Cross industry innovation is the secret to business growth

Media Release, 24 October 2012

Business leaders seeking game-changing growth and innovation strategies are taking the bold step of seeking inspiration outside their native industries, according to the Telstra Cross Industry Innovation Report 2012, written in collaboration with KPMG. 

The report explores the competitive opportunities on offer when business leaders combine unconventional ideas from other sectors with new technologies.

Cross industry innovation is gaining traction as a new approach to business growth.  The approach shifts an organisation’s focus away from benchmarking against traditional competitors to focusing on other sectors for ideas that may unlock new levels of efficiency and productivity.

This shift in management thinking comes as enterprises face ongoing challenges related to global competition, economic conditions, and widespread availability of productivity-enhancing technologies such as cloud computing, mobile devices and high-speed networks.

“The market has moved into a new cycle comprising transformation, innovation and growth,” Rocky Scopelliti, Group General Manager Industry Development at Telstra explains.

“Institutions are trying to figure out how they stay ahead of the game, when the game itself is changing.”

However, simply committing an organisation to the broad principles of innovation isn’t enough to guarantee it will remain a global leader. Leaders in sectors such as financial services, health, education and automotive are turning to cross-sector innovation in the search for long-term performance gains and sheer survival.

“If you only look within your own realm you are only ever going to be as good as the next person who is operating there, but if you look outside and bring some of that fresh thinking in, that is a new way of being structurally innovative,” Mr Scopelliti says.

James Scott, KMPG’s advisory partner for technology, media and telecommunications, considers this partnership approach particularly effective when introducing innovation into non-core areas.

“A bank’s business is transactions, not media or technology,” he says. “So if video and disruptive technology is important to the bank, they should look to other industries which live and breathe this daily.”

This concept is familiar to the scientific community. For example, when CSIRO scientists developed ground breaking wireless internet technology they borrowed knowledge and techniques from radio astronomy.

KPMG’s Scott says it’s also vital organisations listen internally, sourcing great ideas from the widest variety of sources. Often employees who regularly deal with customers and other external parties are best able to identify areas where small innovations will result in big gains.

“The reality is the market and consumers are telling brands and businesses what they need to know every day,” James says.

“The challenge for businesses is to make sure they keep listening.”