CBA_2New research published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) finds that collaborative digital ecosystems are taking firm root in Australia. A constellation of factors have combined to catalyse their growth: expanded availability of venture capital and other sources of investment funding; a mushrooming of entrepreneurial support structures such as accelerators and co-working spaces; a government push to encourage commercialisation of science-based innovation; changing approaches to intellectual property (IP); and shifting cultural attitudes toward collaboration, particularly amongst large businesses.

Experts interviewed by The EIU in the Changemakers series of articles, believe that local networks taking shape in agricultural, life sciences and mining technology, amongst other fields, have the potential to make unique contributions to innovation beyond Australian shores. Rapidly growing fintech communities in Sydney and Melbourne will also help the country compete for Asia-Pacific leadership in that field.

Australia’s large companies are far from passive participants in digital ecosystems, the research finds. Many established businesses are taking active or leading roles in them, often with the intention of developing new internal capabilities or changing ingrained internal practices. These firms are major sources of innovation in their own right, and many are shedding their inhibitions about sharing data and ideas with collaborative partners.

Charles Ross, the editor of the articles, said: “Strong internal pockets of resistance to collaborative innovation remain in corporate Australia. These inhibitions must be shed, as the pressures to innovate with expanded digital capabilities are not going to abate, and few companies are in a position to do this alone. Taking part in collaborative digital ecosystems improves the chances of pulling this off.”