Innovation and international collaboration

The benefits of international collaboration

Australia’s economic, social and environmental well-being depends on having world-class innovative businesses that are globally engaged and taking the lead in efforts to address global challenges.

The modern global economy creates international opportunities and collaborations are one way that Australian businesses can capitalise on these. Some of the benefits of international collaboration can include:
•sharing and staying abreast of international knowledge, developments and expertise
•establishing networks in export markets
•increasing competitive advantage through acceleration of the innovation
•benchmarking Australian research quality and expertise internationally •allowing Australian researchers and business access to sources of global funding
•providing international sources of inspiration and new ideas.

Accessing networks and international partners

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Collaboration success depends on the provision of complementary skills by each party and on how well they work and communicate with each other. Companies that are successful at international collaboration recognise that face to face contact is important to establish, progress and maintain collaborative international partnerships. Whilst technologies like video conference and social networking make international communication easier; it is face to face interaction that consolidates partnerships, builds trust and, in some instances, determines the success of the collaboration.

Common ways of forming networks is attendance at trade shows and conferences and interaction with other business representatives attending these functions. Enterprise Connect and Commercialisation Australia provide services that support innovation skills development and capacity building in SMEs through their respective business adviser and case manager networks. For example, Enterprise Connect business advisers work with firms to identify growth opportunities, address organisational and business weaknesses and help them reach their full potential.

Enterprise Connect has a national network of dedicated Innovative Regions and specialised Innovation Centres that facilitate inter-firm collaboration; cluster development and supply chain relationships; and link businesses to researchers, universities, and other businesses.

Commercialisation Australia currently has a network of over 20 case managers across the country. Each case manager has a large network of business and industry contacts which are utilised to help participants as they commercialise their IP and grow their business in to new markets domestically and internationally.

Through a network of offices in over 50 countries, Austrade assists Australian companies to succeed in international business, attract foreign direct investment into Australia and promotes Australia’s education sector internationally.

Collaboration Tools

Some tools and resources that may assist with collaboration include:
•Australian Research Collaboration Tools provides video conferencing tools, data services and cloud computing access to registered users
•Australian National Data Service
•University of Queensland online collaboration tools
•Australian Access Federation – The Australian Access Federation (AAF) provides a framework and support infrastructure to facilitate trusted electronic communications and collaboration within and between universities and research institutions in Australia.

Finding new export markets

Exporting can open a business to new markets, spread risk by reducing dependence on the local market and increase your competitiveness. Successful exporting takes careful planning and commitment. You’ll need to make sure you meet exporting requirements and regulations and that you have a solid export plan in place.

Open innovation

Open innovation is a business model that encourages collaboration with a broad range of external partners. It acknowledges that no one company can have all the expertise and own all the best ideas. Indeed solutions to technical challenges could already exist in non-competing sectors.

Open innovation can include:
•seeking access, licensing and use of existing technologies or collaborating on joint research projects
•research and collaboration with partners such as university groups and key suppliers
•co-development with other companies (either competitors or non-competitors)
•out-licensing technology to non-competing groups.

There are many online platforms available to link businesses to open innovation ideas and networks.

What to do…
•Read about International Collaboration on the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) website.
•Find an Innovative Region Centre for business advice on innovation in your area.
•Read more information on exporting in our Importing and exporting topic.

For more information…
•Visit the Enterprise Connect for more information about innovation programs and assistance for business.
•Visit Commercialisation Australia for more information on commercialising your innovative idea.

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