Telstra chief executive Andy Penn.

Telstra to ramp-up innovation: Penn

Thursday, 26 November, 2015 - 13:53

Telstra chief executive Andy Penn says the days where companies do all of their innovation, research and development internally are over, while new creative and more nimble startups are proving that the scale of a business is no longer a competitive advantage.

Speaking at a lunch in Sydney today, Mr Penn said startup businesses were changing and challenging markets as technology democratises innovation.

“There is more innovation outside the organisation today that is moving faster than what presides within it,” he said.

“So the key question is how do you tap into that innovation, and how do you leverage it?”

Mr Penn said the process of organisations doing all of their innovation, research and development in-house was just too slow in terms of getting solutions to the market.

“That is the reality of our world today, and our digital future,” he said.

“Success today is an organisation’s ability to turn new ideas into value faster than your competition.

“That is why we (at Telstra) are investing to become a truly world-class technology company, and that includes ramping up our innovation and R&D capabilities to be world-class too.”

Mr Penn also said Australia’s $2 trillion saved in superannuation funds could be used for more long-term investments, including startups.

“The superannuation system in Australia is the envy of many countries around the world. Therefore I think we need to do a better job of actually creating an environment where that savings can be directed to the full spectrum of investment,” he said.

“I think with some structural changes (to the superannuation system) we can find ways to get more superannuation money investing in long-term investments, and that includes startups,” he said.

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