealth Bank’s next generation Daily IQ business analytics platform which brings the benefits of big data to small and medium sized businesses, our world leading app-based and wireless payments device Albert, and our Innovation Labs that use customer centred design principles to encourage businesses to think differently.

Notes

* Regional Business Insights Report: Unlocking Everyday Innovation

According to the bank’s Innovation Index, regional businesses score 25.5, compared with the city business index score of 23.6. The index is based on assessment across 15 core drivers of innovation, with results ranging from innovation restrictive at minus 100 to innovation disruptive at 100, with the midway point indicating firms are making incremental improvements and a score of 25 representing the beginning of true innovation. The full report is available here.

 

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Total Shareholder Return as at 30/06/16

1 year TSR5 year TSR
399thANZ Banking Group9%14%
497thTelstra-4%21%
513thCommonwealth Bank-7%14%
526thQantas-9%19%
722 WA (and selected non WA) listed companies ranked by 1 year TSR relative to other companies with similar revenue
Source: Morningstar

Revenue

5th-Commonwealth Bank$27,005.0m
6th-Telstra$26,607.0m
8th↓ANZ Banking Group$21,071.0m
9th-Qantas$16,200.0m
77 listed non wa companies ranked by revenue.
Source: Morningstar

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