A group of Melbourne fintech experts have come together to discuss practical ways of driving the government’s “ideas boom” and push for innovation forward.
Speaking at a small roundtable discussion at York Butter Factory, founder Stuart Richardson said disruptive solutions that could benefit SMEs and corporates were beginning to emerge.
“How do we get access to innovation that’s right under our noses?” he said.
In a 2016 pre-budget submission paper, the Institute of Public Accountants reports that as little as 14% of businesses consider innovation to be important.
“Well established firms with the potential to expand into international markets consider only the national market as their end goal,” the IPA report says.
McLean Delmo Bentleys partner Andrew Pearce said the prospect of being innovative all the time may seem too time-consuming or unnecessary for companies, especially those doing well.
But the local startup ecosystem is a great place to start, he said.
Innovating at ground-level
With innovation being able to tear down well-established businesses, Pearce said it’s crucial for business of all levels to be innovative.
At McLean Delmo Bentleys, Pearce helps SMEs boost business through smarter strategy and solutions developed through data-tech analysis.
“We look at how we may innovate using a startup type environment,” he said.
He said too often struggling businesses would try to hire more sale staff to push product rather than looking back at valuable data and using technology in smarter ways to come up with better solutions moving forward.
Professional Services Champions League executive director John Persico said disruption is a real threat for all levels of businesses and innovation is one the most bullet-proof ways of being ahead of the game.
“Technology is not going to kill jobs, it’s just going to change the way it’s done,” Persico said.
The challenges of launching great startups in Australia
Persico said the two core attributes of a good business are a great product and distribution.
Businesses that are beautiful solve problems beautifully and simply” he said.
“Our problem in Australia is not developing a great product.”
To facilitate distribution of new products, he said there needs to be greater connectivity between businesses so startups have a better chance of reaching customers and testing ideas.
“Australia just doesn’t have the B2B side,” he said.
To encourage people to experiment and try new ideas, failure has to be less costly, Persico said.
He encouraged corporates and businesses to give startups a chance with a smaller investment.
“Give them a little $30,000 project,” he said.
Richardson said reducing the consequence of failure in this way and taking an “incremental growth approach” would help more startups like those creating fintech solutions at York Butter Factory get their ideas out to market and help the industry as a whole leverage innovation more proactively.