Researchers find a strong link between risk taking and financial success for businesses
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Researchers find a strong link between risk taking and financial success for businesses

by Freya Lucas

December 08, 2020

Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) have contributed to a new CSIRO report that establishes a strong link between bold risk taking and the financial success of top performing ASX companies.


With a number of early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers operating in an increasingly commercialized environment, the findings will be of note to the sector more broadly. 


Thriving through innovation: Lessons from the top is based on a survey conducted by UQ’s Australian Institute for Business and Economics (AIBE) and CSIRO, may also help businesses navigate the uncertainty caused by the economic impacts from COVID-19.


The pandemic, AIBE researcher Dr Edgar Brea said, has forced many businesses to rethink their products, services and business models, making innovation a necessity rather than a choice.


“To boost innovation activity in the country, businesses must be informed about the benefits of innovation, what strategies work and under what circumstances,” Dr Brea said.


“Analysis of company data and financial performance shows there are four innovation factors that drive success – corporate entrepreneurship, innovation novelty, collaborative breadth and triple threats.”


Those businesses who are seeking to increase their innovation efforts should choose those four factors as a starting point, with the report noting that corporate entrepreneurship is the most important factor that exhibits risk-taking behaviour, innovative thinking and proactiveness, while innovation novelty is key to being first in the market with innovations that are new to the world or to Australia.


The notion of collective breadth refers to co-creating innovations with a range of collaborators including customers and research agencies. Triple threats involve changing products, processes and business models to capitalise on further investments in innovation.


UQ Business School Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Associate Professor Tim Kastelle said the report explained why building an innovation capacity was so important for businesses and illustrated how changing mindsets and behaviours helped enable innovation.

“Every CEO, senior leader, and board member will say that they want their organisation to be innovative, but most are unwilling to actually change the way their organisations think and act,” Dr Kastelle said.

“And without changing behaviour, there’s no change in outcomes.”


The survey involved targeting innovation decision-makers from ASX-listed companies and asking them questions about innovation practices in their organisations.


Their responses were then complemented with historical financial data and statistical models to find out the innovation factors that matter the most to top performers.


A full copy of the survey is available from the CSIRO website.

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